Berwyn's Arts Blog
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Committee of the Whole/City Council
Meetings of June 27, 2005

First, I thank BerwynPatsy for summarizing the meetings. I am using her edition and editing a shade. She has made it much easier for me. And, being a resident, she has put in what she feels is important.

There was plenty said by plenty of people during the Open Forum. Nice to see people are concerned. I will not state what was said, though. Unfortunately, we do have less than desirable people in our community. I refuse to give them any publicity.

The meetings were long. The COW meeting which was first was behind closed doors for about 3/4 of that hour. Please note that when we go into a closed door session, it is to discuss litigation, land acquisition or personnel. Not meant for the public. Sorry. The only important subject shared with the public was regarding the CDBG monies.(community development block grants) The monies are up for approval. I am not to sure how to explain this, so if anyone else cares to jump in, please do.I have a few comments though in general. The CDBG monies are given to Cities to basically help the less fortunate. There are strict guidelines that must be followed. Oftentimes, charities seek money. Certain municipal entities seek money. All for a good cause. Feel free to write you legislators in DC because there are rumblings Bush wants to drastically cut these funds.

The City Council meeting went on for almost 2 hours. Lots said. Good byes and best wishes said to all employees retiring(Alba Lovero-City Collector, Tom Martirano-Public Works Director and Louis Stillo-City Sealer). Announcments of new employees, such as Deby Suchy, who will be replacing Alba Lovero.
The Mayors Advisory Commitee people were named. There are more to be named. There should probably be about 10 to sixteen per Ward. These will be people to sort of be a thinktank for the City.
Announcement of 4 police promotions, which I was the only one to vote against the promotions. Although I wanted some to be promoted, I wanted others not to be.
ireworks display should be great. There were a total of $4,000.00 given by private entities/people to make sure we have good Fireworks.
Contract signed with Awsome Pest Control on Grove Ave. to get rid of rats in the City(I mean the animal kind).
I was appointed to the West Central Municpal Transit Board. I can now get input for silence of the whistles.
I put a communication on the floor to deal with our parking problems. Amazingly enough, three Aldermen voted against this. I only understand why one of the Aldermen voted against having a new parking plan.
Motion was made by 1st ward alderman Nona Chapman to secure 9 parking slots for the city who would then lease them to the business owners in th depot district. These slots are on the east side of Kenilworth south of Windsor to the alley. This was passed by city council.
The spindle at Cermak Plaza will be power washed occasionaly. The owner has hired a company. More importantly, from my perspective since I am all for beautification, the company that owns Cermak Plaza has hired a muralist to do a mural on the south side, behind Walgreens.
The Mayor announced that Thursday was the last day to buy vehicle stickers.

Also, besides the Bungalow Walk next year, there was a proposal put forth by the BDC to have a Cartopia, which are vehicles made into art; a spin-off of what I wanted, cars on parade(cows on parade in Chicago).

Berwyn is looking better every day.

The next Committe of the Whole will be July 5th at 6:30. The big issue here will be the parking garage. I am all for the best, biggest, etc. Will be expensive, but we have to look toward the future.

Hang in there, we will get there.

If I ever have mispellings on this blog, too bad. My computer prevents me from using the spell checker on this blog site.

Thursday, June 23, 2005
Budget/Building & Zoning
The Aldermanic Committees met Wednesday evening, June 21, 2005. First, we met on the Budget Committee. We discussed the gas issue. Only three remaining Alderpeople have gas keys. It appears the majority of all the other gas keys are actually being used properly. Having said that, we need to better figure out all the logistics involved. This issue is not done yet. At the very, very least, we need something done concerning the Alderpeople. My opinion.

We also discussed the line items vis-a-vis the new positions and replacement positions. There is no doubt we will be saving money salary wise. Just getting rid of the PSO with no replacement helps tremendously.

Next, we the Building/Zoning Committee met. We will be attempting to get facts/figures of other municipalities and what they charge for zoning meetings and permit fees. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Committee of the Whole
Most of what you see below was written by BerwynPatsy from the Berwyn bulletin board.

The meeting was held on June 20, 2005. Lots of discussion tonight. Most important subject discussed involved the occupancy ordinance that was brought up at the last city councilmeeting. The council is simply trying to re-work and re-word the affidavit so it withstands legal scrutiny. I was also happy to hear that our occupancy ordinance is actually enforced; usually concerning illegal appartments. We will be looking at different municipalitiies including Forest Park. No agreement made on this issue.

Complaints of a rat problem coming in from residents in both north and south Berwyn. A Berwyn business man hired to help control this problem.Cost to us $115.00 per week. This will include all Commercial and residential alleys .

New position announced. Fleet Manager. Start date of 6/27/05. Also Assistaant Financial Director. As for transparency(it was mentioned-or lack thereof), just the fact that these positions are being announced publicly, seems to indicate that the Administration will not hide things from the public. Certainly not my intention.

I thank Pat for laying the groundwork for this entry. Made it a lot easier on me.

As an aside, I will be meeting with a DuPage group next week concerning overcrowding. I hope to get some ideas on how our City can approach the issue in a legal way.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
June 14, 2005 City Council Meeting
Michele Skryd resigned from Zoning Bd of Appeals and replaced by Robret Fejt.
Donald Erce is appointed to Police Pension Board.
There were numerous people appointed to the Community Relations Commission: Christy Roberts is a 3rd Ward Resident.
Robert Woodyard resigned from Public Works and Goergia Zouvas resigned from the Building Department.
Major commotion on abolishing the occupancy affidavit. See the Berwyn Bulletin Board for details:

Enforcement mechanisms for collecting overdue water bills will be discussed either at the Ordinance Committee or the Committee of the Whole. Bottom line, a lot of people owe water monies.

Closed Committee of the Whole minutes are available to the public from the past administration. You can see what was discussed concerning past land acquisitions, personnel decisions and litigation involving the City. You should be able to make a Freedom of Information Request from the City Clerk or possibly, just ask.

The building codes discussed by the Building/Zoning Aldermanic Committee will not be made into law. This concerned the 2nd floor additions. The moratorium is now lifted. Build away; within the new guidelines. Otherwise, you can go to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The 8th Ward Alderman had many communications on the floor. A building permit was issued for a house that got caught in the moratorium.
Joel also asked that the use of gas be looked into by City employees. This will be discussed at the Budget Aldermanic Committee meeting on June 22, 2005 at 7:30 pm, followed by a Building/Zoning meeting.
Joel also wants the City to look into pets and animals. Not sure what he wants.
And, finally, Joel wants a valet parking ordinance put into effect.

I started the way to bring much stronger provisions into the ordinance concerning noise. Actually received much clapping from the crowd for this. Who knew?

The 5th Ward Alderman, Ben Brocato, wants the City to have some ordinance put into place concerning portable basketball hoops.

Mike Phelan, 6th Ward Alderman, got a tree removed and is behind the City's fireworks for the Fourth of July.

Apartments are being converted into condos in the 1st Ward at 3839 Wenonah. The more condo conversions we have in Berwyn, the better for our City.

The 4th Ward Alderwoman, Michele Skryd, is seeking an increase in Zoning fees. Apparently, Berwyn is under-priced.
She also is having better parking conditions put into place at the Happy Days Child Devt Center.
Finally, Michele is seeking speed bumps on certain streets. Studies will be done. Based on what happens with her streets, I will seek to do the same thing in various parts of the 3rd Ward.

A new probationary firefighter, Robert Pilch, has been put onto duty.

Oak Park from Ogden to 39th Street is being re-paved this summer.

Finally, the business at 6727 Stanley is seeking TIF monies for a facade rehab. This will be looked at by the City more in depth before giving out the monies.

That has been a fast and short re-cap. I simply went down the agenda. I did not write about everything. If you want to look at the agenda, you can go to the City's website and look under the City Clerk link.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Property Tax Assessments
Mark, a Berwyn pal of mine in another ward brought over a letter that he received about his real estate assessment. It was a solicitation to appeal his assessment for him. They charge a nonrefundable $100.00 to begin the process. The homeowner pays them 50% of what the company is able to reduce the assessment by. The firm walks away with an easy $100.00 is they are unsuccessful in reducing the assessment.

Please pass along to third ward residents that this type of service is being offered by the Berwyn Assessor's office for free. Residents can call the Berwyn Health Department to make an appointment. There is a deadline for filing the appeal. Appointments should be made a.s.a.p.

Beth Pechous gave a talk about this service at the last ABC meeting. She said that they have a computer program all set up to check comparable properties to see if a resident's taxes are in line with taxes being paid by other owners of similar properties in the area.

Please pass this along to other 3rd ward residents. Maybe get more information and post it on your blog. You'll be saving them at least $100.00 by advising them to go for the free service. Marge

Thursday, June 09, 2005
Committee of the Whole, Fire/Police
We met Tuesday, June 7, 2005 for the Committee of the Whole meeting.

First discussed the audit; or lack thereof and why the lack of audit. The accounting firm chosen by the last administration began the audit of 2003 and it become rapidly apparent that the finances were an utter disaster. Consequently, the accounting firm made up its own accounting and by the time the firm was finished with the accounting, a new firm had to come in and do the audit. That is in progress.

There is an apartment building at 3839-45 Wenonah that is going condo. The City has no parking ordinances for apartments, but does for condos; meaning, you can have a big apartment building, but no parking spaces for the building. Yet, the same size condo building, and you need parking. Makes no sense. Bottom line, the City will let the condo building become a condo building.

There will be a town hall meeting August 10, 2005 for the entire City's residents.

No Aldermanic websites will have links on the City website.

The biggest thing to come out of the meeting is that residents will now be able to speak at a City Council meeting about items on that night's agenda.

There is a meeting set for tonight, June 9, 205, at City Hall to discuss the lack of parking garage i the depot district.

Fire and Police Aldermanic Committee Meeting

Berwyn has a billing service that does all the billing for the ambulance/paramedic services. We are looking to see if the service is fair, if it could be better or if it is okay as is.

Additionally, we briefly discussed having our firefighters do the paramedic services. As it stands, we contract out to a paramedic company. Do not know if this is feasible, but worth a look.

Finally, we briefly discussed having video cameras in police vehicles.

Finally, finally, we discussed having a community alternative policing service(CAPS).

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
City Job Vacancies
If anyone is interested in a Berwyn job, you can look online for any openings at

The same positions should be posted at City Hall.

Citizens Advisory Board
A new volunteer board is being created: the Citizens Advisory Board. There will be one or two seats for each Ward. Please get a cover letter/resume to the Mayor and copy your Alderperson.

We would like the Board full before July 11, 2005.

Friday, June 03, 2005
Building/Zoning Committee Meeting, et al.
The building and zoning aldermanic committee met on June 1, 2005 at City Hall. We dealt with second story additions and dormers. We decided on a height restriction of 30 feet for any second story addition.

Additionally, when inspectors go to a house when it is on the market, they will not be checking out every little thing. The inspectors will concentrate on safety issues. So, in the past, you couldn't sell your house in January because the city wanted you to paint your garage. Now, someone will be able to buy a house with a garage that needs a paint job. When the new owner moves in and if the paint is peeling/chipping, etc., the city will give you a ticket for that. Hopefully that makes sense.

I attended the Berwyn Development Corporation's Business After Hours on Thursday evening, May 2, 2005. There were a lot of people there. Very nice affair.

I was then able to meet with the developers of the Oak Park/Grove/32nd and Stanley project. So far, so good.

Next week is busy. On Tuesday, June 7, 2005, there is a Budget aldermanic committee meeting at 5 pm. Then, there is a Committee of the Whole meeting at 6 pm.

On Wednesday, June 8, 2005, there is a fire and police aldermanic committee meeting at 6:30 pm.

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