Budget battles have begun in Will County with Republicans and Democrats differing on how to fund capital improvement projects during a finance committee meeting Tuesday.
In his recent budget address, County Executive Larry Walsh, a Democrat, proposed increasing the property tax levy by 1.5 percent, the rate of inflation, which with new property would generate $2.9 million annually, $2.4 million of which would be earmarked for capital projects such as remodeling the sheriff’s office, building a new courthouse and improving the health department.
Categories: Local Issues
Tags: County Board, County Executive
NRG Energy's announcement last week of a unit shutdown and conversion to natural gas at two local power plants may have been a victory for environmentalists but it will come at a cost of 250 well-paid jobs that may be tough to replace.
“Much of these are well-paid, union jobs, and a lot of those guys have been there a long time,” said John Greuling, president and CEO for Will County Center for Economic Development. “Pay is not what it used to be for a lot of these jobs. That's another trend in the overall economy that all of us are trying to adjust to.”
Tags: Romeoville, Joliet, Environmental Issues
NRG Energy Inc. announced Thursday a pollution reduction plan for its four Illinois coal-fired generating plants that pushed the state more than halfway toward meeting new proposed federal limits for reducing carbon dioxide pollution.
NRG Energy officials told the Tribune on Wednesday that it will cease coal operations at one generating unit in Romeoville (the Will County plant), convert its Joliet plant to burn natural gas and upgrade its two other coal plants in Pekin and Waukegan to comply with environmental regulations.
Categories: Local Issues, State Issues
For more than 50 years, the Tinley Park Mental Health Center served as the treatment facility for up to 1,900 mentally ill patients annually. These days, the patients have been left to fend for themselves as the building lies vacant — a stark and eerie reminder of everything that is wrong with Illinois' mental health system.
Since the 1960s, the number of beds in Illinois' state-run psychiatric hospitals has decreased to fewer than 1,500 from 35,000, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The latest closures in 2012, including the Tinley Park center, coincided with Chicago shuttering half of its 12 mental health clinics. For decades, we were told that government was not turning its back on the mentally ill. Rather, these institutions would be replaced through "reinvesting in community care" — a more humane and cost-effective means of treating those patients.
Categories: State Issues
Tags: Illinois, Mental Health
A new measure signed into law gives Will County Board members more authority to remove county appointees who violate ethics standards.
It’s a move welcomed by county appointees such as Nick Palmer, chief of staff for Will County Executive Larry Walsh. Palmer was appointed by Walsh in 2004 as deputy chief of staff but was later promoted to chief of staff in 2010.
“I think it’s good. It’s what I’ve always known,” Palmer said Friday. “If it restores any confidence of the taxpayers in the board, I think that’s a positive thing. It could also discourage people who might want to do something that’s not in the public’s best interest. Hopefully it discourages them because they know people are watching.”
Tags: County Board, County Executive, Transparency