Small hikes mark Oak Park's 2011 budget

Final version includes hiking parking, water and garbage fees

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

After months of debate and tweaking, Oak Park village government's 2011 budget was approved Monday by trustees. Some fees are going up next year, but not so much that they'll break the bank.

The final budget for Oak Park Village Hall, unanimously approved by trustees on Monday, calls for $113.2 million in expenses, and about the same in revenues.

Oak Park is hiking what village residents pay for water by about 2.5 percent, or an added 16 cents per 1,000 gallons of water. The rate increase will raise an extra $290,000 for the village next year, as the village "passes through" water rate increases from the city of Chicago.

The village is also increasing by 2 percent what residents pay to have their garbage hauled. That will amount to roughly an extra $1 on each quarterly bill, and an extra $58,000 in village coffers.

Trustees agreed to hike the village's property tax levy by 2.5 percent, or $860,000, to fund increased contributions to the village's police and fire pension funds. The board also last week approved modest increases to parking rates. Quarterly parking permits will increase by an average of $9, and those who want to park in public garages for four to 10 hours will see that expense increase from $8 to $10. The maximum daily fee will jump from $10 to $15.

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OP Resident  

Posted: December 13th, 2010 12:08 PM

Will Ray Johnson please offer a response to the question about why there is still free parking at Village Hall? Can he explain how everyone is forced to purchase a parking pass but the folks who set the rates and fees are exempt? This doesn't seem fair to me. Our tax dollars provide all of the funds for maintenance and snow plowing at Village Hall. I heard the trustees and village manager justify increases while at the same time providing themselves with this nice freebie. What's the story, Ray

OP Resident  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 8:53 AM

Ray Johnson knows the facts but chooses to ignore them. There is no fee charged for employee parking at Village Hall. Tom Barwin does not have to purchase a monthly pass. No one does! The Village is raising rates for high school students to park on the streets near OP-RF and Fenwick. If you work in one of the business ditricts; you now have to pay more. The fact is the people who demand that the rest of us must purchase a parking pass; don't pay a cent. Isn't that the truth, Mr. Johnson?

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: November 29th, 2010 12:16 PM

To "OP Resident",I can assure you that there is no policy which allows for free parking for personal use by Village personnel or elected officials.I always pay for my parking and try to park in the medium and low demand areas, as the exercise is good for me and why take up a space in a high-demand area from someone else?The parking fees and regulations apply to all and yes, if we get a ticket (like I did just last week), we pay it.

OP Resident  

Posted: November 25th, 2010 1:24 AM

Once again, the people who decided that it's okay to raise parking fees don't have to pay for parking themselves. Village Manager Barwin makes sure that he still gets his freebees but orders the rest of us to "fork it over!". Will Barwin or Ray Johnson explain this or even attempt to justify the unfairness that forces others to shoulder the burden of rising costs while allowing everyone who draws a paycheck from the taxpayers to park for free? Don't hold your breath. They don't answer to anyone.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 12:23 PM

Senator Harmon said times are tough in the Illinois economy but not to worry. No one in the village or board shouted out HEY, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE POLICE %u2013 FIRE PENSIONS? Now with the elections over and the pension tax levied, we hear that we need inter-governmental cooperation on pension reform. Sertus Project is flopping. No Money. The Madison Public Housing Proposal being pushed %u2013 They have no money either. And the answer is inter-government cooperation?

Tim Unsell  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 11:51 AM

Oh I understand all of that Mr. Johnson. I was being a little snide, which doesn't come across over the internets as it should.I believe that any story directly related to money coming out of my pocket should be above Fenwick basketball or a robbery at Subway.I see that the story is above the new $100,000 consultant hiring though.Regards

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 10:37 AM

Mr. Unsell,The WJ has done extensive reporting on the budget process since it began in August. A major component of that process has been the hike in property taxes to cover state mandated pensions for public safety employees. The board is advocating for an inter-governmental approach so we can work with our elected officials in Springfield and begin the process of pension reform. The current path is untenable and not sustainable.

Tim Unsell  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 8:46 AM

Why does this story seem like it's been buried?Another 2.5% increase in property taxes? Is that correct?I'm sure this has been talked about before somewhere but I must have missed it.

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