Learn about your community

Let’s start with a trivia question.
What is the total amount of money the City of Rochelle will spend in Fiscal year 2019?
City manager Jeff Fiegenschuh has been doing presentations on the city budget. He explained the financial workings of the city at a League of Women Voters meeting this week. He also spoke to the Rochelle Rotary Club.
I attended the league session to get a better understanding of the process. I don’t know everyone who was there, but they were mostly LWV members despite the meeting being advertised as an open, informational meeting.
I know people are busy, but I expected more people who were not league members. I don’t know if any candidates for city offices not currently councilmen were there, but I don’t think any were.
All the documents Fiegenschuh presented are on the city’s website, and you may find them interesting reading. If you are like me, you may find budgets and financing in general to be difficult to understand.
During the discussion of development, I asked about the plaza planned for the downtown area. Evidently that plan is on hold and could still go ahead, just not in the location originally proposed.  
 The city manager also pointed out the importance of shopping local because Rochelle does get some of the state sales tax. Honestly, I don’t think of that when I go shopping in a different community. Sometimes you can’t find what you want here, but I will make a better effort to keep those dollars local. Like most people.
There is an election in April. There is an issue on the ballot for a recreation center as well as mayor and city council positions.
If you are a Rochelle resident and are planning on voting, please get informed about the issues and candidates. Don’t just take the coffee clutch word on a candidate or issue, find out for yourself.
The park district is holding several public hearings on their plan. The League of Women Voters will be having a candidate forum. The News-Leader will undoubtedly publish information about the candidates and their positions. Take the time to inform yourself.
I think Governor Pritzker’s idea to put a seven-cent tax on plastic bags is ridiculous. The tax should be at least a quarter. Look at the amount of bags along our roads. It’s a disgrace and harmful to the environment.
Plus, it’s a tax you don’t have to pay. Use recyclable bags. They are better anyway.
Trivia answer:  Approximately $94,000,000. Vote wisely.

Terry Dickow is a retired elementary school teacher with lots of opinions, some you will like, some you won’t. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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