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Duffy: Minooka headed in 'positive direction'

Despite economy, village still on solid ground

MINOOKA — Despite its share of economic struggles, the village of Minooka continues to be on pretty solid ground. That was the synopsis of the State of the Village address Wednesday, presented by Village Administrator Dan Duffy.

Duffy delivered the speech to a full house at Chapin’s East in Minooka. He was filling in for Village President Pat Brennan, who was still on the mend from foot surgery.

“The village of Minooka is not exempt from the economic stress our nation has been experiencing,” Duffy said. “We sympathize with the residents of our community that have suffered job losses and the businesses that continually strive for success.”

But at the same time, Minooka is seeing positive changes in the local economy, Duffy said. This is the third straight year the village has seen residential growth, with an average of 30 homes per year.

“Per capita, that probably puts us in the top five in the state,” Duffy said following the address.

Much of that can be attributed to the village’s stimulus program that gives single-family homeowners a check for $10,000 for building a new home in Minooka. Half the money comes from participating developers and half from the village budget.

Unemployment has also dropped for the third consecutive year, Duffy said.

On the business end, Minooka added Electrolux, Chapin’s East and the Shrimp Barn in the last year, and eight commercial projects are in the works or complete. Grainger is still under construction, with plans to be in full operation yet this year.

“All of this made for a great year and points in a positive direction for Minooka in 2012,” Duffy said.

The village just finished putting together the fiscal 2013 budget; it’s in the black and balanced. By refinancing two bond issues at lower interest rates, the village saved over $41,000.

Minooka’s police department has lowered traffic crashes and crime over the past year. Approximately $126,000 in illicit drugs was seized by the department this past year.

“All of this is due to the officers’ commitment to providing quality police service and continual effort on building a strong relationship with the community,” Duffy said.

The public works department had $310,000 in street paving projects through the Motor Fuel Tax program and replaced and repaired $40,000 worth of village sidewalks.

A storm water mapping system, which locates thousands of manholes, inlets and catch basins has been completed by public works staff for the village's GIS system.

A system-wide leak detection survey was completed, which resulted in the identification and repair of five leaks. The repair will save about $90,000 annually in lost water costs.

The village also received an award from the Illinois Department of Health for complying with the required fluoridation levels.

“Every year we deal with more regulations, which is more time and money," Duffy said. "When you comply, they award you."

Duffy also spoke about the many recreational opportunities in the village, including programs, events, free entertainment, summer camps and all the parks and open space.

“We are thankful to be part of such a great community. We look forward to climbing out of this economic recession,” Duffy said. “It’s a pleasure to call Minooka a truly nice place to call home.”

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