How To Save $340K, Easy!!

My mother retired from the Plainfield School District in Indiana but keeps tabs on what happens there. The school district recently introduced measures to save on utility bills, including making sure people turned off the lights when no one was in the room.

Total Savings in One Year:

$340,000

Because of cost cutting measures that do not affect school programs, they face a deficit of just over $800K, which is better than most of the surrounding school districts. My mother did not save a specific news article but said she is certain about the dollar amounts.

I checked the school district’s Web site and here is what I found for more cost savings.

“Rubes:” Wind turbines generate animosity, health concerns among some in DeKalb County – chicagotribune.com

Wind turbines generate animosity, health concerns among some in DeKalb County – chicagotribune.com

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I stumbled upon an article in the “Chicago Tribune” about the wind farms in DeKalb County. I made the mistake of reading their comments. I already knew the “Trib” allows nastier comments than the “Daily Chronicle.” Anyway, a lot of folks in Chicago think we are a bunch of “rubes.”

Request for Assistance: Letter to Illinois PIRG about the Mega-Dump

The following letter about the proposed county mega-dump is addressed to the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). I swiped it off of Facebook; speaking of which, the Stop the DeKalb County Mega-Dump Group on FB has grown to 453 members and 9 officers in little more than a week.

On to the letter… Continue reading Request for Assistance: Letter to Illinois PIRG about the Mega-Dump

Gallagher’s Got Some News

[Update 11/4: The Plan Commission closed the public hearing last Wednesday but will consider the matter at its next meeting, which they’ve reset to November 18 to avoid meeting on Veterans Day. Says the city’s acting planner Sue Guio:

A primary reason for postponing action was to allow Staff time to research whether the product to be stored is considered a raw material. The definition will determine the appropriateness of this as a special use in a residential zoning district. Also, the postponement will allow the Sanitary District time to prepare responses to some of the questions that were brought up during the meeting by both residents and Commissioners.

H/T B.G.]

A quick check of the City of DeKalb’s website reveals that none of the aldermen are using their ward pages. Gallagher, at least, links his outside website there — a tad irritating to make us take the extra step, but it’s something — and, lo and behold, he’s got some actual news: “Recycled Dewatered Sludge Facility.”

The DeKalb Sanitary District is a requesting a Special Use Permit to construct a facility (100′ wide x 275′ long x 30′ high) to hold sludge that will be used as agricultural fertilizer (biosolids).

The meeting to discuss this is tonight Wednesday (10/28/09) at 7:00pm at City Hall.

Constituents, land owners, and business owners who live/work/own near I-88 and Annie Glidden Road that I have spoken to…only just received the info from the Community Development Department on Monday, Oct 26…due to a mailing error. Continue reading Gallagher’s Got Some News

Lincoln on Wind

Abraham Lincoln on the possibilities of wind power:

Of all the forces of nature, I should think the wind contains the largest amount of motive power—that is, power to move things. Take any given space of the earth’s surface—for instance, Illinois—; and all the power exerted by all the men, and beasts, and running-water, and steam, over and upon it, shall not equal the one hundredth part of what is exerted by the blowing of the wind over and upon the same space. And yet it has not, so far in the world’s history, become proportionably valuable as a motive power. It is applied extensively, and advantageously, to sail-vessels in navigation. Add to this a few wind-mills, and pumps, and you have about all. That, as yet, no very successful mode of controlling, and directing the wind, has been discovered; and that, naturally, it moves by fits and starts—now so gently as to scarcely stir a leaf, and now so roughly as to level a forest—doubtless have been the insurmountable difficulties. As yet, the wind is an untamed, and unharnessed force; and quite possibly one of the greatest discoveries hereafter to be made, will be the taming, and harnessing of the wind. That the difficulties of controlling this power are very great is quite evident by the fact that they have already been perceived, and struggled with more than three thousand years; for that power was applied to sail-vessels, at least as early as the time of the prophet Isaiah.

~Lecture: “Discoveries & Inventions” (1860)

CPI & Waste Management

The City of DeKalb is getting ready to approve a new 4-year agreement with Waste Management (pp. 122-128) for residential pickup of trash. One proposal is to tie increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), allow for a minimum annual increase of 2% and cap it at 6% no matter what fuel prices are doing. Staff have rejected that option, so Monday Council will consider a contract containing a 0% increase the first year but then 4% per year for subsequent years through FY2013. Staff prefers this plan because “the volatility of fuel pricing would place unnecessary risk upon residents and such a pricing plan would not be in the best interests of the City.”

Prices per “service unit,” then, would jump from 14.62 to 16.45 over the life of the contract — but wait! This may yet be a moot point because the city could opt to sign on to the “Toter” program citywide upon termination of a pilot program March 31, 2010. If the “Toter” program is adopted by DeKalb, households would be charged $17.79 initially, with three raises of 4% each by the end of the contract. In other words, we could go from the current rate of $14.62 to right around $20 by the end of FY2013.

By comparison, the worst-case scenario of a 6% annual increase over the 4 year contract period would result in an FY2013 rate less than $18.50.

The maximum unnecessary financial risk to residents, then, will be posed by the city itself under this plan.