Westchester March 2017 Newsletter
From the Desk of The President FIRE DEPARTMENT
Village President Sam D. Pulia was nominated by both the Village Board and the Westchester Chamber of Commerce the Man of the Year award. He was presented the award at the Chamber’s Celebrate Westchester dinner on January 21, 2017. Pictured from left to right: Trustee Carl Celestino, President Pulia, Clerk Sherby Miller, and Trustees Angelo Calcagno and Frank Perry.
I’m sitting here at my desk on Valentine’s Day trying to write March’s newsletter. Believe me it is very difficult with the temperature near 50 degrees and the sun shining brightly. I don’t want to say anything about the Ground Hog’s prediction of 6 more weeks of winter this year, but so far he’s been dead wrong, at least up to now. Watch; as you are reading this it will be 10 below zero, wind chill at -20 and 2 feet of snow on the ground. That’s called REVENGE of the GROUNDHOG. My hope is to have very little, preferably no, snow from here on out. This statement is being written in mid-February with the prediction of a 60 degree weekend coming up and I know you will agree with me that it is just what the doctor ordered.
CONGRATULATIONS TO COACH PINGATORE! On Saturday, February 11th, I, along with a host of former alumni, students, parents, and fans attended a basketball game featuring our own St. Joseph Chargers against St. Rita. This was no
ordinary game for the beloved St. Joseph Coach Gene Pingatore. Winning this game would mean that Coach Pingatore achieved what only one other coach in Illinois and 14 nationwide would achieve. 1000 WINS!!! As par for the course the team kept us in suspense with a back and forth first half with St. Rita leading by 2 points going into halftime. I do not know what coach Pingatore and his assistant coach Bill Riley said to the team during the break, but maybe whatever they said worked. Right out of the gate the Chargers jumped out to an eight point lead which jumped to 11 points during the 3rd period. The back and forth did not stop as the St. Rita team did not let up one minute during the 16 minute second half. Everyone had their fingers crossed that St. Joes would hold on until the end which they did winning by 10 points for a final score of 81-71. It
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attending the game that Coach Pingatore was glad to get the 1000 game milestone behind him. Many supporters amassed on the gym floor surrounding the team and coach Pingatore, including Illinois State Senator Michael Conley, a graduate of St. Joe’s, as St. Joseph President Brother Thomas Harding presented Coach Pingatore with a stenciled basketball memorializing his achievement not only as a coach, but teacher, mentor, and friend. Coach Pingatore, deemed the Tony Bennett of basketball, was brought to tears by the adulation bestowed from all who love him. His nephew Nick and I were looking at the ceiling wondering when Lady Gaga would be dropping in. Congratulations Coach Gene Pingatore, a true Westchester Treasure!!
CALLING ALL SENIORS: YOU ARE INVITED! I would like to invite you to the annual Senior Breakfast scheduled to be held on Friday, March 17, 2017, in the Global Resource Center of St. Joseph High School, 10900 Cermak Road. The event will begin promptly at 8:30am and will conclude at 10:30am. All department heads will be available for questions and commentary as to future projects and events being discussed for fiscal year 2018 beginning May 1, 2018. A light breakfast will be provided. Reservations are required. Please contact Ms. Samantha Southard at 708345-0020 extension 294 or at ssouthard@westchester-il. org to place your reservation. Hope to see you there!
VEHICLE STICKERS GO ON SALE MARCH 1ST Westchester vehicle stickers will go on sale beginning March 1, 2017 and must be displayed on your vehicle by April 30, 2017. For you historical buffs, I did some research finding that Westchester has had an ordinance requiring vehicle stickers since March 26, 1928. Village President Grant N.
Britten signed the ordinance with the unanimous approval of the then 4 member Village Board of Trustees. The original cost back then was $5 with fines ranging up to $100; no small sum of money back in 1928.
structure is as follows:
meeting at 7:00PM.
Vehicle Classification Regular passenger vehicle sticker - $37
WESTCHESTER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HONORS PERSONS OF THE YEAR
The village, even way back when, relied on the purchase of vehicle stickers to fund many improvements to the village roads and government expenses associated with the costs of running your government. The passage of the Safe Roads Amendment last November will change the Illinois Constitution and prohibit government from using money collected through transportation fees from being used for anything other than transportation. Presently, village sticker monies are placed into our General Fund. The General Fund covers a multitude of expenses including repaving of streets and infrastructure projects.
Auto vehicle sticker for veterans (with proof of veteran status) - $21
Vehicle stickers are valid for one year, from May 1 through April 30. Stickers can be purchased on-line or in person beginning on March 1, 2017. Renewal forms were mailed to residents on February 27, 2017. PLEASE BRING IN YOUR PREPRINTED FORM FOR PURCHASE OF VEHICLE STICKERS AT VILLAGE HALL. Village Hall will be open on Saturday, March 11th from 8:30AM to 12:30PM, Saturday, April 8th from 8:30AM to 12:30PM, and Saturday, April 29th from 8:30AM to 1:00PM for your convenience in purchasing your stickers. PRICES DOUBLE ON MAY 1, 2017. Register All Vehicles with a Westchester Address Residents are reminded that they must purchase a vehicle license for all vehicles housed in Westchester, as well as for all vehicles that are registered through the State of Illinois with a Westchester address. For example, vehicles that may be used at a second residence that are registered to their Westchester address are required to have a Westchester vehicle license. We are offering a reduced rate for veterans this year, which is $21 (limit one vehicle). The fee
Auto vehicle sticker for senior citizens (65 & older) - $21
Auto vehicle sticker for handicapped plates (specialty plate or placard) $11 Auto vehicle sticker for antique vehicles - $11 Motorcycle tag - $34 Truck vehicle sticker (B plates or higher) - $63 ENFORCEMENT Failure to display a valid vehicle sticker by May 1 will result in a citation for noncompliance of $75. Tickets can, will and have been written for those vehicles found not in compliance anywhere police officers patrol and see a violation. Tickets have been written in publicly used parking lots such as Jewel, Mariano’s, West Plaza, and the Corporate Towers just to name a few. Reminder signs have been placed at various entrances to the village as a courtesy reminder. Please make every effort to comply with the ordinance. Fiscal 2018 Budget During the month of March we will continue to put the final touches on our Fiscal 2018 budget numbers. As always you are invited to attend the budget discussions and meetings involving our budget. Unfortunately, not one person attended our first meeting on February 7th at 6pm where discussions were held regarding the Public Works Department, the Utility Fund, Motor Fuel Tax Fund, and Capital Improvement Fund or on February 21st where discussions were held regarding the Fire Department, IT Department, Hotel/ Motel Tax Fund and the EMS Department. The draft budget will be posted for public review at Village Hall no later than April 12th. We anticipate holding a public hearing on the budget on Tuesday, April 25th prior to the Village Board
Each year the Westchester Chamber of Commerce hosts a recognition ceremony and dinner at the Alpine Banquet Haus in Westchester, honoring persons whose names were submitted by the village, park district, school district, library, in addition to a Westchester Business whose image was enhanced earning them the Chamber of Commerce Image Award. This year’s award winners were Principal Greg Leban for Westchester School District 92.5, Jean Klotter for the Westchester Public Library, Carol Downs, Nancy Kosiek, and Annette McDonnell for the Westchester Park District, myself as the Westchester Chamber of Commerce and Village of Westchester Person of the Year. Bruce Horek’s State Farm Insurance Office was awarded the Image Award. Each of the selections from the various groups were excellent choices. Hearing the reasons for their selection and how each one of them “goes the extra mile” in assisting others was truly heart-warming. I was honored to be selected and be part of the persons selected this year. Master of Ceremony Dr. Thomas Sullivan once again did an excellent job keeping the evening on track. There were many mentions of each honoree cutting their acceptance speech short to allow me more time. The over and under for the length of my speech to win the floral table centerpiece was 25 minutes set by my sister in law Karen. I was the last recipient presented my award, following Mr. Leban, whose management style and abilities working with, students, teachers, parents, and board members took on Superman qualities when being honored by school board president Carolyn Wilhite. Having served with Greg’s father on the Westchester School Board in the early 1990’s I can honestly say Greg has taken the nurturing and rearing taught by his father and mother and used their guidance to become the talented person he
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is today. Donna, you did good! Although his Dad was not able to attend the event he certainly was gleaming with pride as he looked down from above. Fondness for teachers who shape and mold our minds, especially in today’s climate where teachers and schools have taken on parenting roles, I asked a teacher from my past, who taught at the Mary Jane Kennedy School, to accompany my family to the event. What she did not know was that whatever honor I was receiving was to be considered an honor that she deserved just as much. My invited guest was Ms. Noreen McGinley who started teaching in the Westchester School District in the late 1950’s at the Nixon School classroom that is now the Bus Barn. Ms. McGinley was transferred to the newly constructed Mary Jane Kennedy School in the early 1960’s and had the unfortunate responsibility of having me in her 3rd grade class. I think she thought that I was more like my older brother Eddie who she had taught at Nixon, but surprise. . suprise. No such luck. I brought with me my 3rd grade report card hoping Ms. McGinley would at least change one of my grades to a little higher one especially since I think I have gotten a little better in writing this newsletter. Or maybe change one of the many check marks to a plus. Based on what I saw there was no way I should have been promoted to 4th grade. There was some laughter in the room and Ms. McGinley was heard to say “I did not want to have to have him for another year so I passed him.” Ms. McGinley will always be one of those special teachers that you equate with you mother. A teacher who for 60 plus years dedicated herself to molding young minds and teaching not just the three R’s but immersing themselves in the minds and hearts of their students. Ms. McGinley received a standing ovation from all of the people in attendance. A well deserved honor. I think I surprised everyone with not going over my 25 minute limit,
and my altered rendition of the Frank Sinatra song “MY WAY” converted to the more appropriate “OUR WAY.” In case you were wondering Ms. McGinley refused to change anything on my report card even after handing her a red sharpie. A true professional to the end.
WESTCHESTER BOY SCOUT TROOP CELEBRATES On Sunday, February 12th, I attended a celebration ceremony at the Westchester Community Church highlighting the 80th Anniversary of Westchester Boy Scout Troop 73. Troop 73 is the oldest running Boy Scout Troop in the Village of Westchester and one of the oldest members of the Pathway to Adventure Council. I was honored to read the Village of Westchester Proclamation presented at our January 24th Board meeting, especially having been a member of Cub Scout Troop 73 back in the early 1960’s. Troop 73 and all of the scout programs in the village have a positive impact on the village and provide young people with a safe and exciting environment in which to learn the value of citizenship, service teamwork, fitness and leadership. Westchester Community Church Pastor Joseph Mills officiated at the ceremony and had the troop members stand and recite the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent valuesbased youth development organizations, providing programs for young people that build character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship and develops personal fitness. For more than 100 years, Boy Scouts of America has helped build future leaders by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The Boy Scouts of America believes and, through over a century of experience, knows that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible and productive society.
SOLUTIONS FOR CARE OFFERS ASSISTANCE TO SENIORS Last month I had a meeting with Ms. Christine Flynn, MSW the Communications
Supervisor for Solutions for Care. Solutions have taken over the duties of the West Suburban Senior Services formerly located in Bellwood. Solutions is located at 7222 W. Cermak Rd. Suite 200 North Riverside, Illinois 60546 Phone 708-447-2448. Solutions for Care (SFC), formerly the Berwyn Cicero Council on Aging, has responded to the needs of our community for over 40 years. As our community grew into a culturally rich and diverse area, so has the staff at Solutions for Care. SFC is a non-profit 501C (3) social service organization that was founded in 1972. SFC is dedicated to connecting older adults and those who care for them to the resources they need. SFC provides services and programming for older adults and those living with disabilities in Berwyn, Cicero, and Proviso Township. SFC has taken over those areas previously serviced by West Suburban Senior Services and offers multiple programs that strive to support older adults and those with disabilities to remain independent in the community. Three main programs are offered at SFC: 1. Care Coordination Program (CCP) can provide non-medical homemaker services, home delivered meals, emergency home response and monthly Chore housekeeping. An in-home assessment is required for this program. 2. Adult Protective Services (APS) which provides 24-hour coverage for any abuse or neglect reports made to the state hotline (1-866-800-1409). All calls to the state hotline are confidential and anonymous reports are accepted. 3. Aging & Disability Resource Network (ADRN) connects clients with community resources and provides referrals to needed services. ADRN also is certified to provide the Senior Health Assistance Program (SHAP) which assists clients in completing applications for Medicaid, SNAP, Low Income Energy Assistance, Senior Tax Freeze, Senior Free Ride
Program and several others. As a designated ADRN site, SFC provides up to date information and quality referrals to individuals with disabilities ages 18-59 and to older adults and their family members. ADRN also offers the Senior Health Assistance Program (SHAP) which connects our clients with state and federal programs such as: - Benefits Access Application (RTA Senior Free Ride Program & reduced cost vehicle registration) - Medicaid - SNAP - Medicare & Prescription Drug Plans - Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program - Senior Tax Freeze - Options Counseling - Extra Help
MUNICIPAL LEGISLATIVE ISSUES 2017 The Village of Westchester is a long time member of the Illinois Municipal League whose offices are located in Springfield Illinois. Municipalities across Illinois provide critical services that citizens rely upon every day. These local municipalities are uniquely qualified to govern themselves, effectively managing their resources for the benefit of their citizens and the State. Since 1913, the Illinois Municipal League (IML) has been the collective voice of cities, villages and towns. By educating members about current legislative issues and advocating on their behalf, IML ensures that local elected officials and their constituents are represented in the decisionmaking process. The IML represents all of its membership and sponsors bills as well as opposes other bills during the legislative sessions each year. I would like to share some of the initiatives being sponsored this legislative session. I feel the more informed and educated our residents are the better understanding of what issues are facing local governments the more support we garner for our decisions. Illinois Municipal League’s Mission is to Educate…Advocate…
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Empower. Municipal Authority The operation of municipalities is a complex task that requires partnerships with both the federal and state government. The enactment of laws and regulations that preempt local authority only hinders the ability of municipal officials to meet the needs of residents and address community problems. Municipal officials must maintain the autonomy necessary to fulfill their appropriate responsibilities to those who elected them.
resources and share services. Service cooperation and consolidation reduces the cost of local governments, eliminates redundancies and appropriates resources wisely and effectively. R
Meetings, Public Records and Notifications The Illinois Municipal League believes that a vibrant democracy requires the active participation of an engaged citizenry. Citizens elect their local leaders and have an obligation to hold their leaders accountable. The Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act and public notification laws are essential accountability mechanisms. These laws must be balanced to consider staff obligations, personnel information sensitivities, evolving technology and occasional abuses of the process by those seeking public information.
Illinois Municipal League: 2017 Legislative Agenda ISSUE: Public Safety Pension Fund Consolidation HB2682 Public safety pension costs continue to increase and threaten to divert available municipal revenues away from funding other important programs and services intended to secure the health, safety and welfare of municipal residents. Benefit reductions appear highly unlikely following court decisions upholding what appears to be an absolutist interpretation of the “impairment clause” within the Illinois Constitution. The existence of 663 separate municipal public safety pension funds restricts investment opportunities and creates overlapping administrative expenses. Combining administrative functions among the municipal public safety pension funds would reduce administrative costs and result in savings to municipalities and taxpayers. Consolidating investment dollars among the 663 municipal public safety pension funds would increase investment returns by allowing for added diversification and expanded investment authority. IML SOLUTION Combining administrative functions among the municipal public safety pension funds would reduce administrative costs and result in savings to municipalities and taxpayers. Consolidating investment dollars among the 663 municipal public safety pension funds would increase investment returns by allowing for added diversification and expanded investment authority.
In t e r g ov e r n m e n t a l Cooperation Local governments and Illinois taxpayers benefit from the broad authority that allows local governments to cooperatively pool
ISSUE: Automatic Appropriation Authority for Local Funds HB617 Annual appropriation authority is required for Motor Fuel Tax (MFT ), casino gaming, video
Municipal Revenue and Taxation Illinois municipalities continue to require additional revenues. The League commends the State for the provision of revenue sharing to Illinois municipalities. This successful partnership must be continued in good faith and in recognition that most of the services that benefit Illinoisans are provided by local government. Municipal governments must also have the autonomy to address their local revenue needs.
gaming, Use Tax and 9-1-1 revenues to be distributed to municipalities. As we learned during the 2015 Fiscal Year, an annual appropriation requirement can prevent these funds from being distributed, despite the fact that they are non-General Revenue Funds and do not affect state government budgets. IML SOLUTION Amend the Motor Fuel Tax, casino gaming, video gaming, Use Tax and 9-1-1 revenue laws to make them continuing appropriations so funds are automatically distributed (as with Local Government Distributive Fund revenue) without the need for an annual appropriation enactment by the General Assembly and Governor. ISSUE: Expansion of Home Rule Eligibility SJRCA9 Municipalities of varying sizes must address similar problems and should have a broad array of powers available to meet community challenges. The Illinois Constitution automatically grants home rule status to municipalities that reach a population threshold in excess of 25,000 residents. Non-home rule communities are granted limited authority compared to home rule communities. IML SOLUTION Grant municipalities with populations in excess of 5,000 residents home rule status. This would provide 172 communities with additional tools that they do not presently possess to address local issues. There are currently 212 home rule communities established either by population or referendum. ISSUE: Federal Definition of “Catastrophic Injury” in PSEBA Law HB2352 The Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (PSEBA) provides taxpayer-funded, lifetime health insurance benefits to police officers and firefighters, their spouses and dependents up to the age of 26. Eligibility for PSEBA benefits occurs when an employee is “catastrophically injured” while responding to an emergency. The absence of
a definition of “catastrophic injury” within the PSEBA statute means that municipalities must pay lifetime health insurance premiums to otherwise ablebodied and employable individuals. IML SOLUTION The ideal solution is to define “catastrophic injury” to mean an injury severe enough to preclude gainful employment. This would entail using the federal definition of “catastrophic injury,” which is found in the federal Public Safety Officer Benefits Act (PSOB). ISSUE: Public Safety Employee Arbitration Reform HB797 Arbitrators are rendering decisions in labor disputes that compel local governments to offer wage and benefit awards that exceed available revenues. This results in budgetary difficulties, service reductions and layoff s to other employees. IML SOLUTION Require arbitrators to base decisions primarily on actual available revenues and a municipality’s current financial status. ISSUE: Reinstatement of Public Duty Doctrine SB2029 For decades, the common law public duty rule protected governmental entities and their employees from burdensome litigation costs. The public duty rule provides that a governmental entity and its employees do not owe a duty of care to provide services to individual members of the general public, such as police and fire protection services, because public entities owe a broader duty to the public at large. In 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the public duty rule is no longer viable in Illinois common law. IML SOLUTION The General Assembly should restore the broad protections previously provided by the common law public duty rule by codifying the public duty rule into statute. This would restore a long-standing policy that has always protected local governments and their employees from litigation
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costs. ISSUE: Assess Interest on Overdue Utility Payments SB937 During the budget impasse of Fiscal Year 2016, the State was not authorized to make utility payments for State facilities throughout Illinois. This led to several municipalities and private utility vendors continuing to provide services in the absence of payments. When the budget impasse was settled and bills were eventually paid, private utility companies such as Ameren and American Water received interest payments along with the vouchered amount. Municipalities providing identical services were not entitled to interest payments. IML SOLUTION The General Assembly should require the State to treat a past due utility bill the same regardless of whether the bill is submitted by a private utility or a municipal utility. ISSUE: Protect Equalized Assessed Value of Property SB 56 The assessed value of property used to be based solely on the property’s “fair cash value.” A 2010 law allows for the use of “compulsory sales” as fair comparable sales in the assessment challenge process. This policy results in a reduction in the assessed value of properties within a taxing district. Consequently, local governments must increase the mill rates to sustain the tax dollars needed to support local taxing bodies. IML SOLUTION Eliminate the use of compulsory sales to establish assessed property value during an assessment challenge. ISSUE: Application Fee Provision for Telcom Utility Access to Public Right of Way HB2819 The Fourth Judicial Circuit Court found that an application fee for a permit to construct any facility on, over, above, along, upon, across or within
a municipal right-of-way by a telecommunications carrier is prohibited. IML SOLUTION The General Assembly should allow communities to apply an application fee to telecommunication carriers that want to gain access to the public right of-ways. ISSUE: Notification to Taxing Bodies of Petition to Reduce Equalized Assessed Value SB1247 The Code of Civil Procedure does not require that taxing bodies be notified when a property owner is seeking an action in circuit court to reduce the equalized assessed value (EAV ) of their property by $100,000 or more. Consequently, local governments cannot present evidence challenging the proposed reduction in EAV and would, in any event, be unable to attempt to compensate for such a significant loss of EAV. IML SOLUTION The statute within the Property Tax Code concerning appeals before the Property Tax Appeal Board (35 ILCS 200/16180) includes a requirement that all affected taxing bodies receive notice from the board of review when a property owner files a petition seeking a reduction in EAV of $100,000 or greater. A similar provision should be added to the Code of Civil Procedure. ISSUE: Allow Municipalities to Select the Form of Surety used by Developers HB3751 Throughout Illinois, developers have declared bankruptcy or abandoned partially built developments. This requires the municipality to collect the surety to complete subdivision infrastructure improvements such as streets, water pipes and sidewalks. If the subdivision improvements are guaranteed with a letter of credit, collection of funds is much simpler. IML SOLUTION The General Assembly should restore the authority of municipalities to determine the form of surety that will be accepted for improvements within a subdivision. ISSUE: Sensible Change to
Bidding Municipal Services HB2681 Non-home rule municipalities are prohibited from seeking up-front cost information for services provided by architects, engineers and land surveyors if those services are likely to exceed a cost of $25,000. This process is known as Qualified Based Selection (QBS). Only after a firm has been selected can a municipality and the selected individual or firm begin negotiations for fees. Using QBS may prevent the local government from finding the best value among firms that meet the necessary qualifications because the traditional bidding system is not allowed. IML SOLUTIONS Adopt the federal financial threshold for QBS, which would allow municipalities to use the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process for projects that cost below $150,000. This process allows municipalities to use a conventional bidding process for hiring professional services.
PROPERTY TAX BILLS We have all received our 1st Cook County Property Tax Bill last month. For those who may not have received it the 1st payment was due last week on Wednesday, March 1st. The tax bill was for calendar year 2016 and not 2017. This bill is only the 1st installment which is 55% of the total 2016 tax bill. We will receive the 2nd installment sometime in August. The 2nd installment spells out how much goes to each taxing body for the whole year 2016. Out of the total bill, 13.5% of your property tax bill comes directly to the Village of Westchester Municipal Corporation. Proviso Township H.S. District 209, Grammar School District 92.5, and Triton Community College District 504 take the biggest chunk, and the remaining % amounts represent amounts levied for the Westchester Park District, Cook County, etc. The monies the village receives are allocated through our annual budget meetings. Having a village budget is necessary to support the services we receive from the
Police, Fire, Public Works, Community Development, Administration as well as all ancillary departments spending. The General Fund is responsible for the payroll for the employees, their benefits. As a service organization, payroll and benefits represent somewhere in the 80 to 85% range of those property taxes collected. Mandated pension payment contributions based on state actuarial computations are also paid from your property tax bill. Our Finance Director Chris Webber has put together a pie graph showing where you property tax dollars are being spent which appears in this newsletter.
GOVERNOR RAUNER ADDRESSES STATE LEGISLATURE On Wednesday February 15th, Governor Rauner addressed the Illinois Legislature in his 3rd Annual Budget Address. It is no secret that having partial, stop gap budgeting is not the way to operate. Obviously there is culpability on both sides of the aisle dating back many years for the position the State of Illinois finds itself in today. Many of us were hard at work and unable to actually hear the address. The newspapers and editorials gave opinions both for and against. Many of us respond to the rhetoric with comments such as same old, same old story. Maybe if I was not the Village President/ Mayor I would have the same response or attitude, but since I am the Village President/ Mayor I would hope that you would expect someone to pay attention to what is happening in Springfield and opine and share insights that will certainly affect all of our lives. I have read the 2017 Budget Address several times. It appears to me that Governor Rauner has done exactly what I, along with other Directors of the West Central Municipal Conference, offered to him in a private meeting last year which was to get together with the legislature’s leadership on both sides of the aisle and hammer out a budget that both sides will not be happy with but will work with until it can be improved upon. I recall likening the impasse and
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rhetoric as a nasty divorce with us residents being the children uncertain what side to attach to, Mom or Dad. Reading the editorials where one side says the address is caving in, while the other says it does not go far enough to help Illinois achieve our goals is in my opinion not conducive to fixing the state’s problems. In doing my research I came upon some disturbing statistics according to Dominique Lalisse of CoreLogic data. Comparing the Real Cost of Owning Property Across the United States Illinois has the highest property tax rate in the U.S., Hawaii has the lowest. According to CoreLogic data, the average median property tax rate across the nation is 1.31 percent, which means a homeowner with a home valued at $200,000 will, on average, pay annual total property taxes of $2,620. Illinois has the highest median property tax rate at 2.67 percent, and Hawaii has the lowest median property tax rate at 0.31 percent. While higher median tax rates are seen primarily among states in the northeast, a notable exception is Texas, which has a median property tax rate of 2.17 percent. Typically, the states with the highest property tax rates, with the exception of Illinois, have multiple levels of tax collection. Conversely, the majority of states with low median tax rates have a single level of collection at the county level. Other than Hawaii, the lowest median property tax rates are primarily in the Rocky Mountain region and southeastern states. - 16 states, or 31 percent of the U.S., have a median property tax rate of less than 1 percent - 28 states, or 55 percent of the U.S., have a median property tax rate of between 1 and 2 percent - 7 states, or 14 percent of the U.S., have a median property tax rate of more than 2 percent Given the many differences in taxing agencies in various communities, it’s important to
analyze specifics at the local level in order to truly compare apples to apples. I found an interesting article dating back to October 2016 from the Paul Simon Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale that asked the question of Illinois Voters: Illinois Voters Ask: Should I Stay or Should I Go? Illinois registered voters are divided over whether they’d like to leave the state or stay, according to the latest poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Specifically, the poll found that 47 percent say they would like to move and 51 percent prefer to remain in the state. Just under 2 percent said they didn’t know. The poll also showed 20 percent said it was extremely likely, somewhat likely or likely they would leave the state in the coming year. Nearly 80 percent said it was unlikely. Taxes are the single biggest reason people want to leave, the weather is next, followed by government and jobs. Specifically, 27 percent cite taxes as the motive for departing, 16 percent say weather, 15 percent cite government and 13 percent name jobs and education. “There are lots of reasons why people want to leave,” said David Yepsen, director of the Institute. “Not much can be done about the weather but policy makers can do something about perceptions of the quality of services, tax competitiveness, tax fairness and educational and job opportunities.” “People often don’t feel they get good value for their tax dollars and with frequent stories of public corruption or the large numbers of governmental units, it’s no wonder why they feel that way,” he said. People under 50 are much more likely to want to leave than the rest of the population. Fifty-seven percent of millennials (under 35) want to leave the state while 58 percent of those between 35 and 50
want to leave. Only 29 percent of adults over age 66 want to leave Illinois
saving measure performed by Office Feller key to the victim’s survival.
“Policy-makers argue over whether people are leaving or not,” Yepsen said. “The most troubling finding in this poll is that so many younger people are thinking about it. That’s the state’s future.”The measurements are one indication of how unhappy many people are with the state. The poll also found a staggering 84 percent of Illinois voters said the state was headed in the wrong direction while only 10 percent said it was on the right track.
Unfortunately, the victim did not survive during his stay in intensive care. The Cemetery is considered unincorporated property under the jurisdiction of the Cook County Sheriff ’s Police who have taken over the investigative aspect of the case. Westchester and Hillside Police personnel responded to the scene under our 9-1-1 intergovernmental agreements for assistance.
The poll of 1000 registered voters was taken Sept. 27-Oct 5 and has a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points. The poll mirrors what the Gallup Poll found three years ago. Then 50 percent of Illinois residents said they would leave the state if they could. No other state ranked higher for wouldbe departures. Gallup also found in 2013 that 19 percent of residents said they were extremely, very or somewhat likely to move in the coming year. The latest Simon Poll also showed Illinois voters think the state is in worse shape than the country or things closer to home. There were 59 percent who said the country is headed in the wrong direction while 43 percent said their local area was moving the wrong way. On a brighter note, there are 52 percent who say the quality of life in their area ranges from excellent to good. For more information see paulsimoninstitute.org.
KUDOS TO WESTCHESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT On Saturday, February 4, 2017, the Westchester Police responded to a reported shooting inside the Glen Oaks Cemetery located on Mannheim Rd. south of Roosevelt Rd. Officer Michael Fellers was one of the first responding officers who located a victim on the ground. Officer Fellers administered first aid including CPR until Westchester Paramedics arrived. The victim was transported to Loyola Hospital where staff attributed the life
At our recent February 14th Village Board meeting Police Chief Stelter commented not only on the incident at Glen Oaks Cemetery, but informed the entire board of Office Jeffrey Batagglia administering Naloxone in response to an overdose victim. Officer Batagglia’s quick action counteracted the affect of an drug overdose case whereby saving a human life. Both Officers will receive accommodations for their actions. Unauthorized use of pharmaceutical and overthe-counter drugs by teens is a growing national problem. About 2.3 million kids, ages 12-17, abused prescription drugs in 2003, according to Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. A survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse survey estimates that there’s been a 25 percent increase each year since 2001 in the use of sedatives and barbiturates among high school seniors. Many parents have no idea that their child is addicted to these drugs. In some cases, they are relieved when they find out that their child is abusing prescription drugs rather than smoking pot or doing heroin. However, prescription drugs can be more potent than street drugs. Heroin sold on the street may be 10-40 percent opiate, but pharmaceutical-grade Vicodin could be 10 times more powerful an opiate than heroin. Opioids are prescribed widely, often in concert with other analgesics, and this legitimate use, along with diversion of pharmaceutical opioids and
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ST. JOSEPH March 2017
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PROPERTY TAX March 2017
Where do Your Property Taxes Go?
Each year, we include summaries of property tax information in the newsletter. We hope you find this information helpful in interpreting the true value and purchasing power of the property taxes you pay. As you can see from the charts, the Village of Westchester’s share of your property tax bill is 13.33% or 14.87%, depending on whether you reside in School District 92.5 or School District 93, respectively. The Village continues to provide outstanding value for your money by keeping the streets and public areas neat and well maintained, providing police and fire protection, reliable water and sewer service, and doing these as efficiently as possible. As the charts illustrate, the majority of your property tax bill, 63.16-66.98%, supports public education. 13.16 – 14.69% supports county and township wide governmental functions. The Westchester Park District and the Westchester Public Library combine for another 6.53– 7.28%. If you live in School District 92.5, the graph above is your tax bill breakdown.
If you live in School District 93, the graph to the left is your tax bill breakdown.
Tax Levy Year 2005 2006 2007
Tax Payment Year 2006 2007 2008
Total Property Tax Rate if your property is in School District 92.5 6.795 6.887 6.679
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
6.244 6.220 6.334 7.782 8.685 9.443 10.320 10.789
Total Tax Levy Property taxation in Cook County can be confusing. The property taxes that you paid in calendar year 2016 were for what is called the “2015 Tax Levy Year”. The 2015 total tax rate per $100 of Equalized Assessed Valuation Total Property Tax Rate if your property (EAV) was 10.789 for homes is in School District 93 5.982 and businesses in School Dis6.095 trict 92.5 (the majority of the 5.935 town), and 9.669 for homes 5.561 and businesses in School Dis5.743 5.929 trict 93. You will find a chart 7.226 showing the tax rates over 8.071 time. 8.771 9.237 9.669
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT 18
PUBLIC WORKS 20
PUBLIC WORKS March 2017
SCHOOL DISTRICT 22
SCHOOL DISTRICT March 2017
SCHOOL DISTRICT 24
LIBRARY March 2017
PROPERTY TAX 28
PRESIDENT Continued from page 13
abuse of illicit opioids, results in large numbers of overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent reports that in 2015, drug overdoses involving an opioid accounted for 33,091 US deaths, a 15.6% increase from 2014. Much of the increase was due to deaths involving heroin, which increased by 20.6%, and to synthetic opioids other than methadone (eg, tramadol, fentanyl), which increased by 72.2%.] Fentanyl—either diverted or illegally produced—appears to be responsible for much of the increase in synthetic opioid overdoses. Fentanyl, which is often mixed with heroin, cocaine, or both, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.] Fentanyl analogues, such as carfentanil, which is 100 more times more potent than fentanyl and is approved only for veterinary use, are also a rising cause of opioid overdoses, often fatal.]
WESTCHESTER FOOD PANTRY PARTNERS WITH THE GREATER CHICAGO FOOD DEPOSITORY
The Westchester Food Pantry is thrilled to announce that they’ve partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository! This partnership will allow the Westchester Food Pantry to serve an increasing number of clients with greater variety of fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables, as well as provide larger opportunities for fundraising. Beginning this year, the Westchester Food Pantry changed its hours and days of operation, as well as the entire service model, to fit within the Greater Chicago Food Depository member agency guidelines. The Westchester Food Pantry opens each Friday night from 5:30-7:30pm, and features a “shopping” format where clients choose food that best fits their family’s needs. This model allows the Westchester Food Pantry to run a more efficient operation, and clients are empowered as they make food choices that best fit the needs of their family. “We are so excited to partner
with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This has been our goal for some time, and it’s going to have great benefits for our clients,” stated Kathleen Franzwa, Co-Director. The soft opening as a Greater Chicago Food Depository agency included fresh sweet potatoes, apples, oranges and green peppers for clients, greatly expanding the Pantry’s nutritious food offerings. The Westchester Food Pantry serves the areas of Westchester, Bellwood, Berkeley, Broadview, Hillside, La Grange Park and Western Springs. Clients must show proof of residency in the service area to receive food, and they may come to the Westchester Food Pantry once each calendar month. In 2016, the Westchester Food Pantry served over 300 families. Over one-third of the clients were from Westchester, followed by Bellwood, Berkeley, Broadview and Hillside. The vast majority of Westchester Food Pantry clients fit into two categories: seniors on fixed incomes and families with young children. In the majority of families with young children, there is at least one adult employed in the home. The Westchester Food Pantry continues to see new clients each month. For more information contact Amanda Grant, Co-Director, at 708927-4826.
TAX TIME HERE AGAIN SCAM CALLS CONTINUE I recently read an article in the Thursday, February 16, 2017 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times regarding the TOP SCAMS targeting our senior citizens. The article was written by Mr. Kevin McCoy from USA TODAY indicating Fake Calls from the IRS are number 1 complaint. A similar article appeared on line from the Associated Press writer Jennifer C. Kerr on February 15, 2017. Ms. Kerr’s article is below. IRS Impostor Scam Robs Elderly Americans of Life Savings WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s the top complaint to a U.S. Senate hotline for seniors: fraudsters posing as IRS agents, threatening arrests and demanding money.
Treasury Department official Timothy Camus told the Senate Aging Committee on Wednesday that more than 10,000 people have reported falling prey to the so-called “IRS impersonation scam” over the last several years — many of them elderly Americans. Phillip Hatch, who is 81 and testified before the panel via video, told lawmakers how he received a phone call one day at his home in Portland, Maine. The caller told him there was a mistake on his tax returns and federal marshals were coming to arrest him unless he paid the money. Worried, Hatch did as instructed and went to the local CVS to purchase iTunes cards. He then read the numbers on the backs of the cards to the caller. After four hours on the phone with the caller, Hatch was out $8,000. He told the panel he wishes he hadn’t been “so cooperative.” Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, chair of the committee, says the criminals who prey on seniors are relentless. “They will harass seniors over and over again until they have drained every penny from their life savings,” she said. Federal officials, from Treasury and the Federal Trade Commission, testified about efforts to combat the fraud on senior Americans. Last October, more than 50 people were indicted in a scam that involved call centers in India and bilked thousands of victims out of more than $270 million. Camus, with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration office, says it is the largest single domestic law enforcement action to date related to the IRS impersonation scam. For some time, scammers had been duping victims into getting money orders. More recently, however, Camus says his office has seen a shift to iTunes cards because it’s easier to get the money since the scammers no longer need middlemen to convert the money orders. “They’re now selling the iTunes cards on the third party market and pocketing the money immediately,” Camus said. The Senate Aging Committee has a hotline for seniors to call about fraud (1-855-3039470). Last year, the hotline received more than 2,200 calls from people all over the
country — more than double the number of calls from 2015. The top complaint was the IRS impersonation scam. That was followed by lottery or sweepstakes scams, in which callers promise a huge lottery prize that can only be awarded if taxes and other fees are sent immediately to the caller. NOTE: The IRS, Social Security Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, NEVER make phone calls asking for bank information or Social Security Numbers.
LEAD IN WATER TESTING REQUIRED While great steps have been taken during the past two decades to reduce the levels of lead in water, lead may still get into water from older metal faucets, taps, or pipes. To protect Illinois children from possible exposure to lead in drinking water, Governor Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly passed Public Act 99-0922 requiring schools and daycares to sample for lead contamination in water. The Act requires the oldest school buildings, those built before January 1, 1987, to complete water testing by the end of 2017. Schools built between January 2, 1987 and January 1, 2000 must complete testing by the end of 2018. The Act requires parents and guardians of students be notified of lead results greater than or equal to five parts per billion (ppb). Daycares built on or before January 1, 2000 that serve children younger than 6 years old will also be required to conduct testing once rules are developed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and Illinois Department of Public Health. There are six daycares located in Westchester that are registered with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Please see the DCFS website at https://sunshine.dcfs.illinois. gov/Content/Licensing/ Daycare/ProviderLookup.aspx for provider information.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated
See PRESIDENT, page 30
PRESIDENT Continued from page 29
on Friday March 17, 2017. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and the Irish. He was born about 389 A.D. in Northern Wales, which at that time may have been part of England or Scotland. Saint Patrick had an adventurous life. He was captured by pirates at the age of 16. The Irish pirates brought him to Ireland to tend the flocks of a chieftain in Ulster. Six years of slavery made him a devoted Christian. He escaped to France and became a monk. In 432, a vision led him to return to Ireland as a missionary bishop. He brought Christianity to Ireland and taught there for 29 years. He used the shamrock, a 3 leaf clover, (Ireland’s national flower) to explain the Blessed Trinity. St. Patrick founded 365 churches, baptized over 120,000 people and consecrated 450 bishops. Many tales sprung up about this popular saint. One of the most popular legends was how he charmed all the snakes of Ireland down to the seashore to be drowned by the water. According to some Irish writings, St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 A.D. The anniversary of his death is celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day. It’s interesting to note that the shamrock clover flowers around that time of year. The first official celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the United States occurred in Morristown, New Jersey in 1780. It was authorized by George Washington. Today St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by the Irish as well as many Americans with parades, parties, wearing of the green, Irish songs and jigs. People wear green on this day to represent the lushness of Ireland - The Emerald Isle. I have been reminded by a local mayor that St. Patrick being the son of parents who were living in the Roman Empire and his father, a Roman citizen when he was born, is Italian… I read some articles on the
web which mentioned the fact that the Italian and Irish Flags are very similar except for the red/orange color. Maybe this is the reason my Irish wife Maureen and the Italian me get along so well (LOL).
DIVINE PROVIDENCE FLING OF 2017 Divine Providence Parish is hosting a Silent Auction & Dinner Dance at the McInerney Center on Saturday, March 18, 2017. The event will be held from 6pm to Midnight. Tickets: Presale $75. General Admission $90. Tickets include Cocktail Hour 6pm-7pm; Dinner at 7pm, and Open Bar 6pm to 11:30pm. For more information or to purchase tickets go to www. dprov.org or contact the school office at 708-562-2258.
ST. JOSEPH’S DAY Since 1870, when Pope Pius IX decreed Joseph as the patron saint of the Church and March 19 as St. Joseph Day, Catholics have used the day to reflect on Joseph’s faithfulness, dignity and obedience as the father of Jesus and husband of Mary. Your own observances can reflect the serious nature of the day or follow traditional ways of celebrating. Alternatively, you can take a lighthearted and family-oriented approach to your celebration of St. Joseph’s Day. Feasts at St. Joseph’s Table St. Joseph’s Day is Sunday March 19, 2017. Many Sicilians believe that St. Joseph saved the people of Sicily from a famine in the Middle Ages, and to this day, many prepare a special feast to show their gratitude. In modern times, the traditional St. Joseph’s Table recreates that feast. Serve Italian specialties at your observance in honor of St. Joseph’s miracle, such as sfinge or zeppole, a cream puff made with sweetened ricotta cheese, and fava beans, which legend has it sustained the Sicilians during the famine. (Source: Ms. Susan Lundman)
FROM THE BOARD At the January 24th Village Board Meeting, the following items were approved under the Consent Agenda:
• Approval of the Record of Bills ending 01-18-17 in the amount not to exceed $1,117,296.81 • Approval of Minutes of the November 22, 2016 Village Board Meeting, Minutes of the November 22, 2016 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Minutes of the December 20, 2016 Village Board Meeting, Minutes of the December 20, 2016 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Minutes of the January 10, 2017 Village Board Meeting, and Minutes of the January 10, 2017 Committee of the Whole Meeting • A Resolution Approving and Ratifying Change Order No. 1 to a Contract Between the Village of Westchester and Orange Crush, LLC. for Services Related to the 2016 Street Improvement Program At the January 24th Village Committee of the Whole Meeting, the following items discussed under New Business: • Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. Contract for Preliminary Study of Balmoral Avenue • Storm Drain Stenciling Program At the January 24th Village Committee of the Whole Meeting, the following items discussed under Old Business: • Building Permit Fees • Alliance Turf Management Draft Contract At the February 7th Special Board Meeting, the following items were approved under the Active Agenda: • A Resolution Advising and Consenting to the Appointment of Certain Officers • An Ordinance Amending Chapter 5.36, Entitled “Liquor Sale” of Title 5, Entitled “Business Licenses and Regulations,” of the Westchester Municipal Code At the February 7th Village Board Meeting, the following items were discussed: • Public Works • Utilities Fund • Motor Fuel Tax Fund • Capital Projects Fund
TRITON COLLEGE NEWS Tech Savvy Conference by AAUW (American Association
of University Women) March 25, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Robert M. Collins Center (R Building) Tech Savvy is a daylong science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career conference designed to attract girls in sixth through ninth grade to these fields and to inform mentoring adults about STEM education and careers and how they can support the girls’ interest and success in STEM. The cost to participate is $10 per person (girls and adults), includes lunch. Each attending girl receives a T-shirt to wear at the conference. To register or for more information, visit http:// w w w. a a u w. o r g / w h a t - w e - d o / stem-education/tech-savvy. Triton Troupers Circus April 6, 7 p.m.; April 7, 7 p.m.; April 8, 1 and 7 p.m. Robert M. Collins Center Gymnasium (R Building) Triton Troupers Circus is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the circus arts and to the local community. Triton Troupers Circus features skilled performers in classic circus specialties such as chairs, clowning, double stunts, globes, gymwheel, juggling, statues, teeterboard, trampoline, trapeze, unicycle, web, wire, feats of strength and more. For more information including how to purchase tickets, visit TritonTroupersCircus.com. RSVP Annual Pancake Breakfast April 8, 8 a.m. to Noon Room R-221 of the Robert M. Collins Center (R Building) The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of West Suburban Cook and Southern DuPage Counties at Triton College is hosting its annual Pancake Breakfast with the opportunity for families to have a day of fun, too. For those families who want to stay for the Triton Trouper Circus at 1 p.m., a Circus Special, a combination of tickets for the circus and the breakfast, can be purchased for a discounted price. All proceeds benefit the RSVP Program and its volunteers. For more information on the RSVP Pancake Breakfast or Circus Special, call (708) 4560300, Ext. 3835 or 3603.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT March 2017
SERVING THE WESTERN SUBURBS SINCE 1946
V I S I T U S O N L I N E AT W W W. F O R E S T D O O R . C O M
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