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Building A Better Homewood

Homewood Village Trustee Anne Colton on the importance of participating in your local government

Every second and fourth Tuesday of each month, I sit down with a small group of Homewood residents and together we create our community’s future. 

OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic.  In truth, what we do at these meetings looks pretty boring on the face of it – approving payments, discussing zoning considerations, developing strategic initiatives.  Parsing out a 200-page budget.  Studying projected impacts.  And talking.  A lot of talking.  Not exactly prime time material.

But the decisions we make are helping to forge a path to our village’s future.  We listen, we discuss and sometimes we fight.  But at the heart of it all, we know that what we do can have an enormous impact on Homewood down the line.  Which is why we shouldn’t be doing it alone.

Democracy only works when we do it together.  As a Village Trustee, I not only value residents’ input, I need it.  I can’t do my job unless I hear what people think.  I have a lot of impromptu “town hall meetings” at Walt’s, at soccer games, at the library and, on one unfortunate occasion, stepping out of the shower at the health club.  I love these opportunities to take the pulse of our community – it makes me feel connected and it reminds me why I took this job.

If the Trustees don’t hear from you, we can only guess what the community wants.  We may not be able to grant everyone’s wishes every time – there are limits to our power and there are mitigating circumstances that may prevent us from doing certain things.  But we can try.  And that’s exactly what elected officials are supposed to do.  We’re supposed to listen, we’re supposed to respond and we’re supposed to try.  And if we can’t do what you ask, we are also supposed to explain the reasons why.

So please, come on by Village Hall some Tuesday night.  You can join us, and have a voice in how our community meets the future.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

FlossmoorMom July 15, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Hopefully all those with issues with the community will start coming to Village Hall meetings....
Patricia Skermont-Pohrte July 15, 2012 at 10:41 PM
At what time and where on Tuesday nights?
Anne Colton July 15, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Meetings are at Homewood Village Hall, 2020 Chestnut (right by the parking lot where we have the Farmers Market) at 7:30 PM on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month. The next meeting will be on July 24th. Hope to see you there!
LocalRez July 16, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Just a suggestion, how about providing other forums for people to give you feedback? Not everyone can or wants to come to your meeting for many reasons. Publicizing an email address like "residentideas@homewoodil.com" and having someone bring those ideas to your meeting might be a good 2nd alternative to get more involvement. Maybe you have one but it isn't publicized. Here's my suggestion/question: What do Homewood residents need to do to be able to raise chicken (hens not roosters) on there own property for there own fresh eggs? As much property tax as we are paying for homes that have significantly decreased in value I don't see why this can't be allowed - say you limit the number of hens, require people to buy a license and maybe even have an inspection to ensure they comply with reasonable rules. The fees could pay the inspector salary. How does the city of Chicago allow it and us out in the suburbs can't? Makes no sense to me. I also don't think it should be excluded just because the village president had a bad childhood experience with it. That's not a official democratically representing a community,. I'd like to see some feedback from residents on what they think about hens in Homewood. Maybe you could promote the village as "hen friendly" to prospective homeowners. Be progressive - allow homeowners the opportunity to raise and eat there own eggs! Thanks in advance for a reply.
Anne Colton July 17, 2012 at 12:34 AM
We all have e-mail addresses available on the Village website -http://homesweethomewood.com, under the Government tab. Those e-mails are forwarded straight to my personal account, so I will definitely get them. As far as chickens go, I am absolutely a fan of locally-sourced food, so I would support making that available to residents, as long as there are limits in place. If you want to discuss further, drop me an e-mail & let me know your thoughts.
Kate Duff July 17, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Thus rises the Greater Homewood Poultry Party. Our motto: why the cluck not?
LocalRez July 18, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Thanks for your response Anne. I will, and I hope others will follow up directly with you about the "Hens in Homewood" idea. It's great to know someone is listening. As far as the email addresses - I was kind of hinting at a suggestion box type email address. If the city is really looking for feedback from the residents one global email might be a great start and more convenient for all. Thanks again.
T'sMom August 12, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I've lived in Homewood over 30 years. I have been to past board meetings, if it's not on their agenda, you're looked at as if you are an alien, it falls on deaf ears. I've used the village's arbitration, it never resolved my issue, still exists. I have been to Saturday mornings at the village hall with my concerns to seek assistance from the village president, he doesn't want to be bothered with it, they're passed on to someone else. Year after year, it gets worse, your concerns are just passed on to someone else, never addressed, the village who could care less, the only concern is themselves, not the community, not the taxpayer who pays their salaries, most biding their time for 20 years for their pension, not to be bothered by the problems plagued by homeowners. That's why you see more Homewood houses up for sale, the exodus, shrinking population due to lack of concern for Homewood citizens. Houses soon to be brought up by more absentee slum landlords, rented out as HUD section 8, ruining the community as I've witnessed in my area. Homewood's exodus began 12 years ago, my friends sold at a decent price before this area changed & not for the better. I stayed hoping things would get better, it hasn't. Homewood's government should be more concerned with their taxpayers, their population is decreasing, soon there won't be enough money for the village's coffers to pay their salaries, will have to reduce to part-time as other communities have done due a situation they created.

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