River Forest seniors to get help with snow removal

Eligibility based on county's senior tax freeze program

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter


Contributing Reporter

Eligible senior citizens in River Forest will receive assistance with snow removal this winter through a program unveiled at the Oct. 14 village board meeting.

Village Administrator Eric Palm explained that eligibility for the Senior Snow Removal Program will be based on the senior freeze program of the Cook County Assessor's Office and compared the program to the senior citizen backflow sewer prevention subsidy program the village offered previously.

"Most municipalities do this," village President Cathy Adduci said. "We're behind the eight ball."

In a memo to board members, Sara Phyfer, management analyst, said program costs will be paid with $10,000 appropriated from the proceeds of the 516 Park settlement agreement reached in June. 

Palm explained that the village will use independent snow removal contractors to remove snow from the public sidewalks, walks to the front steps and front steps of residences of eligible residents.

Trustee Tom Cargie called the program "a great idea" but suggested removing snow from the walk between the house and garage.

Trustee Bob O'Connell expressed concern about having sufficient funding if the Chicago area receives an excessive amount of snow but Palm pointed out that only 12 people are on the senior freeze list, which he termed "a manageable number." 

He said staff members would allow hardship appeals from residents not meeting the senior freeze criteria to "cast a wider net." He also agreed with Trustee Erika Bachner's suggestion that the program name be expanded to reflect the inclusion of citizens with disabilities.

In her memo, Phyfer said village staff members will reach out to qualifying senior citizens and provide flyers to the River Forest Township Senior Services Center. Applications also will be available at village hall, 400 Park Avenue.

Adduci noted that many senior citizen residents are living alone with no relatives living nearby who can assist with timely snow removal although she acknowledged that neighbors often assist.

"Our seniors are looking for a helping hand not a handout," she said. "We're doing this because it's the right thing to do."  

Village officials had accepted a $100,000 settlement from a couple who owned a house at 516 Park Ave., the scene of a 2017 fire that killed a tenant living in their illegally converted two-flat. In return, the village dropped a lawsuit that sought to recoup millions of dollars from years of village fines. The settlement agreement is not an admission of guilt by either party. 

According to the Cook County Assessor's Office, applicants for the senior freeze exemption must be senior citizens with an annual household income of $65,000 or less who have owned and occupied their homes for the previous tax year and who have been responsible for paying the property taxes on the property for the two previous tax years. 

Eligible senior citizens automatically receive a reduction of at least $2,000 in the equalized assessed value of their homes. Over time, this program may result in taxes changing minimally or sometimes decreasing as surrounding properties continue to rise in assessed value.

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and OakPark.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

2 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Mary White Thomason  

Posted: October 18th, 2019 9:10 PM

Oak Park Seniors could really use this service. As Ms Humowicki stated Elmwood pk also does this and Forest Park does it for everyone. Come on, our taxes could cover this!

Judy Humowiecki from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2019 6:25 PM

Congratulations to River Forest! Unfortunately, Oak Park doesn't have the wherewithal to pay for basic services like that. Elmwood Park does though.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad