Friday, March 24, 2006
City Council Meeting, March 14, 2006, Town Hall Meeting/Volunteers
This recap of the March 14, 2006 meeting was generously provided by a 3rd Ward Resident. The words are not mine. Do enjoy.
In open forum, two gentlemen in brightly colored sports jackets from the Loyal Order of Moose gave the Berwyn Police Department $500 to spend any way they liked. I heard murmurings of a snow cone machine from the officers in attendance. They also gave the BPD stuffed moose dolls to give to children who are upset when their dead beat parents get arrested.
The Mayor mentioned that the city received $50K to rehab one of our pools. The Mayor then went on that we've also gotten a grant to pave and landscape the library lot from Rep. Molaro. The Mayor then read a narrative about the fees the city has been paying for water to Chicago. Long, long story short, it was discovered that Berwyn was paying a charge for sewer usage because an exemption wasn't filed. The exemption has been filed and upon verification from a Chicago official, Berwyn may be reimbursed $4,524,145.11. Again, thanks are due to Dawn 'Crime Dog' Reichert.
The minutes from the February 28th meeting were accepted and we continued on to the reports and communications from the Mayor.
Former Police Chief Carl Dobbs was honored with a trophy that had a picture of police station. Chief Dobbs then gave a short speech. Despite perceptions around the city and around the Chicago area, we have a very good and very professional police department. They work hard and only ask for a thank you or a hand shake at the end of the day. They are our last line of defense and we should be honored to have them working for our ungrateful behinds. (The ungrateful behinds part was my addition.)
A zoning variation was denied for 1244 and 1246 Gunderson. This was the one item briefly discussed in COW and the owner wants to put two unit buildings on these properties. The owner will have to go to the zoning board of appeals.
Removing the hiring freeze for public safety employees was approved on the caveat that this is only for replacement of open positions, and information be provided for the position and the qualifications of the replacement. Alderman Ramos wanted to see the job ads, but the Mayor pointed out that in most cases there’s a waiting list for these positions and no job ad is needed.
McNeal wants to know if the city will allow them to build a parking garage in the DD before they bother to start drawing up plans, requesting variances, etc. The matter was referred to COW and a public hearing will be held for all residents around MacNeal
The intergovernmental agreement with the North Berwyn Park District was referred to the law department and COW. Alderman Ramos stated that after a long discussion with the NBPD he was comfortable with the agreement. There’s a load off our minds. -- Alderman Phelan asked to be excused from the discussion.
Brian Dillon and Sean Gallagher were honored by proclamation for their web site called www.berwyninformer.com that highlights Berwyn homes, businesses, culture, etc. Check it out.
A zoning appeal was sent to COW for 1523 Clarence. Alderman Weiner, channeling the spirit of Alderman Erickson, voted nay.
Alderman Weiner wants to resurrect the Keep Berwyn Beautiful contest. There was discussion as to which department this should be referred to… Recreation, the Mayor’s Office, Community Outreach… After a brief history from Mary Karasek, and a little discussion, it will go to the Mayor’s Office and Community Outreach.
Alderman Weiner also proposed defibrillators be installed in public buildings, but there were questions of cost, liability, and who would train people to use them. Over half the people in that room, me included, will no doubt need one eventually.
Alderman Weiner wants to revisit the handicap parking ordinance, if one exists, to prevent handicap persons using a handicap spot they do not pay for. Apparently there is a situation in his ward where a next door neighbor, who has a handicap permit, is using the spot his neighbor pays for. I can only imagine the phone calls...(This ends four paragraphs in a row mentioning Alderman Weiner. Ok, this one is five, but it stops now.) But really… is this what the world has come to? Skating your neighbor’s handicapped spot? Nona wanted to make the point that it’s a public street and anyone can legally park there provided they have a handicap permit, but the author would be pissed if someone was using a spot that he paid for. Alderman Ramos pointed out that in Chicago the numbers on the permit must match the numbers on the sign.
A sign stating Do Not Block Driveway to be placed on the parkway at 6412 27th was referred to public works. -- Improving the city one blocked driveway at a time.
The appropriation ordinance and 2006 budget is 75% done according to Nona.
A trial run of the parking permit signs will go on Roosevelt from Harlem to Ridgeland, including the cul de sacs. There will be a total of 140 signs and the entire project is not to cost more than $1500. The signs will not allow parking without a permit from 3am to 9am. Genius.
Drug forfeiture funds are being given to the library giving even more momentum to the Reading is a Skill program. Thank you addicts!
The Recreation Department’s budget was accepted.
Sgt. Giordano Manfredini was promoted to lieutenant. Lt. Manfredini has been with the BPD for 16 years and is the midnight shift Watch Commander. He’s a good guy and the promotion is well deserved. For once, the author is actually being serious.
Payables and payroll were approved. The check is in the mail.
Insurance coverage renewal was approved at a rate increase. Alderman Skryd questioned why the rates went up and she was told "because rates go up". Just like death and taxes. -- The matter will be referred to Administration to be looked over with the union insurance commissions presumably to see if cheaper rates can be found.
A proposal to put in sidewalks on Public Works drive between East and Clarence (see, I told you last time there weren’t sidewalks there… see YMCA parking lot proposal) was discussed. From Clarence to the alley, there is plenty of room for a sidewalk and the home owner is against it. From the alley to East, there isn’t enough room according to public works, but the owner is for it. There was much discussion around who owned it, if there was enough room, should it go to budget, Ramos wanted to put it in for half the block (why?), moving the sidewalk to the IC property across the street… but finally common sense prevailed and it was referred to the law department to determine who owns the property. A logical starting place.
Landscaping maintenance along Ogden, Cermak, and the BNSF tracks was sent to public works with the recommendations of the BDC.
The buying back of sick time was discussed and Nona wanted to know where all of the reports were. But the motion was approved after a begrudging "Aye" from the first ward Alderman.
A motion to require ice cream truck drivers have background checks done and be finger printed in order to get a license, along with reducing the number of licenses from 5 to 3 was discussed. Alderman Ramos claimed that if the ice cream trucks were already speeding, reducing the number would cause them to speed more so that they could cover more territory.Personally, I think it’s a good thing. If the kids have to sprint after the ice cream truck, they’re getting exercise and the next generation won’t need defibrillators in public buildings. -- It was referred to COW.
Casual sales and vehicle sticker costs were referred to COW with no discussion.
The Berwyn Fire Department has a mission statement. They saved your life before, but now it has meaning.
Part time van drivers for Community Outreach, presumably for seniors, has been approved. The matter of scrapping old city vehicles was sent to the Finance Director. Look for old tires to become planters around town. (See BDC landscaping recommendations above.)
The request for bids for the 16th St. Community Center rehab was approved. Work will be done to the interior and exterior, especially the basement. A new floor will be put down over the asbestos tile. Alderman Ramos made sure that the new floor would be put over the old one, apparently putting a stop to the previous plan to have children remove the old tile with belt sanders and old butter knives.
The consent agenda was accepted as is.
Remember, this was a re-cap by a 3rd Ward resident. I hope everyone enjoyed his humor. When I re-cap, I am a shade more objective, and certainly, less humorous. (Thanks Shain).
I am seeking volunteers, once again, to pass out flyers in the 3rd Ward for the 3rd Ward Town Hall Meeting on April 29, 2006, at 10:00 am at Trinity Church, 26th and Riverside Drive. Hopefully, all those that helped last time will help again, and hopefully, a few more will chime in.
Please contact me even if you are a regular. Thanks so much. The City is moving forward.