There were 42 persons in attendance at our meeting at the Happ Inn.  We had 29 members, 2 visiting Rotarians, 11 guests, and our speaker.  The visiting Rotarians were Jeff Tideman, president of the Northbrook club and John Howard also from the Northbrook club.  The special guests of honor were Sally Gotaas and her daughter Katie Hanson.  Other guests included Tony and Jan Eager from Winnetka, guests of Sally Gotaas; Madonna Tideman, guest of David Birkenstein, Jerry Kahn from Northfield and Carolyn Kambich, guests of Tony Kambich, Russ Hoefer of Northbrook guest of Ned Meisner, Jonathan Don of Northfield guest of Keith Reed, and Sydney and Joe Genco, from Columbus, Ohio, guests of Patti Van Cleave.
Wes Baumann gave a plug to the WYO benefit that will be held on June 2 at the Happ Inn.  You can contact Kristen Leahy for tickets.  Patti Van Cleave gave a last minute reminder of our Club’s benefit to be held on Friday night, May 13, at the Michigan Shores Club.
Happy Buck$ this week were contributed by Pat O’Day, Barb Tubekis, Rich Lalley and Ned Meisner.  Carl Yudell got some hardy laughs with his Dig n Grin.
Tony Kambich gave a brief, but stirring and inspirational talk about the life of the late Dave Gotaas.  Tony had known Dave for 37 years when Dave joined Rotary, sponsored by his father Rev. David Gotaas, at the time, pastor at the Winnetka Bible Church.  While Dave was a youthful 64 years old when he unexpectedly passed away, he had lived a very active and meaningful life.  In talking about Dave’s life Tony mentioned that Rotary International played a major role in the formation of the United Nations.  He told us that all Rotary clubs were in countries that were members of the United Nations.  Dave was interested in forming a club in Kosovo, but since Kosovo was not a member of the U.N. it took a great effort that was facilitated by Dave to get the first club admitted in 2005.  There are now nine Rotary Clubs in Kosovo.  Dave also helped Tony set up a microloan program in Uganda, Africa.  Dave had traveled the world and frequently sent postcards to friends and colleagues.  His life exemplified the Rotary motto of  “Service Above Self.”  To honor Dave’s life of service Tony, President Thomas and Rich Lalley presented Dave’s wife Sally with a Paul Harris Fellowship and an Honorary Membership to the Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield.  Sally was encouraged to attend Rotary meetings as her schedule permitted.
Keith Reed introduced the day’s speaker, Stacy Sigman, the Village Manager of Northfield.   Stacy has worked for the Village of Northfield for 18 years in various positions, the last eight years as its Village Manager.  Instead of touting the success of the Willow Road widening project she chose to talk about ‘community.’  She said that most of her comments could apply to the many villages of the North Shore.  She said that Illinois has the most taxing bodies of all states in the nation, almost 7000, and 2000 more that second place Pennsylvania.  Taxing body boundaries are very confusing and often do not match municipal boundaries.  For example, little Northfield (3.3 sq. miles) is served by three different elementary districts and two different high school districts.  There are two townships and two different park districts that serve the village.  50% of their streets and roads are under the jurisdiction of the state or county and 25% are private.  Northfield shares a zip code and a library district. 
Problems arise when the state and county impose regulations that are not supported by funding from those bodies.  Financial problems for communities are exacerbated by the state’s horrific financial condition and the lack of a state budget for almost a year.  The state makes all of the decisions on municipal pensions but does not pay any of the costs.  The village has made all of their payments to the local pension funds unlike the state that has taken state pension payment ‘holidays.’
Recently the state has mandated consolidation of 911 centers.  There have been extra costs due to consolidation and no staff efficiencies.  While state cuts have left many social service agencies without sufficient funds there are detrimental impacts to local communities.  Stacy mentioned that one of the ideas being floated in Springfield is a freeze on property taxes.  The specific proposal would prevent local government units from raising taxes even if the residents approved the increase.
Stacy did mention the Willow Road project as an example of cooperation between the state (IDOT) and four villages.  She felt that Willow Road is a much safer road today.  Stacy also spent time explaining different ways that local communities have worked together to save money and provide better services.  Over thirty municipalities now save significant dollars with joint bidding.  Joint operations with consortiums of police and fire departments provide greater safety for all the communities.  She expressed her confidence that the residents of the North Shore were well served by their village management teams.