Application for Oak Park flood grants begins April 2

Residents will be eligible for up to $3,500 for basement upgrades

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Oak Park residents whose basements filled up with sewage last summer can start applying for village relief on April 2.

Village trustees gave their final approval to the new grant program on Monday, in a narrow 4-3 vote. With that, residents can receive up to $3,500 from village hall to install pricey flood-prevention devices in their basements.

Trustee Glenn Brewer and President David Pope were absent earlier this month when the new program was first discussed. The two officials attempted to kill the grant offering, preferring instead to offer loans for the upgrades. They, along with Trustee John Hedges, argued that all taxpayers shouldn't pay for repairs in just a few homes.

"The idea of a loan program was to say to the other taxpayers, who were not affected by this issue, that we are not giving your tax dollars away," Brewer said.

But the majority of trustees disagreed. Oak Park sewers are only built to withstand a five- to 10-year storm, while the area has seen the most rain since 1987 recently, including a 100-year storm in 2010, along with last summer's 50-year downpour. It would be extraordinarily costly to build sewers to absorb such rare rain events, officials say, and perhaps impossible because of the sheer space such a system would require.

"This is one way to attack that problem on a home-by-home basis," said Trustee Adam Salzman. "We're asking, in essence, for individual homeowners to bear the cost of an infrastructural improvement that the village is not willing to make. So it seems to me only fair, and sort of a matter of equity, that we should reimburse homeowners for as much of that cost as we can."

Village officials said last week that some 400 homeowners reported flood damage in their basements over the last few years. They are concentrated in northeast Oak Park, where the ground level is lower, but complaints came in from all over the village.

The village budgeted $225,000 for the program this year, enough to serve about 64 homes. Oak Park is giving first priority to lower-income houses, with a threshold set at a maximum income of $113,000. Those applicants will be able to apply for the first two months, followed by everyone else starting June 1.

The village is not waving permit fees for making the upgrades, as some residents had urged. That's because the program is retroactive, and would reimburse residents who have already installed flood-prevention devices going all the way back to 2010. Oak Park didn't want to deal with the logistical problem of going back to those who already paid their permit fees years ago.

Reader Comments

89 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 11:33 PM

I guess you can dish it, but just cant handle it when it comes back to bite you in the arse? Those who live in glass houses should never pick up a rock. Decades of neglect. Still trying to figure that out. Gross mismanagement and wasteful spending practices. It sounds to me like your describing unions!!

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 8:48 PM

The gadfly's on the attack and posting as Trump. Ouch! She must really admire the bully who tried to seize Vera Coking home so he could build a parking lot for limos. Or she might be sweet on a businessman who has a long list of failures including casino bankruptcies, an airline, a brand of vodka and countless other blunders. Who knows? Maybe the gadfly is also a birther like her favorite hairhead? Whatever. She's now targeting me for her usual dose of abuse and baloney. Same old. Same old.

Donald Trump  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 7:45 PM

Jim Coughlin-----------Your Fired!

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 7:44 PM

John Murtagh is calling Jim Coughlin a liar then? Reference Jim's post about decades of neglect. If true, wouldnt the DPW have a role to play in that???? Still waiting for the actual number in Millions of Dollars of how much was spent on infrastructure in Oak Park in the last 10 years. Come on enuf, I know you can find it...

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 4:18 PM

Thanks, Enuf - I have nothing but good things to say about the OPDPW. They are smart, clever, and customer focused. If the entire village operated like the DPW, I'd have to retire from posting!

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 2:46 PM

Got it, John! I recall during the board's discussion on the S. Marion St. redo there was some debate on whether to proceed with all of the added ups and extras. Trustee Luecke argued in favor and cited her desire to be able to sit on a lovely bench in a nice and shady spot. Other talked about how the special sidewalks and curbing would prove to be cost effective in the long run. Interesting views but seemed limited to how to beautify a small section of the community without focusing on the rest.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 2:44 PM

The Public Works Dept. has done an excellent job providing technical resources on this complex policy issue. Many of your questions may be answered by the 'Combined Sewer System Review and Short-Term Improvement Projects Study' (dated October 13, 2011), prepared for the Village of Oak Park by MWH. It is available on the Village of Oak Park website, via Departments > Public Works > Flooding Info > Sewer Study, at http://www.oak-park.us/Publicworks/floodprevention.html.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 2:35 PM

Jim, I think you missed my point. The board chose to spend for Red Bricks (rather than asphalt) rather than using the limited funds to scope sewers. That is the type of spending decision that is destroying the trust residents used to have in their elected officials.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 2:22 PM

John, I'll admit that the red bricks do offer an attractive appearance but cannot support the trustees intent to move ahead with such extravagant expenditures while there are so many infrastructure needs that have to be addressed. Enuf is Enuf noted that the cost for this DTOP plan is several times greater than the total amount budgeted for community wide repairs to our sewers,streets,sidewalks, alleys and curbing. To date, that's been hard to justify and equally difficult to explain.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 2:19 PM

Jim, yes the Village Engineer is better informed as to where the bottlenecks are, support their decision W/ a check and balance from a consultant. Replacing a sewer line that is not collapsed and functional is wasteful. Dont replace the sewer lines in N/E OP until the bottlenecks(I like junction boxes) have been expanded to take on more overflow.

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 2:18 PM

10 year infrastructure spending from enuf's info: AT LEAST $37 Million. I know its even higher than that. Stop the baloney.

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 2:00 PM

Its easy to identify a political hack from a mile away.

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:58 PM

Jim your words from a post Fri March 23rd at 4:29pm ".....the fact that Oak Park is on the verge of serious trouble due to it's ageing and deteriorating sewer systems. Decades of neglect, the lack of a comprehensive plan,gross mismanagement and wasteful spending practices have contributed to conditions that many property owners throughout the Village may be dealing with......" It sounds like YOU KNOW. Whats to interpret? Where do you get your info to draw your conclusion(s)? The PW director?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:53 PM

Jim C - I recall that last year there was an issue re Red Bricks on the east side of town for a street. The issue raised at a board meeting that the money would be better used to scope sewers for blockages. The board chose the Red Brick. Don't have time right now to research the background. I suspect there is someone out their with a better memory of the details.

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:51 PM

Jim you dont need to interpret anything. You know all, right? You certainly speak as if you do.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:47 PM

Thanks,Brian. We know that many miles of the sewer and water systems are ageing and will need to be replaced eventually. The real question relates to sections the Village Enginner considers to be a priority and what are the best and most cost-effective methods for tackling the problem. I don't live in NE Oak Park but can understand why so many of the folks who experienced the flooding are frustrated and angry. They too may not be able to "interpret" the message coming out of the Council Chambers

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:37 PM

Jim, part of the problem is that we must "interpret" what a trustee says.The aged sewers in N/E OP work fine for now."Infrastructal improvement" might be better spent at those bottlenecks.I havent seen any flooding in DTOP.

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:23 PM

Does it not rain every year in Oak Park? Do the sewers do their job for 99.9% of the time? So lets take 2 rainfalls in the last 60 plus years and skew the info. Spend Millions on something that already works and might not be able to fix the ultimate problem that has only occurred twice in the last numerous years. More good logic from Jim, Coughlin. Keep em coming Jim.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:22 PM

Brian, do you interpret Trustee Salzman's comment to be that the Village recognizes that infrastructal improvement is needed in the neighborhood where the flooding was reported but that the Village cannot afford to pay the replacement costs? Your suggestions for testing the systems make a lot of sense. I wonder if the Village has considered a complete inspection using video technology? Do we really know the conditions of the lines in NE Oak Park or in DTOP?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:22 PM

Enuf is Enuf: Since the water travels s/e to Austin & Roos, and there is no flooding down there how does the village locate bottlenecks?Does VOP dye the water,cameras or just work the map.Fire Dept. flooding water w/dye might help?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:11 PM

Enuf is Enuf:Terrific insight.The "aged" sewer system in general might be in working order, it is these bottlenecks that back up, and attention should be placed to the bottleneck and the system after the bottleneck.Street sweeping is very important to keep the storm sewers from backing up.Also, when the fire department does hydrant testing, the flow should be directed by hose to the sanitary sewer,not storm sewer,to detect obstructions,monitor flow,and push the system clean.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:10 PM

The additional expenditures that the board is considering for DTOP don't appear to be much more than frills and folly. It will be interesting to hear how those who are pushing for the brick pavers, decorative benches, new planters,etc.,. will sell their plan as an actual benefit to the community. There's really important infrastructure work needed in our neighborhoods and other business districts. Fix the water and sewer systems in DTOP if it is really necessary at this time but delay the extras

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:09 PM

Jim Coughlin is now trying to redirect the info from how much total to how much in each particular place? Another typical political stance. You said to show you that the Village spent millions on infrastructure. Now the answer doesnt suit your political agenda. You are a phony sir.

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:03 PM

Show me either video or online print media where Pope says "According to Pope, there are two Oak Parks,..." Another falsehood proven against enuf. You cant find it.

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:01 PM

Still waiting for my question to be answered as to how much Oak Park has spent on infrastructure in the last 10 years? Funny how enuf has all the data for everything BUT this. Typical.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:00 PM

Thanks,Enuf. Once again, you've served this forum with valuable info and insight into the decision making process. As I understand it, the board wants to protect investments in the Downtown business district. Ray Johnson is correct that a collapse of the water and sewer systems could have a devastating effect on the structures and our local economy. Whether the threat is imminent is not clear but their position seems to be based upon reports indicating that replacement of the systems is overdue.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 11:39 AM

@JCoughlin: the below cited Sewer Study provides a well-detailed account of recommendations and costs re. flooding issues related to the combined stormwater/sewer system. You will notice there is no mention of any need to replace an "aging" stormwater/sewer system on Marion St. or Lake St., as claimed by Pope & Johnson. While flooding will continue to impact property values in NE and NW Oak Park homes, Pope & Johnson would rather allocate $17M in funds on downtown streetscaping.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 11:27 AM

A 630' glacier ridge contour line runs along the west side of Ridgeland Ave. and travels southwest through Taylor Park (peaking at 633') and continuing thru Scoville Park and DTOP. This means surface runoff is flowing southeast thru northeast OP. More importantly, there are bottlenecks in the upstream, local, and downstream sewer trunk line, limiting the system to 5 year level of service. Refer to the Sewer Study (MWH, Oct. 13, 2011) on the village website, via Public Works.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 9:53 AM

Enuf-great information. Is the rest of the area around N/E OP high or low. N/E OP is high, water flows down. Therefore the ageing sewers worked. There must have been an obstruction in the collection junctions of the sewer lines somewhere s/of the problem. The obstruction needs to be fixed.If possible, storm sewers need more or larger access to Deep Tunnel.Power rodding sanitary sewers during rain storms might help.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 8:32 AM

Let's compare how much has been spent just in Downtown Oak Park to the amount allocated to fix streets,sewers,sidewalks, curbs and alleys in our neighborhoods and other business districts.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 2:19 AM

@Enough Already ... do your own research for your own posted questions. As far as Pope, he certainly can speak for himself, which is why I directly quoted him re. basement sewerage from the village board meeting on March 19 (see video of meeting at VOP TV Online, time 02:08:20). Pope's explanation of his DC trip and TIGER grant application were from the March board meeting (VOP TV Online, time 02:16:12). How can you dispute video documentation of Pope's words as bogus claims?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 1:56 AM

@BSlowiak: USGS topo maps are at http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/. NE OP has an elevation range of 620'-625'. The 625' contour is along Ridgeland Ave., and the 620' contour is along Austin Blvd. and Division St. From here, OP gently slopes toward its southeast corner (Austin & Roosevelt) to a 610' elevation. A topo map superimposed w/ sewer system may be found on p. 175 of A.E. LeGacy's dissertation (1967) "Improvers and preservers: A history of Oak Park, Illinoi

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 12:56 AM

Enuf, Stop speaking and making up bogus claims on behalf of Pope. He can speak for himself. Why do you inject his name? Clearly you are trying to promote something that is clearly not true at his expense. Saying "According to Pope, there are two Oak Parks,..." is erroneous at best. You are deceitful and people can see right through your untruths. I think the moderators ought to look at your inaccurate conclusions and your statements and delete your non opinions.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 12:50 AM

Jim Coughlin: I worked sewers for 3 yrs w/Drainmaster. Sanitary and storm sewers are static systems(no moving parts) that work by pitch.If a sewer is open,ie. not collapsed/closed the sewer works regardless of age.If the water in your basement flowed out, the sewer works.The solution would be a retention pond and pumps, or replacing the "ageing" sewers w/bigger lines maybe 4/6 feet, or placing sewer lines in parkway so you dont have to dig up street.Love to see a topographical/sewer map of OP.

Enough already  

Posted: March 26th, 2012 12:26 AM

Having a tough time answering my question eh? You seem to have no problem making up what Pope is saying or not saying. Pure political BS. AGAIN.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 25th, 2012 11:57 PM

correction ... as they are NOT considered a living space. Pope stated; " ... but not to have the village in essence writing people checks to be able to make improvements that have foundationally at their core the idea that basement space ought to be living space and that the sewer system of the Village of Oak Park ought to be able to accommodate the necessary demand that basement space be living space, and as far as I know, that's never has been the expectation ..."

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 25th, 2012 11:52 PM

According to Pope, there are two Oak Parks, DTOP and the rest of us. For DTOP, Pope is willing to fly to DC to lobby for a $26M TIGER grant for streetscaping, which obligates $17M from the rest of us in matching local funds. For the rest of us, Pope states he is against a grant to assist those who experienced recent flooding, as the village sewer system is not responsible for preventing excess stormwater/sewerage into their basements, as they are considered a living space.

Enough already  

Posted: March 25th, 2012 11:35 PM

How much has been spent on infrastructure in the last 10 years in Oak Park?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 25th, 2012 11:06 PM

Enuf - Wow! OP gets weirder and weirder every day. Your latest post sound like there is malfeasance about!

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 25th, 2012 5:19 PM

Also, the village receives $780K from CDBG grants (2012) for street/alley/sidewalk & water/sewer improvements. This $780K is 45% of total awarded CDBG grant, which is intended for community projects that principally benefit low- and moderate-income persons. Pope would rather allocate limited public infrastructure funds for DTOP bricks, then allocate limited CDBG funds for public infrastructure, then use residential basements for excess raw sewerage during flooding events.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 25th, 2012 5:07 PM

The 2012 village budget for capital improvements re. street/alley & water/sewer improvements is $3.7M. The village goal is to replace 1.1 mi. (10 blocks) of water/sewer per year. Given the fact there are 103 mi. of water/sewer pipes (1006 blocks) in the village, this cycle takes 94 years, or an annual frequency rate of 1.1%. Pope wants $17M of local funds, or 4.5 times the annual capital improvement budget, for streetscaping 8 blocks of Lake St. that were replaced in 1990.

Enough already  

Posted: March 25th, 2012 9:52 AM

Am I wrong? Does the Village spend millions on infrastructure every year? Ask any Trustee or Jim Buderick. Any one who follows VOP knows the true answer. Its a shame that Jim Coughlin comes on here to spew his lies and promote his political agenda.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 10:36 PM

Enough Already - I can understand your protecting the village's views. I can understand your disagreeing with me and other posters. What I can't understand what your connection with Silly. Are you she/he? Are you allies? Are you a member of the Plan Commission?

Enough already  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 9:38 PM

Every year for as long as I can remember, there are budget line items for streets to be repaved and in some cases sewers to be replaced. Just go look at the budget. Show me the evidence to the contrary. Do you have any clue as to how much the Village has spent on infrastructure projects in the last 5yrs?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 5:10 PM

Repeat all you want. Your nonsense still makes no sense. Where's the evidence to support a wild and baseless claim that Oak Park spends millions to repair the sewers, streets,alleys,curbing and sidewalks in our neighborhoods and business districts? Tell us exactly when, where and how much? I've got no agenda nor anything to promote. You on the other hand post comments using a myriad of screen dubs in an attempt to create some sort of consensus of opinion. The truth is the gadfly stands alone.

Enough already  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 4:24 PM

I'll repeat: Oak Park spends millions on infrastructure every year. STOP your nonsense Jim Coughlin. You are just trying to promote your garbage agenda again.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 2:34 PM

This is goin' nowhere fast. Tens of millions of our tax dollars have been misspent on no bid contracts, consultant fees and outside legal counsel. That's money that could and should have been used to address infrastructure issues in Oak Park neighborhoods and business districts. It's a fact that if the board approves a plan to spend $17million for brick paving and other frills in DTOP;there won't any money for the street,sewer,sidewalk,curbingand alley repairs that most would agree are needed.

Enough already  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 1:44 PM

Oak Parks spends millions every year on infrastructure and has for many many years. Get a clue.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 1:28 PM

Okay, Gadfly. I'll throw it right back at you! Use your supposedly reliable sources at Village Hall and prove that the Village sewer system are actually not ageing or in need of repair/replacement. Point to an ongoing plan to address these conditions and that tax dolars have not been diverted or misspent. Explain in detail how there are no infrastructure issues in our neighborhoods and other business districts. Drop the silly attacks and offer facts in rebuttal.

Job Description from Oak Park  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 1:20 PM

Don't run for Village Board if you don't want to deal with these kinds of issues. Period. So, Pope and Johnson, start doing your actual job anytime. Whoever decided that Board Members were some kind of DTOP revival and pretty-up task force? Certainly not taxpayers.

There are liars, and there are LIARS from OP  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 1:16 PM

@Enough Already: The difference is that if Jim Coughlin lies, it can be ignored and probably wasn't intentional. If Village Hall lies, it's likely because they are hiding something and thus it's absolutely intentional. Village Hall is randomly and haphazardly spending our tax dollars on brick pavers and unecessary beautification for goodness sake! The fact that they don't even know (or care about) the condition of the infrastructure is shocking. It should be their ONLY priority!!

Enough already  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 1:11 PM

I'm sure people at Village Hall would disagree with you, as they do on most of the things you post.

Enough already  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 1:09 PM

Lies, Lies, Lies: "Decades of neglect, the lack of a comprehensive plan,gross mismanagement and wasteful spending practices have contributed to conditions that many property owners throughout the Village may be dealing with in the very near future." Jim Coughlin's words

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 12:23 PM

No lie! Be honest! And why call me out? Just like Trustee Johnson, I never said collapsing pipes caused the flooding in NE Oak Park. My posts have focused on the accepted fact that Oak Park has ageing sewer systems and it is an issue that needs to be addressed. I take it that you would rather the Village spend an additional $17million in DTOP than use those funds to correct infrastructure conditions in our neighborhoods and other business districts. Sounds like something the gadfly would say.

Enough already  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 11:16 AM

I called Jim Coughlin a liar not Ray Johnson. Trustee Johnson never said that old collapsing pipes caused the backups in NE Oak Park. They are 2 totally separate issues all together. If the pipes are old and broken the water will not back up into your home. It will go into the ground and cause a big hole in the street or yard but not into your home which is connected with pipes. Nice try John.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 9:17 AM

As correctly explained by PW Director John Wielebnicki on March 19, the existing stormwater system is functioning according to its design capacity, which was determined by the frequency of 5-10 year storm events. When flooding occurs at an increased frequency, the question then becomes what are the possible external cause(s): storm event anomaly, increased upstream flow, increased downstream flow causing backup? Without determining the cause, any proposed solution is suspect.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 24th, 2012 8:54 AM

Actually, anyone who refers to the condition of any infrastructure component, such as water, combined stormwater/sewer, streets/alleys, and public parking garages, without referring to the annual or 5-year Capital Improvement Plan, or a Condition Assessment Report, is suspect. This esp. applies to board members Pope, Johnson, and Lueck, who as elected officials, are held accountable for providing accurate information to the public.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 11:03 PM

Enough already - If you calling Jim Coughlin a liar, then I guess you are calling Ray Johnson a liar. Frankly, I don't know what to believe re our infrastructure. As best I can tell is that the Marian South sewers were the worst and the village took the opportunity to red brick it. The 2nd worst is Lake Avenue in the DTOP district. Ray warned that it could collapse at any time. If the fed comes through, all we need is 17m to avoid the Johnson catastrophe. Tied for 3rd is every other street in Oak Park. In 4th place is the northeast which cannot stop its leak - bad pipe. Fortunately, most of us don't believe in global warming, so the northeast should not see a 50-100 year rain anytime soon. Just in case, perhaps the northeast needs the a emergency plan. I suggest 1860-70 Chicago solution - Raise the Houses. DPW -- Get out the jackscrews!

Enough already  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 9:32 PM

Jim Coughlin is lying. The reason for the back ups was due to an over flow of the system. It has nothing to do with neglect in upkeep. Whats the upkeep of a sewer? Ever heard of rain that happens every 100, 50 years? Doesnt happen to often. We just happen to get 2 huge rainfalls in back to back years. Even if we spent millions on the sewers this problem would still persist if the entire system in the area is redone. No going to happen. Dont waste money on things that wont fix it.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 4:29 PM

God has nothing to do with the fact that Oak Park is on the verge of serious trouble due to it's ageing and deteriorating sewer systems. Decades of neglect, the lack of a comprehensive plan,gross mismanagement and wasteful spending practices have contributed to conditions that many property owners throughout the Village may be dealing with in the very near future. The proposed plan to spend even more millions in DTOP means there will be no funds available to address and resolve real problems.

doc walsh from wooddale  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 3:54 PM

so glad i was able to move out of oak park many years ago

State of ILL Taxpayer  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 3:12 PM

When your house has a hole in the roof you fix it. When water backs up into your house, you fix it. Seems to me its the responsibility of the homeowner who didnt have the back flow valve or their sewers up. Next thing you will blame GOD for the rain.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 2:12 PM

I think the first post from Peter Ryan has merit. Liberals against the war wrote the federal officials asking that their tax money not be spent on the war. All symbolic, of course. Maybe a few notes to the board members asking that their tax money should not be spent on Popes Pretty Pavement Project. Fits in nicely with the Oak Park frame of mind.Do the home owners who paid for back water check valves to be installed get reimbursed by the Village? I dont think so.

Capt. Ahab  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 12:42 PM

@POPE OR JOHNSON I am out of my house, I am chasing a white whale of a grant for heating and cooling or brick streets, can you please run over and see if my basement is flooded?

Murphy  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 11:36 AM

State of ILL Taxpayer. I would like to bring a few buckets of raw sewage to you the next time my basement fills with this waste. Then I would like you to tell me that as a member and taxpayer of our community that I should have to live with this. The actions from the village are inexcusable. A class action suit may be the most appropriate means to an end.

Staff  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 10:07 AM

Let "staff" look into the problem and get back tot he board.

State of ILL Taxpayer  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 9:54 AM

Question those that voted in favor of a non fix with out thinking.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 9:46 AM

"If all the people who got water put in shut off valves and lift their sewers up, then where does the water go? Ans: In someone elses basement." EXACTLY. And what will our wonderful leaders do then? Realize that there is an infrastructure problem and, maybe, fix it? Hey, PoJo, I see brick streets in the future of NOP. The infrastructure needs to be fixed anyway, so why not put bricks on the street when finished? Gotta be a grant for that! Commission a report, I say!

State of ILL Taxpayer  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 9:27 AM

"ineffective village sewer system" I guess we should spend Millions on sewers that can handle a rain fall that happens every 100 years. Thats good ROI. On top of that, even if Oak Parks sewer's were "fixed" it doesnt account for the other insufficient surrounding area sewer systems that we dont control. If all the people who got water put in shut off valves and lift their sewers up, then where does the water go? Ans: In somneone elses basement. Its water. If there is no place for it to go....

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 2:19 AM

$225K is peanuts! The board approves no-bid contracts, hires consultants and makes deals for outside legal counsel in excess of that amount on a regular basis. All this hand wringing that somehow this program favors a small number of homeowners at the expense of all the taxpayers seems a bit contrived. It's an Oak Park problem that has to be fixed. Just like the DTOP sewers. Better to demonstrate a real commitment to the responsible expenditure of tax dollars and this act would play much better

Sarah from Oak Park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 1:40 AM

Here's your village president giving his advertisement for the village: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqhd4vL78s0 So, do you think the retail is a success for residents? Pope talks about bringing residents together. Is he? Pope gives the impression that he cares about residents, but his actions demonstrate the complete opposite. The guy is a business man, and he obviously has no problem spending other people money on his wants, as oppose to the needs of the residents.

Jack  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 1:23 AM

Question for Pope and Brewer; Don't the many residents in North East Oak Park pay taxes also? Aren't those taxes suppose to be for the NEEDS of the village and it's residents? Does Oak Park NEED brick pavers and granite side walks, or does it NEED fully functional drainage? Last question; How can you two live with yourselves when you spend, spend, spend on expensive beautification projects while TAX PAYING RESIDENTS have to suffer sewage and property loses due to non-functioning infrastructure?

OP resident  

Posted: March 23rd, 2012 1:12 AM

So Pope and Brewer are completely fine with spending tax payers money on expensive brick pavers and granite side walks, but when it comes to helping Oak Park residents that have had their homes flooded due to the ineffective village sewer system, they're happy to let home owners (who pay THEIR wages) sink. Pope and Brewer disgust me!

Another voter from Oak Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2012 10:20 PM

I can hear the conversation in Village Hall now. "Oh, they only have 6" of sh!t in their basements? Well, then let's brick downtown Oak Park, put a housing project on Madison and spend a couple hundred thousand on the AC in our quarters." I only hope voters will wake up and vote for a change to how the village is run.

Voter  

Posted: March 22nd, 2012 10:12 PM

You non-voting Oak Parkers got Pope, Hedges and Brewer elected. Let's see how and if the northeast end of Oak Park votes next April. Actually, it is a wakeup call for all of Oak Park. Residents come last, pet projects first.

Jeff from Oak Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2012 9:55 AM

@Transparency - Because in 2010 and 2011, over 400 homeowners had 6" of storm sewer back-up in their basements, and the village doesn't have the money to make substantive improvements to the system. This is a compromise solution in which the village gives a small subsidy (about 1/3 of the cost of a flood control device) to homeowners in an attempt to maintain property values--and thus the collective wealth of the village--and provide a service that local government owes to all its citizens.

Transparency  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 8:49 PM

Hasn't water been backing up into peoples basements for as long as we remember? Why the choice now to use Village dollars to remedy the situation?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 5:53 PM

Pope stated; " ... but not to have the village in essence writing people checks to be able to make improvements that have foundationally at their core the idea that basement space ought to be living space and that the sewer system of the Village of Oak Park ought to be able to accommodate the necessary demand that basement space be living space, and as far as I know, that's never has been the expectation ... " So much for public health impacts of raw sewage. Happy Earth Mont

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 5:15 PM

For Pope, the only good idea is his idea. For his DTOP streetscaping plan of bricks and bluestone, Pope travelled to DC to personally lobby for a TIGER grant, hired Lakota for $108,000 for fancy drawings to include in his TIGER grant application, which obligates $17M of local funds. For residents, Pope voted 'no' for a grant program that helps OP homeowners with stormwater/sewer backup in their basements, because in Pope's words, basements were not intended to be occupied.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 3:45 PM

Can I use this program to have brick pavers put in to replace the sidewalk in front of my house?

OP Taxpayer  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 3:39 PM

Is this a Village wide program or just a NE Oak Park program?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 3:21 PM

I was very impressed with the clarity and objectivity of Adam Salzman's remarks on a very complex issue. I sense that the issue is far from over.

Peter Ryan from Oak Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 1:23 PM

Ooops. That last word is supposed to read "first."

Peter Ryan from Oak Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 1:20 PM

@OP Taxpayer. The whole village can apply, the program just seeks to help "lower income" families firts.

OP Taxpayer  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 11:01 AM

If the "problem" rests in the hands of the Village, then why not offer this program to ALL in the Village? I'm sure there are residents in ALL parts of Oak Park that have experienced sewer back up in their homes? Where is the equity there?

I'm Going to Puke from OP  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 10:42 AM

I think my favorite line is "They...argued that all taxpayers shouldn't pay for repairs in just a few homes." Where is this concern when you're improving DTOP with heated sidewalks and brick pavers while you let the rest of the neighborhoods' infrastructure crumble? Even worse, you're advocating housing projects that will wreck neighborhoods!! Egads!! Of all the two-faced, false concern! The Village Board makes me want to puke! Except for Salzman...

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 9:29 AM

Go Salzman! Well said.

Jeff from Oak Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 8:35 AM

Kudos to the trustees who opposed the stubborn, willful ignorance of Brewer, Pope, and Hedges. Is it "giving my tax dollars away" when OPers along the Austin corridor consume more police services than I do? When OPers without kids pay for Oak Park public schools? When Roosevelt gets re-paved, even though I don't drive on it? It's the village's responsibility to keep storm sewage back-up out of its residents' homes. Brewer should go live in the wilderness if he doesn't like sharing tax dollars.

Peter Ryan from Oak Park  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 8:21 AM

I would like to exempt my tax dollars from anything having to do with brick pavers or anything that might directly or indirectly benefit trustee Brewer. The lack of civic regard is stunning.

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