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Letters: Stormwater fee still sore topic, pantry gets big donations

Published: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 10:18 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:48 p.m. CDT
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Former councilmember against stormwater fee

To the Editor,

I am glad the churches and nonprofits of Downers Grove continue to protest the stormwater fee. As commissioner, I voted against this fee and have been a strong advocate for improving our community through human services.

While the churches have argued the constitutionality of tax vs. fee, I am sorry to say that case law has been clear nationally and that these efforts will fail. It does call attention to a trend by all levels of government away from the attention-getting tax hikes to fee hikes which garner less attention. 

I would hope the churches and NFPs are working just as hard to prevent the upcoming DuPage County stormwater fee, which could mean additional double fees in Downers Grove due to Rep. Sandack (Dist. 81) who pushed through legislation allowing for the DuPage fee and intentionally preventing a referenda. 

The “previous administration” which Mayor Tully referred to was the Sandack administration of which some remnants remain. 

The same administration also made the cuts to human services thereby putting pressure on the same organizations as well as the people they used to serve. I take exception to Mayor Tully’s reported comment that other agencies have picked up the slack, which has been a totally inaccurate meme since the Sandack administration made the cuts. 

Transportation cuts have left a widening gap. Meals on Wheels and other NFPs have increased burdens and gaps are larger. The counseling and referral services are no longer social service but a much more expensive for-profit business. 

I have proposed that if the village continues to collect stormwater fees from churches and NFPs, then the village government could also better serve the community by rebating equal amounts for the expenses for human services which these organizations provide and the village has abdicated.

William Waldack, Downers Grove

Letter: Churches need to stop 'whining'

To the Editor,

In reading the Jan. 29 edition of the Downers Grove Suburban Life, I could not help but comment on the persistent whining of the area churches against the stormwater fee!

The argument of church/state separation – well that is a catch phrase that does not seem to apply here. I think many of us would be more upset if the "state" gave the church a "free ride" when it comes to stormwater mitigation.

As the article alludes to, churches represent the largest single neighborhood entities that make up non-permeable stormwater runoff surface. So these churches think that their neighbors, regardless of their religious affiliation, should pay not only just their share of the cost but the churches' share as well? How is that separation of church and state?

The threat that services to the poor will be affected is a hollow one. A church runs a whole lot of expensive programs that do not just address the poor. The parishioners of the church should also be the ones to support their particular church's budget so that whatever the costs are, their church continues to do good works as they see fit. 

While I disagree with Downers Grove government on a lot of issues, this one I fully support their resistance on. I support the mayor and the council to continue their resolve to keep the stormwater utility fee in place for all property owners. 

Stephen Lyczak, Downers Grove

Community answers pantry's call

To the Editor:

I thought the articles [Ed McMenamin] wrote regarding the FISH Pantry's need for a new van were wonderful. The articles showed how this all began with a $10 donation to how it evolved to where we are now.

The articles obviously struck a chord with concerned and compassionate people in the community. Just this week we received a large donation from a person who knows and supports our work. We have now collected over $8,500.

I don't think any of us thought this would have happened this quickly. I attribute a lot of our success to your ability to present the story in a way that is not only interesting, but makes one want to get involved.

They want to support an organization that has been around 44 years and has spent their whole existence trying to make life a little easier for those who are really struggling.  

I thank you again for your willingness to take on this issue. It has turned out to be a real human interest story. My thanks, too, to all those involved in the decision to do this. All the volunteers at FISH send our deepest gratitude and heartfelt appreciation for your articles.

June Miller, Corresponding Secretary, FISH Food Pantry

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