River Forest’s village board began putting its goals in order, setting out an ambitious series of short-term and long-term efforts it would like to tackle during the upcoming months and years.
From the simple such as redesigning the village vehicle sticker and flag to the serious as in improving communications with residents and customer service at village hall, a passel of ideas were proposed during a special meeting Monday night.
The areas of communication, legislation in Springfield, economic development and intergovernmental cooperation were examined.
Many of the proposals brought up for review during the 90-minute session would, in the long run, improve the village’s financial picture, Village President Catherine Adduci said.
“We will put all short-term and long-term initiatives into two categories: how they improve our property values and how they stabilize or maintain property taxes,” she said. “We want people to live in River Forest and we want to make it affordable and livable. That’s what we do, that’s what we were elected to do.”
Among the ideas on the table are:
Determining if units of government in River Forest can share services, if duplicate ones exist.
Lobbying Springfield and local lawmakers on shifting pension obligations outside of the realm of the tax cap. Pension obligations have been a growing part of the village’s budget obligation and non-home rule communities such as River Forest are restricted in their ability to levy higher taxes.
Assessing whether non-home rule communities have some options for increasing the gas tax and other levies. The gas tax is a revenue source that communities use for road repairs.
Reducing River Forest’s garbage stream. One area under review could allow composting and similar services.
Studying water rates and other village fees.
Making sure that building codes are enforced to ensure that property values are maintained.
Having River Forest provide community wide Wi-Fi
Ensuring that homeowners who want to make their homes more sustainable can do so in a way that maintains the historic character of their house.
Establishing a citizen’s committee to help with the village’s sustainability efforts.
Creating a non-profit economic development corporation that could help companies find commercial properties in town and develop incentives to attract and support business.
Staff will take all of the ideas presented Monday and put them in different categories and set timetables as to when they will proceed, Adduci said. The board will review them in December.