Students who weren't on the Trinity Christian College campus during the 2020 shutdown may have led to a 500-person loss in census in Palos Heights. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Students who weren't on the Trinity Christian College campus during the 2020 shutdown may have led to a 500-person loss in census in Palos Heights. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Heights seeks a census recount in 2023

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By Jeff Vorva

Financial damage from the COVID-19 shutdowns continues to linger.

Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz announced the city will seek a special census in 2023 because it lost approximately 500 residents in the 2020 census.

“My gut feeling is that it was because Trinity Christian College students were not on campus,” Straz said at Tuesday’s city council meeting at City Hall. “We’re not eligible for a special census until 2023.

“The byproduct of this is that we are mandated by law to adjust our ward maps because of the shift in population. And losing 500 people means $65,000 in lost revenue from the state.”

Straz said the city’s population is in the 13,000 range.

Alderman Jack Clifford said the city gained people who moved into a retirement facility that opened in recent years, but Straz said that TCC usually has about 700 students on campus and the net result was a 500-resident loss.

Alderman Michael McGrogan said he read that there may have been some errors in the Illinois census and the state didn’t lose as many people as reported and may have gained some. He wondered if the Palos Heights census could also be in error.

Straz said that based on what he saw, the numbers seemed accurate.

Ad hoc committee forms

Based on recent complaints from residents and some differences of opinions on the council about the entrance to Community Park and whether the fence and bushes stay or go, Straz formed an ad hoc committee of four to explore the matter in greater detail.

Aldermen Heather Begley (chair of the Building and Grounds Commission), Jeffrey Key (Recreation), Clifford (Roads and Construction) and Robert Basso (Public Safety) will head up the new committee.

“Those are the four best people to have on this,” the mayor said. “They can use their staff and professional people to get their input.”

Other items

  • A new police officer – Ashley Vinson – was sworn in Tuesday night.
  • The council approved up to $6,000 for the purchase of a volunteer recognition display to be placed in the foyer at City Hall.
  • Dianne Key was appointed to the Library Board for a three-year term.
  • Approximately $140,000 was approved for various water and sewer projects including $49,500 for the 70th Avenue Lift Station Rehabilitation.
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New Palos Heights police officer Ashley Vinson is all smiles after she was sworn in Tuesday night at the city council meeting.

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