We’ve made very clear what our priorities will be once in office. We will ease the residential property tax burden by securing additional sources of local funding for our schools. We will focus on the revitalization of our commercial/retail sector, on greater fiscal responsibility in managing the village budget and its investments, and on working with our schools, parks, library, and township to find ways to share costs.

But in our conversations with citizens and local business owners the talk often turns to another issue that we believe must be addressed to get Oak Park moving again: community frustration with many of the processes in place at village hall. Permits, parking, inspections. Can we shorten the time it takes to get these things done? Can we streamline the process for opening a business in Oak Park?

We believe it’s time to take action to make village hall more user-friendly, to improve the services provided to residents and businesses. Here’s how:

-By streamlining the permits and inspection process for residential improvements, and

-By making it easier and faster to open a business in Oak Park

* Make these processes absolutely clear for residents and business owners, available in handbooks and online

* Single point of contact at village hall to help residents and business owners navigate the entire process

* Online business application, permits, licensing and fee payment

* All fees paid at once

* Establish concurrent review and defined village response time; if village misses deadlines, fees are waived

-By improving the overnight parking permit process

* Residents should be able to arrange overnight parking pass 24/7 by phone or online

* Allow more overnight passes per resident per year

-By improving information flow to citizens and adding convenient online services

* Enhanced, more user-friendly village website

* Pay fees, water bills, and tickets online

* A call center to quickly get citizens to the right person

-By measuring customer satisfaction and having an ongoing service improvement process

* Customer satisfaction kiosks at village hall and other locations, such as libraries

* Feedback surveys for residents who have received service from village hall

* Set “SMART” goals for customer service and customer satisfaction that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Trackable.

-By establishing a culture of innovation and accountability at village hall

* Reward village staff for innovative, cost-saving ideas that improve customer service

* Stop board micromanagement and disrespect of staff, which stifles creativity

* Give the village manager the tools and guidance to make this happen, then evaluate him on the basis of success

We need all hands on deck at village hall in support of residents and business owners who are investing in our community’s future. We’ll set that tone, provide the resources, then get out of the way and let the many talented individuals working for us at village hall do their jobs. That’s another way we’re going to get Oak Park moving again on April 17. Read more about our Action Agenda at www.progressiveaction.net.

Ray Johnson, Jan Pate, Jon Hale, John Hedges
Citizens for Progressive Action

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