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Mayor Praises First Responders

But Oak Lawn Trustees Bicker Over Alley Resurfacing Plan

The Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on Tuesday night began with Mayor Dave Heilmann extending condolences to the families of the Chicago firefighters who died during the past two weeks.

Heilmann went on to acknowledge the heroic acts of police and firefighters in the past week, sighting the massive house fire on Nov. 6 in Oak Lawn with injuries to two firefighters. The Police Department was praised for preventing two robberies in the area also this past week.

In the public comments segment, resident Debbie Fagan complimented the trustees who have been working with Advocate Christ Hospital staff to impose an impact fee on the hospital. This refers to the street repairs that will be needed, electric, water and sewer usage and police and fire protection. Fagan said ÒThe hospital serves a much larger area than Oak Lawn and the citizens should not have their taxes increased to fund these things.”

Heilmann went on to read a proclamation and award a plaque to Oak Lawn resident Nicole Selvaggio. She was acknowledged at a previous board meeting for her impressive accomplishments as a Division One tennis champion and an ÒA” student at Moraine Valley Community College.

In the new business segment, Cynthia Trautsch (1st) invited all residents to visit the new Chamber of Commerce office located at the Metra train station. She also noted the Veterans Day celebration at the Metra station was a very positive experience.

Tempers flared during Alex Olejniczak (2nd) report when he insisted on continuing the debate and defending his decision for the addition of Òalley 13″ to the resurfacing schedule for 2012. The alley in question is between 53rd Court and 54th Avenue and 93rd Street to 94th Street.

Olejniczak was asked to stop and called out of order on four occasions, prompting Trustee Carol Quinlan (5th) to ask that Olejniczak be removed from the room. Olejniczak continued to talk during this phase of the meeting and would not leave the room.

Fagan also interrupted several times and was asked to stop by Heilmann. Interruption continued with Trustee Thomas Phelan (6th) defending Olejniczak and being called out of order by Heilmann.

Olejniczak also requested more volunteers to join the senior citizen shoveling program, which begins Saturday, Dec. 1 and runs to the end of February, 2013. Volunteers may contact Officer James Pacetti and (708) 499-7880.

Trustee Robert Streit (3rd) continued the Òalley 13″ debate saying he was in charge of the project and not contacted about adding another alley, saying the Board needed to approve the project.

Streit went on to report on the Special Events Committee plan for Santa on the Green, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24. A parade will begin at 1 p.m. from the Police Department and conclude at the Gazebo. There will be food vendors, rides and games for the young children as well as a time to speak with Santa in the Gazebo.

Streit reminded residents that the last day for leaf pickup will be Wednesday, Dec. 14. Yard waste may be placed in brown yard waste totes or 33 gallon trash cans marked with ÒYard Waste” stickers that are available at the Village Hall. Also available at the Village Hall are large leaf bags selling for $5 for a package of three. Plastic bags are not acceptable.

Heilmann reminded everyone that the December Safety Meetings will be Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Kolmar School, 10425 S. Kolmar Ave., and Thursday, Dec. 6 at Covington School, 9130 S. 52nd Ave.

Quinlan apologized to residents living near the Kmart demolition site for the early morning work schedule. Complaints were received about work crews starting at 5:30 a.m. They have been ordered to not begin work before 7 a.m. Any further complaints may be directed to Carol Quinlan at [email protected]

Comer Children’s Hospital is working with the Senior Center to collect stuffed animals for hospitalized children. Quinlan said the stuffed animals must have tags on them and may be dropped off at the Senior Center, 5330 W. 95th St., between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The last drop off day will be Friday, Dec. 7.

Phelan again took up the argument about Òalley 13,” defending Olejniczak’s decision to pave the alley in 2012. Phelan was called out of order three times by Heilmann for bringing up specific trustees’ names in the debate.

In the Village Manager’s report, Larry Deetjen discussed the 2013 funding for HUD Development Block Grant program. Housing rehabilitation, shared housing sponsored by PLOWS, PADS shelters, capital improvements Ñ including infrastructure improvements Ñ bus services for seniors and the handicapped are all part of the $225,000 grant program.

Deetjen’s update of the demolition activities at 111th and Cicero noted the reusing and recycling of various fixtures in the Kmart building, which will be used in other projects in the village.

Among items on the consent agenda was the approval of a recommendation by the Historic Preservation Commission for the honorary street name ÒPhilbin Way” on Cook Avenue from 97th Street to 98th Street.

Also approved was an ordinance regarding the purchase of Interstate Muffler at 4800 W. 111th St., near the site of the Kmart demolition project.

Quinlan requested a representative from Progressive Energy speak again to clarify for the Board details of the electrical aggregation plan for Oak Lawn.

The plan calls for letters to be mailed to residents in the near future on village letterhead. Residents not wishing to participate in the plan will be contacted by Progressive Energy to ensure that they understand that the plan is village wide and is expected to save each homeowner approximately $250 a year.

Discussion then turned to a resolution authorizing an agreement between the Village of Oak Lawn and Public Financial Management for services pertaining to the Oak Lawn Regional Water System. The firm is expected to set rates for all the towns supplied with water through Oak Lawn.

A motion was made to postpone the vote, but debate continued. Finance Manager Brian Hanigan said it is the responsibility of Public Financial Management to set rates and Ògive credibility to all the information and send a budget to all these communities, and that’s why we need them.”

When asked by Olejniczak if he recommends going ahead with this plan, Hanigan answered Òyes.” Deetjen was asked the same question and also answered Òyes.”

Quinlan thinks the rate Public Financial is charging is possibly out of line. Phelan stated the motion had already been previously approved.

Thomas Duhig (4th) recapped the history and progress to date at Advocate Christ Medical Center. Duhig’s concern continues to be getting some financial reimbursement from the hospital. He noted that Park Ridge receives as much as $50,000 a month from Lutheran General Hospital, also an Advocate hospital.

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