CALUMET CITY | Third Ward Alderman Thaddeus Jones is trying again to get city government to pay for maintaining a website promoting local businesses.
The City Council voted 5-2 this week for a measure that awards a $3,000 contract to Calumet City-based WDB to maintain the website at 3rdwardcalumetcity.org for the next year.
Back in October, aldermen awarded a contract to K & I Communications. But a month later, Jones came back to the council, asking the contract be canceled and another one awarded to WDB.
Jones said at the time he had come to doubt the ability of K & I to handle the contract, and he liked the idea of a local company receiving city business.
Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush vetoed the latter measure, saying she was uncertain the transfer was done legally and feared the city would get stuck paying money to both firms.
Earlier this month, aldermen failed to override Qualkinbush’s veto. The mayor said then she would not object if Jones were to try again with a different ordinance.
First Ward Alderman Eric Schneider, who previously voted against the funding, said he continues to object because Jones’ measure calls for the $3,000 to come from one of the city’s Special Corporate accounts, rather than a fund specifically for use for Third Ward projects.
“My only objection is that it comes out of the Special Corporate accounts,” he said. “This is taking money from general accounts meant for the city.”
Jones was upset, saying the Special Corporate accounts often are used to fund projects of interest to certain aldermen to the point where he said he believes those accounts are up to $300,000 overspent by now.
He said opponents are “talking out of both sides of their mouths,” and are trying to “maintain a double-standard” on this issue.
Schneider said the expenses Jones referred to were for things such as holiday fireworks displays that benefited the entire city, rather than just portions of it. He also expressed dismay that so much attention was being paid to the website issue.
“We have so much other stuff (in Calumet City) to worry about, yet we’re spending so much time on this,” he said.
In other business, the City Council voted 7-0 to approve recommendations of significant property tax breaks for three local businesses.
Class 6B tax incentives are desired by Kay Manufacturing, 602 State St., and Great Lakes Warehouses, 700 State St., while a Class 8 tax incentive is desired by a Family Dollar store at 1775 Sibley Blvd.
Such tax breaks, if granted, can reduce the amount of property taxes paid by a business by more than half for up to a decadelong period. Final approval comes from the Cook County Board, which acts after a municipality offers its recommendation.