The village of Oak Park received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officer Association (GFOA) for fiscal year 2013, which began Jan. 1, according to a village news release.

The GFOA, a nonprofit professional association that serves more than 17,500 government finance professionals across North America, called the award “the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting.”

“This award represents a significant accomplishment for Oak Park,” Village Manager Cara Pavlicek wrote in the release. “Preparing the annual budget is one of the most important administrative tasks we undertake every year. The village board has established the budget process as a priority and staff has worked hard to improve the budget document.”

The budget was assessed as a policy document, financial plan, and operations guide and communications vehicle.

Craig Lesner said the award is a good step in moving the village’s finances toward greater transparency. Pavlicek credited the village board and staff for its work, but pointed out that James Harris, the village’s budget director played in key role in crafting this year’s budget documents.

“Oak Park’s budget is complex,” Pavlicek wrote. “Compiling it in a form that can guide day-to-day municipal operations, and be accessible to taxpayers is the goal we set when the 2013 budget process began. With James’ dedication, I believe we made substantive improvements to the budget process.”

Health Dept. honors cleanest restaurants

Ever wonder how clean your favorite local restaurant is?

Well, below is a list of 10 that the Dept. of Public Health and the Board of Health recognized for their food service sanitation efforts.

This is the 28th year for the Johnson Restaurant Awards, named for Oak Park’s first lunchroom, which operated in the 1890s at 124 Lake St. They are presented each year to restaurants that consistently meet or exceed state food safety standards. This year’s winners were chosen from 79 eligible restaurants. The awards are based on scores from a 45-point inspection survey.

“Restaurants earning this award have achieved sanitation scores that are the best in Oak Park,” said Mike Charley, the village’s environmental health supervisor. “These establishments have demonstrated that they take food protection seriously and have incorporated food safety and sanitation practices into their day-to-day business operations.”

Johnson Restaurant Award winners (in order of score) are: Marion Street Grille, 189 N. Marion St.; Aripo’s Venezuelan Arepa House, 118 N. Marion St.; King & I, 105 N. Marion St; Cucina Paradiso, 814 North Blvd.; Penny’s Noodle Shop, 1130 Chicago Ave.; Jerusalem Café, 1030 Lake St.; Buzz Café, 905 S. Lombard Ave.; Flat Top Grill, 726 Lake St.; New Rebozo, 1116 Madison St.; and Eyrie, 128 N. Oak Park Ave.

Health contributors honored

Four Oak Park residents and one local hospital were honored for their contributions to the health and well-being of Oak Parkers during National Public Health Week earlier this month.

The Fitzsimmons Award for Excellence in Public Health is named in honor of Dr. William Fitzsimmons, a medical consultant to the Dept. of Public Health from 1976-1992, a humanitarian who volunteered his services to the village.

The annual awards are presented by the Oak Park Board of Health and the Dept. of Public Health. This year’s winners are:

  • Ellen Barton, APN (advanced practice nurse), PCC Wellness Center, “for the comprehensive care she provides to her patients.”
  • Janice Enloe, personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach, advanced health and fitness specialist and running coach, “for her comprehensive approach to diet and exercise.”
  • Vanguard West Suburban Hospital, “for going far beyond free health screenings, health fairs and informational lectures on health-related topics.”
  • Sugar Beet Cooperative, a grass roots initiative, “for its efforts in bringing healthier products from local farms to the wider community, including a community-managed store scheduled to open in 2014 that will be a gathering place for residents to grow, cook, discuss and eat food together.”
  • Tracy Vegeler, general manager, Oak Park Place Apartments, for “her pioneering efforts and dedication in creating one of the first multi-unit residential properties in Oak Park to successfully transition to 100-percent smoke-free status.”

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