Zion-Benton News

Stories from the December 18, 2014 Issue


Winthrop Harbor sets its sights on 2030

By Meridith Jumisko
Zion-Benton News staff 

The year was 1995 when Winthrop Harbor last updated its Comprehensive Plan.
Twenty years later, a new plan is expected to take its place. It's a 12 to 15 month process to complete the plan, and the first public meeting/community workshop about it was held on Dec. 11.

A comprehensive plan is a vision of what the community wants to become and the steps needed to make that vision a reality. The village has accepted planning assistance by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to create the updated plan. This assistance is at no cost to the village, as the village was awarded a grant. Without the grant, it would've cost the village approximately $50,000 to $75,000 to complete the plan.

"The project is being developed through CMAP's Local Technical Assistance program. The new comprehensive plan will help the village develop a long-term economic strategy and address issues related to housing, parks and open space, transportation, and community image and identity," according to Hillary Green, Communications Associate at CMAP.

Sam Shenbaga, a senior planner at CMAP and project manager for Winthrop Harbor's Comprehensive Plan, led the meeting at the Schlader Recreation Center. A crowd of about 30 residents attended. Pat DiPersio, Director of Community Development, thought it was a great turnout. More...

Zion approves an increase in
the tax levy

By Mona Shannon

Zion-Benton News staff 

For the past few years the city of Zion has maintained the tax rate and actually decreased it slightly last year. This year facing loss of revenue and a large deficit, the Zion City Council approved an increase in the tax levy.

Finance Director David Knabel recommended setting the levy at the maximum amount allowed by law. He explained that due to Illinois law local governments must set their tax levy in December although they will not be setting a budget until May. The tax levy is a request for the amount of money needed to operate and it is typical to ask for the maximum because it cannot be increased later. The county will set the actual tax rate next year based on the levy and equalized assessed valuation.

Instead the council approved a more moderate levy of $6,370, 358, an increase of 1.71 percent. This will leave a deficit in the general fund of $1,642,703. Knabel said the additional cost on a $100,000 home will be about $15 a year.

The city currently has cash reserves of $1.2 million and the council will determine at budget time how best to use that in offsetting the deficit, but despite the reserves, deep budget cuts will be needed. More...

Photo of the Week

It’s gingerbread season!
Samara, age 5, is busily constructing a graham cracker house just in time for the Christmas season. She has a supply of candy to decorate her house and make it an especially tempting treat.


Shopping with the Sheriff

The Lake County Sheriff’s Offi ce helped
local children in need from Winthrop Harbor and Beach Park do some Christmas
shopping for their families.

School News

Alexis Vanghan Knuckles is reading about the Skeletal System and Logan Stancil is reading Birds do the Strangest Things.
They are in Mr. Brooks third grade class at Westfield School and have found a quiet spot to read silently in the hallway.


The North Shore Elite Junior Squad competes at the state finals at the
Sears Centre. They took the state title.