The Forest Park Village Council on Nov. 14 unanimously approved the changes that should speed up and simplify the process of applying for home flood-proofing grants.

The grant program, which was launched in September 2010, reimburses owners of single-family homes and two-flats for part of the costs directly related to reducing flooding. 

Under the changes approved during the council’s Nov. 14 meeting, applicants will no longer need to wait for village approval to complete their improvements and requires the applicants to submit all documents. 

Village Administrator Moses Amidei said in a memo to the council that applicants sometimes have to wait months before their applications are processed, and he hoped that the changes would reduce the backlog.

The grant program is available on first come, first served basis, The village reimburses the residents for $1,500 or 50 percent of the costs, whichever is smaller. For low-income households, the limit is raised to $2,500. Applicants who didn’t get processed this year will get first spots in line next year. 

Commissioner Ryan Nero said the village allocated $45,000 a year for the grants. 

According to Amidei, the document requirement was put in place to save village staff time trying to get all the paperwork. The program previously required applicants to submit their plans to the village before starting work. Doing away with that requirement means flooding issues can be addressed faster. The applicants must install exactly what they listed in the application in order to get reimbursed.

In another, smaller change, applicants were previously required to submit three quotes, but the village council now made it a simple recommendation. 

Nero said that, while the program got “a lot of applications,” the village was able to approve all but five of them 

“This is a great program in the village of Forest Park,” he said. “Let’s keep it moving.”