City, School Referenda Explained at Feb. 22 Meeting

Three referenda -- two binding, one advisory, and all three affecting our community and your pocketbook -- will be the focus of the Central Street Neighbors Association annual meeting and forum this Wednesday, February 22, 2012, from 7-9 p.m. in the Community Room of the Three Crowns Park complex, 2323 McDaniel Avenue, Evanston. Representatives of the City and District 65 will be present to discuss the three referenda that will appear on the March 20 ballot.

Two of the referenda are municipal. The first, called "Community Choice Electricity Aggregation" or CCA, is likely to be the least controversial. A recent Illinois law allows municipalities to act, in essence, as wholesale electricity buyers for their residents, with the goal of getting cheaper and possibly greener power for ratepayers. It's an "opt out" program, meaning ratepayers who want to stay with Com Ed still can do so. Many cities such as Lincolnwood and Oak Park have already adopted this, and 141 cities and villages have it on their ballot this spring.
The other municipal referendum is advisory, asking whether the City of Evanston should continue to pursue dissolution of the Township of Evanston, essentially merging the two governments. The City and the Township share boundaries, the aldermen for the City serve as the trustees of the township, and the intent of dissolution is efficiency and tax savings by consolidating duplicate functions.
The third referendum is a $48.2 Million School Bond issue put on the ballot by elementary District 65's Board of Education. The bond issue is to build a new school at a location to be determined in the neighborhood roughly bounded by McCormick Blvd., west of Green Bay, and north of Dempster, and to make various improvements and expansion to existing schools.
CSNA has not taken a position on any of the referenda. The City is also hosting several sessions on the referenda, but none had been scheduled in either the 6th or 7th Ward. CSNA offers this forum as a service to the community.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Immediately prior to the forum, CSNA will hold its Annual Meeting and election of directors and officers. Members whose 2011-2012 dues are paid are entitled to vote. Members may bring dues up to date at the Forum, and membership forms will be available for those who wish to join.