River Forest Village President Cathy Adduci counted a balanced budget, full employment in the police and fire departments and the “high marks” that the Public Works Department continues to receive from residents among the village’s accomplishments over the past year in her State of the Village address at the Feb. 27 village board meeting,
She also credited administration staff members for looking beyond property tax revenue for funding and her colleagues on the village board for being engaged and “working collaboratively and professionally” in making decisions.
The State of the Village address is Adduci’s first after a brief hiatus. She gave such addresses annually until the pandemic.
Adduci credited the village’s accomplishments to the three guiding principles that she and the board have established: providing a safe community; strengthening property values; and stabilizing property taxes through fiscal responsibility.
A balanced budget, which Adduci said the village has had for the past 15 years, is one of several financial accomplishments she cited, along with the village’s Aa2 bond rating from Moody’s; economic development through the Madison Street and North Avenue tax increment financing districts; and obtaining grant funding, which included a $736,278 Rebuild Illinois Grant that will be used for infrastructure projects over the next three construction seasons. In addition, River Forest partnered with the villages of Forest Park and Oak Park to apply for a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund the reconstruction of the Harlem Avenue overpass.
In addition to having the police and fire departments at full strength, which Adduci said “clearly represents the attraction that candidates have to our village and the reputation those departments have in the greater community,” her examples of providing a safe community included the expansion of the village’s street camera system, continued investment in Fire Department equipment and the Police Department’s quarterly safety meetings with residents.
Other accomplishments include the expedited alley improvement program; Water Smart/Smart City technology; the village-wide storm water study; the village’s ethics ordinance; and intergovernmental cooperation such as the Twin City Covenant with the Village of Maywood and the Cross Community Climate Cooperative with 14 other west suburban municipalities.
In addition, Adduci cited the work of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Age Friendly committees as well as the Sustainability Commission, whose members’ efforts led to River Forest receiving the SolSmart Silver designation from the U.S. Department of Energy.
“All the accomplishments and projects I have mentioned tonight are in no way exhaustive,” Adduci said. “To accomplish our ongoing goals … it takes a multi-pronged approach, steadiness and leadership from our village board and staff.”
She thanked all elected officials by name, along with volunteer committee members and village staff, “for their hard work and commitment to River Forest.”
The only trustee comment came from Respicio Vazquez, who noted Adduci had left herself off the list of those credited with contributing to the accomplishments and thanked her for her leadership.