You know it’s a quiet village council meeting when the most heated debate of the night is over the sale of a 1997 Chrysler Concord for $1,250.
Such was the case Monday night at village hall, as the village commissioners, minus the absent Tim Gillian, ran through the agenda without a single dissenting vote being cast.
On the agenda for discussion only was a proposed hike in parking meter fees in village-owned parking lots. If approved by the council at their next meeting, 25 cents will buy 1.5 hours of parking, compared to the current 4 hours.
Commissioner Mark Hosty said that the new rates would still be a bargain, commenting that “I don’t know of any municipalities outside of Wisconsin where they still take pennies in their meters.”
The changes would not affect street parking, and would be limited to lots at Marengo from Circle to Franklin, Elgin from Harlem to Franklin, Lehmer from Elgin to Lathrop, Van Buren near the CTA Blue Line, and village parking lot 12-hour meters.
If all 160 meters at these locations were fully utilized, village revenues from the meters would rise from $36,000 per year to $96,000 per year, according to a memo from Sturino.
As for the aforementioned Chrysler, the car was given to the Forest Park Police Department after being seized in a drug arrest in 2002, and was auctioned off on July 5. While the council voted unanimously to ratify the sale, Commissioner Doolin objected to the issue not being brought before the council before the sale.
“I think it’s odd that public property is being sold without anyone knowing about it,” he said.
Mayor Calderone admitted that bringing the issue to council prior to the sale would have been “preferred,” but said that timing issues had prevented this from happening.
He emphasized that no laws or written procedures had been violated by the sale.
Ambulance fees going up
The council unanimously passed a series of three ordinances that will affect the villages ambulances and rescue services. First, the council approved the purchase of a 2005 Chevrolet C-4500 Ambulance for $130,000 from Foster Coach Sales, Inc.
In response to rising Medicare reimbursement levels, the council voted to raise ambulance fees for residents from $235 to $316.29. Non-resident rates will remain at $375. Though the village previously charged a flat rate regardless of services provided on its ambulances, the fee will now be $375.60 for residents and $650 for non-residents for Advanced Life Support, and $543.63 for residents and $1,000 for non-residents for Level 2 Advanced Life Support.
According to a memo sent to the council by Village Administrator Michael Sturino, the new fees are consistent with fees charged by other Chicagoland municipalities, and will help cover the cost of paramedic services.
The council also agreed to renew a contract with Paramedic Services of Illinois, which provides six licensed paramedics who carry out emergency services within the village. The renewal would last from Aug. 1, 2005 through July 31, 2006, and would give PSI a 4-percent raise over last year, bringing the monthly service cost to $32,673. Fire Chief Glinke told the council that PSI had done a “fine job” for the department in the past.
In other council business:
• A variance request by James Shaw, who would like to combine two 24-foot lots at 1236 Circle Ave. to create a new 48-foot lot”which does not comply with the minimum 50-foot width requirement for new lots”was not voted on after commissioners failed to second the motion.
The Zoning Board of Appeals had recommended approving the variance at their July 18 meeting, stating that though the lot would fall two feet short of the minimum lot width requirement, it would still be larger than any platted lot on the block.
• The council ordained that offenses of retail theft and possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia would from now on be tried locally. Council members were able to agree without any discussion that allowing these offenses to be processed through Village of Forest Park adjudication instead of through the Circuit Court of Cook County could provide more appropriate penalties and encourage better enforcement.
• A contract for the village’s 2005 sidewalk removal and replacement program was granted to M&A Cement Works, which was the lowest of five bidders for the project at $24,195.
• The commissioners approved a $28,234 grant from the Department of Homeland Security through the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System Agency, which will allow the Forest Park Police Department to upgrade its computer systems so that it can connect to other law enforcement data networks online.