Village President Catherine Adduci, Monday, called on the village and the township to form an alliance of some kind to help lower the tax burden for residents, especially seniors.

During her 20-minute state of village address — her first — Adduci urged River Forest trustees to support a resumption of discussions between Village Administrator Eric Palm and Township Supervisor Carla Sloan to reach a compromise on a consolidation or collaboration plan. She requested that the plan be presented to a joint meeting of village and township elected officials sometime this fall.

“Only until the two people responsible for administrative functions for the village and township sit down and collaborate will we truly understand [what] the power of aligning our services can generate,” said Adduci, adding that she understood the difficulties the conversation has posed for both boards. Change is hard, but it can be transformative.

“This is a journey,” she said. “We must have patience. … If our boards work to make River Forest a better, more efficient place to live, then I believe we are doing what our residents elected us to do: lead, no matter how difficult it might be to break old ways of thinking.”

Adduci noted that forging partnerships can make for efficient and effective, smarter and leaner government. She pointed in particular to alliances that River Forest is fostering with Forest Park, Oak Park and Elmwood Park. River Forest will work with these communities, she said, on current or prospective projects such as the beautification of Madison Street and North Avenue and the complete reconstruction of the Harlem Avenue viaduct.

“We can no longer afford to be an island unto ourselves. … Our business hubs are intricately linked and public transportation arteries dot our towns. And we can do a lot together to make our communities better.”

Adduci mentioned other efforts during her first year in office that would provide alternative sources of revenue to pay for programs and services. They included the formation of an economic development commission, which currently is completing a survey to gauge the village’s business climate. She also was hopeful that the Dominick’s site on North Avenue would soon get another tenant and that an agreement would be reached on the redevelopment of properties at Lake and Lathrop. 

Adduci and the board of trustees this winter backed legislation allowing for voters to decide by referendum whether all township services should be transferred to, and performed by, the village. Adduci also endorsed consolidation efforts when they were initiated by the Rigas administration in 2012, but they never moved forward.

The village and township administrators met once earlier this year; no additional discussions have been scheduled. 

Discussions are continuing with Keystone Ventures, which has the contract for the Lake and Lathrop properties. The village has committed up to $1.9 million to help cover the costs of remediation and restoration of that corner. A multi-use development with retail on the bottom and residential on the top is envisioned for that site.

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