Villa Park City Council cools off with no controversy

By Andie King

The Villa Park City Council meeting, June 23, was wildly unexciting. All five councilmembers were seated, despite previous protestations by Councilmen Bill Nelson and Bob Collacott, who had asked that the normal meeting date be altered to allow them to travel to Monterey for an optional League of Cities seminar.

Reserves boosted
The city budget was passed after discussions regarding the use of the Prop 13 two percent increase in projected revenue figures, and disagreement about increasing the reserves. The city is, historically, financially conservative. The seasoned councilmembers, Mayor Diana Fascenelli, Rick Barnett and Greg Mills, voted in favor of increasing the undesignated reserves, while the newer members, Collacott and Nelson, dissented, preferring to spend the funds. After a 3-2 vote, an additional $100,000 increased the undesignated reserve figure to $1.4 million.     

A ripple, not a (crime) wave
There were 29 calls to the fire department in May, none of which involved flames. Lt. Rob Gunzel reported that there had been 13 incidents of crime: two burglaries, one of which was at a home under construction, where tools were taken; at the other, the homeowner was out of town and had not asked for a sheriff’s vacation check; three petty thefts from unlocked vehicles; four thefts from vehicles, including a wallet, purse, briefcase, equipment; and two grand (over $750) thefts, including a federal express package and books.  Residents are encouraged to lock their vehicles and not leave valuables in sight, to avoid crimes of opportunity.  

In a moving speech, Paula Burton, founder and director of Celebration USA, announced her retirement and the end of the popular patriotic “Catch the Spirit” troupe that has entertained, educated and represented Villa Park for 25 years. Burton thanked the past and current councils for their support through the years, and presented each councilmember with a commemorative Helmut Lihs porcelain plate, DVD and “Documents of Freedom” book. 

Thanks to the generosity of former supporter Bill MacAloney, the group performed, for the last time, in the Huntington Beach Fourth of July parade, the largest parade west of the Mississippi. It was televised on Channel 7. A reunion of past performers and supporters is planned for July 18.  

The council presented Burton with a proclamation from the city and from U.S. Congresswoman Mimi Walters, with their thanks for her exemplary service.