It was as if someone had asked, “which do you want first? Good news or bad news?”
The first half of the Batavia city council meeting was OVERFLOWING with civic pride. Here’s a sampling from the municipal smorgasbord:
- Mayor Jeffery Schielke swore in a smiling new firefighter/paramedic, who ambitiously vowed to “support the Constitution of the United States.”
- There was breaking news that the Downtown Egg Hop (sponsored, naturally, by Chick-fil-A) will feature a visit from the real live Easter Bunny.
- Because so many scofflaws had to pay fines for failing Batavia’s tobacco sales compliance checks, the police decided to give $3,000 to the high school’s after-prom party. “The good news is, people have violated our liquor and tobacco ordinance,” the police chief said to laughter as he handed a normal-sized check to the organizers.
Even the seemingly-snoozeworthy item of “Phase I wastewater treatment plant rehabilitation” got juiced by a mayoral shout-out.
“I had the opportunity to spend three hours here with the Batavia Environmental Commission. They had their movie night,” Mayor Schielke explained to his sizeable herd of 14 aldermen. “But before we got into the movie, they had me speak for a moment. So I get up and start talking about this, and everybody starts applauding!”
He waved his hand incredulously. “This room was full! There’s all these people from Yorkville and West Chicago and Aurora and everybody was here because they thought this was a real cool thing.”
Schielke sat back and marveled one last time at the memory. “I mean, I got a thundering round of applause when I talked about removing the phosphorus!”
Hey, now. If a mayor can’t get an ovation for phosphorus, that’s not the country I wanna live in!
But alas, what goes up must come down. We had reached the halfway point–and the tone turned solemn.
“I received a notice from the school district. It’s come to our attention that ‘Touchdown Sports’ has been contacting local businesses to solicit sponsorships,” warned city administrator Laura Newman. “The company sometimes claims that specific coaches ask them to contact the business. By all accounts, this is just a scam.”
She emphasized each word. “Don’t share your credit card information.”
Fittingly, a financial scam at home quickly segued to the financial meltdown in Springfield.
“I think it’s crazy they have not been able to come up with a budget,” sighed Alderman Alan Wolff, clamping his fists together while reporting on the council’s field trip to the state capitol.
“House Leader [Barbara Flynn] Currie’s description was, we’re gonna get what we have now. Basically she thinks that’s their ‘gift’ to us.”
At this point, various other aldermen chimed in with their own recollections and grievances.
“We should be ‘grateful’ for their generosity,” one person spat disgustedly.
“It was all I could do to hold my tongue in that room,” Alderman Wolff flexed his fingers and eyeballed the floor.
Alderman Dan Chanzit stared grief-stricken at the mayor. “I never left a trip feeling so hopeless and in such despair.”
There were sympathetic grimaces around the table as Alderman Chanzit shook his head. “I hear chanting at town hall meetings of our congressmen, ‘you work for us.’ It took a lot for me to not start yelling that.”