Forest Park Fire Station Credit: Igor Studenkov/Staff Reporter

Forest Park’s Village Council voted unanimously to award the fire station roof repair contract to CSR Roofing Contractors, of Oak Park, 6720 Roosevelt Rd.

The roof of the fire station, which is located next to the village hall, at 7637 Wilcox St., is long past its useful life. During the July 11 village council meeting, commissioner Maria Maxham described dismal conditions of the building, mentioning a leaking roof and an improvised patch work of insulation. 

Village Administrator Moses Amidei previously recommended spending $125,000 in American Rescue Plan Act federal stimulus money. CSR’s bid came in at $110,749, leaving $14,251 to be spent elsewhere. 

Maxham said she felt that the project “should have been done a long time ago.” About 5 to 6 months earlier, she learned there was a leak in the roof and asked Fire Chief Phil Chiappetta to give her a tour. She said she was “pretty alarmed” by what she saw.

“Water spots on the ceiling, bins out there collecting water, yard signs stuck for, I don’t know, insulation or whatever,” Maxham said. “I feel really bad that this is above the living quarters of firefighters, and wish this was done sooner, and I’m really glad that we’re doing it now.”

According to the memo included in the village council packet, the roof repairs are expected to be completed by late this fall.

After the roof is repaired, the village is planning to spend another $45,000 in stimulus funds to replace the HVAC units on the roof.  Then, during Fiscal Year 2023-2024, which will begin July 1, 2023, the village is planning to spend $50,000 in ARPA funds to improve insulation and $90,000 in ARPA funds to replace the fire house windows. 

Amidei recommended using the ARPA funds to pay for those projects because he expected it would take a few more years for the state funding for these kinds of projects to materialize. He previously said he hoped bids would come in lower than the amounts listed in the plan, which would free up funds for other priorities, such as business incentive grants and marketing assistance to the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce. 

The village council approved the roof bid unanimously and without discussion. 

Forest Park raises late garbage collection service fines

The village council voted unanimously on Aug. 22 to raise the late penalty the village imposes on those who don’t pay garbage collection fees from 1.5% a month to a flat 10% penalty.

The village council approved a similar change for the water and sewer late fees on July 12, 2021. At the time, Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz argued that the penalty structure in place at the time encouraged residents to hold off paying their bills until the last minute, wasting staff time and resources. She hoped the larger fee would encourage more residents to pay up front. 

According to the memo to the council, the village historically kept penalties for water and garbage collection services the same, since they are all on the same bill. It stated that the fact that the penalties for garbage collection weren’t adjusted when the water penalties were adjusted was “an oversight” that should be corrected.

The actual service fees for garbage removal weren’t affected, and the residents still have 21 days after receiving the bill to pay them.