Village board passes measures to generate, save revenue
By Jane Charmelo LOMBARDIAN/VILLA PARK REVIEW STAFF REPORTER
The Lombard Village Board on Thursday, Aug. 18, voted to increase the “Places for Eating” tax by 1 percent to 2 percent, hoping to raise revenues to reduce a projected $1.6 million budget shortfall. Also in a move to reduce the budget deficit, the board approved the elimination of the village’s taxi subsidy program for seniors. According to a Village of Lombard press release, these two measures were “final steps” in the village’s Long Range Budget Plan, which was presented at a joint workshop in April between the village board and Finance and Administration Committee. On June 16, the board approved a resolution to formally accept the plan. The board discussed the above fiscal measures at its July 21 general meeting, outlining how the village had been looking for ways to trim a $1.6 million budget deficit; essentially cutting $1 spent for every dollar gained in revenue. Village Manager Scott Niehaus explained that the Places for Eating tax applies only to establishments that offer “sit-down” service, versus carryout. He also noted that while Lombard’s sales tax was 8.25 percent, the county water commission had recently reduced local taxes by a quarter percent, making Lombard’s tax 8 percent. The current Places for Eating tax is 1 percent, so adding the newly-approved increase will mean a 10 percent tax on food at sit-down establishments. Finance Director Tim Sexton estimates that the 1 percent increase will generate roughly $1.7 million annually, based on revenues of just over $1.68 million in 2015. District 3 Trustee Reid Foltyniewicz, chair of the Finance and Administration Committee, previously stated estimates are that 65 percent of the new tax revenue would come from out-of-town diners. As for eliminating the taxi subsidy—a $5 voucher for $26 worth of cab fares—the trustee and Niehaus have stated that eliminating the voucher program would save the village roughly $40,000 a year. They also noted that the county and township offer similar taxi services that seniors can access. Foltyniewicz commented of the board’s approval of these items, saying, “I am proud to work with a board that isn’t afraid to make a very tough vote.” The new Places for Eating tax will become effective Jan. 1, 2017. Taxi vouchers will still be sold in 2016 and can be redeemed until their expiration date in 2017. Visit www.villageoflombard.org/LRP for more information, or contact Finance Director Tim Sexton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-620-5902.
In other business: • The board approved a conditional-use request by the College Preparatory School of America (CPSA) to expand its current facility, located at 331 W. Madison St., Lombard. According to Niehaus, officials at the school want to build a two-story addition, adding that this is “something the village approved a number of years ago.” Now, he added, the school is “ready to proceed.” Village documents show that the original approval was made in 2009, but at the time, “funding constraints” prevented CPSA from moving forward with its expansion plans. The new building is slated to be roughly 14,070 square feet, located south of the current building. Plans include a cafeteria, gymnasium, classrooms and office areas. At a previous public hearing, “We did have a few residents show up,” Niehaus said—relating that the concerns of nearby residents involved flooding and traffic—but added that “All those things are being addressed.” He stated that the school agreed to build a detention pond “to comply with all storm water management regulations” and also to construct a permanent parking lot, per village code. • The village board approved a three-year contract with IAFF Local 3009 Firefighters Union, which represents the firefighters and firefighter/paramedics, as well as the lieutenants, according to Niehaus, who said the contract impacts 60 employees. He said the contract includes 2.25-percent increases each during the first three years and then a 2.5 percent increase. “They have been without a contract since May 2015,” the village manager stated, so the first-year increase actually covers June 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2015. The 2.5-percent increase would be effective Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 1, 2018. Niehaus praised the process by pointing out that the firefighter contract is the last of the village contracts to be agreed upon, saying that over the past three years, the village has been able to negotiate contracts for police officers and sergeants, public works staff, clerical staff and community service officers. “None of those agreements had to go to arbitration,” he noted, including the now-passed contract for the fire department. Going back to 2015, “We have been in negotiations the entire time,” the village manager summed up, “without having to ask anyone to step in. That’s always a good thing.” • The Lombard Historical Society presented the village board with a check for $18,000, to pay off monies borrowed from the village that were used to expand the Carriage House, located behind the Victorian Cottage Museum. Sarah Richardt, executive director of the Lombard Historical Society, noted that the original expansion project, starting in December 2012, cost $201,496. She said the historical society also got a $70,000 grant from the state of Illinois. The director related that the historical society raised money through raffles, donations and fundraisers to pay back the village. The village owns the Carriage House and Victorian Cottage Museum, as well as the surrounding land, but is operated by the Lombard Historical Society.
Village offers reminders on political campaign sign regulations
With the presidential election on Nov. 8 approaching, the Village of Lombard is reminding both businesses and residences of regulations pertaining to political campaign signs located within the village. Political campaign signs can only be located on private property and cannot be located within the parkways or on public rights-of-way. For most residential properties, the overall sign size may not exceed 9 square feet in area. There is no restriction to the number of signs allowed. For commercial properties and residential properties exceeding 1 acre, signs cannot exceed 32 square feet in area; however, if a sign is greater than 16 square feet in area on those properties, a no-fee permit is required from the village. The required permit, which will be issued over the counter, will ensure that the signs are properly located and are not within a clear line-of-sight area. While there are no restrictions as to the number of political campaign signs 16 square feet or less in area on these properties, only one political campaign sign of greater than 16 square feet is permitted, per street frontage. Commercial properties may not display campaign signs more than 60 days prior to the associated election. Residential properties do not have display duration regulations prior to elections. Political campaign signs exceeding 2 feet in height above grade shall not be located within the clear line-of-sight areas at driveways or street intersections. Political campaign signage placed on private property should have the consent of the property owner. To help keep Lombard looking its best, the village encourages the removal of signs after the election. Political campaign signs displayed on commercial properties must be removed by Nov.18. For additional information regarding code provisions, contact the community development department at 630-620-5757.
Lightning strike causes minor house fire in Lombard
At approximately 6:01 a.m. Aug. 18, the Lombard Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 377 N. Lombard Ave. Upon receiving the call, Lombard Police and Fire were dispatched to the scene. The first arriving engine company found that there had been a fire on the outside of the house that was extinguished by the Lombard Police Department. Lombard Fire Department crews performed overhaul operations checking for fire extension and found none. The cause of the fire was determined to have been caused by a lightning strike to the house. The lightning strike also caused a gas leak to the supply line for the house, which was properly secured by NICOR. Damage to the house is estimated to be approximately $2,000. There were no injuries to emergency responders or the residents of the home. For further information, contact Assistant Chief Jerry Howell at (630)620-5736.
Lombard names Richard A. Sander as new fire chief
The Village of Lombard has named current Naperville Deputy Fire Chief Richard A. Sander as its next fire chief. Sander is set to begin his role as Lombard’s fire chief on Oct. 3. Sander has served the City of Naperville since 1998 as a firefighter paramedic, lieutenant, captain, and acting battalion chief, before being promoted to deputy fire chief in 2011. Sander’s career began as a firefighter and paramedic in 1979 with the City of Harvey. Since then he has also worked for the City of Aurora and the Village of Oak Brook. “It is my honor and privilege to be chosen by the Village of Lombard to serve as the new fire chief,” said Sander. “The Lombard Fire Department is well respected throughout the area and I am excited to bring my 30-plus years of knowledge and experience to build on their successes. I look forward to exploring new ideas and practices that will enhance the department’s goal of excellence.” Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio said village staff was impressed by Sander’s qualifications and more than 33 years of experience in fire services. Sander is scheduled to be sworn in at a regularly scheduled Village Board meeting on Sept. 15. “Our top priority is the safety of our residents and we feel that this choice is a good fit for our community,” said the Chair of the Public Safety and Transportation Committee Trustee Dan Whittington. “We’re excited to have our new fire chief join us here in Lombard.” While serving Naperville, Sander oversaw 10 fire stations and served as incident commander at major emergency incidents. Sander offers extensive knowledge of fire science as well experience serving as the president of the Sugar Grove Fire Protection District’s Board of Fire Commissioners and the post committee chairman for Naperville’s Explorer Post Fire Cadet Program. Sander received his EMT Paramedic Certification in 1983 and achieved his Bachelor of Fire Science from Southern Illinois University in 1993. He is a Certified Illinois State Fire Marshal Officer II and a Certified Illinois Office State Fire Marshal Fire Apparatus Engineer. Paul DiRienzo retired from the position of Lombard Fire Chief in July after serving with Lombard’s Fire Department for more than 30 years.
American English to headline final Cruise Nights
The Village of Lombard is hosting a concert featuring American English, a popular Beatles tribute band, at the final 2016 Cruise Nights and Summer Concert Series event in downtown Lombard, from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. In order to accommodate the anticipated large crowd size, the location of the stage will be moved for this onetime event. In order to accommodate residents and visitors attending the American English concert on Aug. 27, the concert stage will be set up just east of the intersection of Main Street and St. Charles Road. A detour on St. Charles will direct traffic north one block to Grove Street. South Park Avenue between St. Charles and Michael McGuire Drive will remain a pedestrian only location, and will feature a collection of Kids’ Corner sponsors, popcorn sales from Lombard Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association, and games, snacks and information about downtown Lombard will be provided by Lombard Town Centre. Cruise Nights is a family-friendly event and is alcohol free. Concert goers are encouraged to patronize downtown Lombard’s local dining establishments to dine and consume alcohol on their premises. Attendees may arrive beginning after 4 p.m. Chairs are allowed. Port-o-let bathrooms will be available for concert goers on South Park Avenue. Attendees are reminded that restrooms in businesses are for customers. Attendees are encouraged to park in the commuter parking spots at Hammerschmidt lot, just east of the intersection of Main Street and St. Charles, and on Parkside Avenue, south of the train tracks. Attendees parking on Parkside Avenue may use the Metra underpass tunnel for easy access to the concert venue area. The concert is subject to weather conditions and there is not an alternative location or rain-out date. Any updates pertaining to the concert will be made on the Village of Lombard’s Facebook pages at www.facebook. com/villageoflombard and www. facebook.com/lombardcruisenights, and Twitter at www.twitter.com/lilacvillage.
Police Department reminds residents to drive sober or get pulled over this Labor Day
End of summer Labor Day celebrations are fun and festive, but the Lombard Police Department is reminding residents that due to alcohol and drug impaired drivers, it is also dangerous. This Labor Day, Lombard officers are partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation to stop drunk drivers and help save lives. The high-visibility “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown runs now through Sept. 5. During this period, law enforcement will show zero tolerance for impaired driving or seat belt law violators. The Lombard Police Department will be out in full force to discourage drunk and drugged driving and a roadside safety checkpoint is scheduled for this Friday, Aug. 26 at an undisclosed location. “We need people to understand that impaired driving is a deadly crime,” said Lombard Traffic Unit Officer Paula Rojas. “Impaired driving is a massive problem in the United States, with more than 10,000 people dying annually. There are people who like to pretend that certain laws don’t apply to them, but to be clear: In every state, for every person, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it even easier to get home safely when you’ve been drinking, with the free SaferRide mobile app, available through iTunes and Google Play. The app allows you to call pre-selected contacts or a taxi, and also identifies your location so you can be picked up. Officer Rojas and the Lombard Police Department want you to know that two easy steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for drunk driving are to always designate a sober driver and to never let friends drive drunk. Other important tips include: You can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in a drunk-driving crash. Make sure all of your guests designate a sober driver in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers. Serve food and include non-alcoholic beverages if hosting a party. Give your car keys to a designated sober driver before the party begins. Take the keys away friends who attempt to drive drunk and call them a ride. If you do not have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a cab, sober friend or family member to pick you up, or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober. Just don’t drive drunk. Always buckle up – it is your best defense against a drunk driver. The Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown is made possible by federal highway safety funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation. For more information visit www.villageoflombard.org/drivingsafety.
Beacon Hill celebrates $19 million expansion and renovation project
In its 32 years, Beacon Hill retirement community and its more than 500 residents have seen many changes in the surrounding Lombard area. This year, the community officially unveiled its $19 million expansion project that’s providing current and future residents with more options and amenities to meet the changing desires of the newest generation of older adults. Beacon Hill celebrated the unveiling of its expansion and renovation project with a special ceremony and a touching tribute to veterans at the community on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 2400 S. Finley Road in Lombard. The new 28,000-square-foot building features a new theater and lounge, multiple dining venues, a kitchen and culinary preparation space, and various activity areas for entertainment and wellness functions. “Today’s seniors want more lifestyle options, engaging activities and easier access to health services, and we want to be out in front of what they’re seeking,” said Blaire Goldstein, executive director of Beacon Hill. “They also want more control of their future by having a plan in place so they won’t burden their children or loved ones. The Life Care plan we offer, coupled with these tremendous new amenities and wellness services, allows older adults to enjoy an independent lifestyle and have peace of mind about their future.” Sloan Bentley, president and CEO of Beacon Hill’s parent company, Lifespace Communities Inc., joined team members at the celebration, along with U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, to dedicate an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol to the Beacon Hill veterans and their families. Construction on the new building and renovations began in 2014 and is nearly complete. The new theater and auditorium spaces will allow the community to host more sophisticated shows and performances. Residents will also have more dining options and culinary choices with the new dining venues. “Our organization is dedicated to serving seniors and celebrating their lives,” said Bentley. “Lifespace is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and this project helps demonstrate our commitment to providing area seniors with first-rate lifestyle amenities and wellness services.” DuPage County has the highest in percentage of adults ages 65-plus of the eight Illinois counties in Chicagoland, according to the latest U.S. Census reports. “Older adults in the area have been wanting something different, something fulfilling … lifestyle options they can’t find anywhere else,” said Goldstein. “And given the changing times, we’ve made it a top priority to provide seniors with healthy living options and a sense of security knowing that everything they’ve worked to attain is protected.” Chicago-based Walsh Construction was the contractor for the project, and it was designed by Minneapolis-based Tremain Architects & Planners, Ltd. Beacon Hill, located at 2400 S. Finley Road in Lombard, is owned and operated by Lifespace Communities Inc., a not-for-profit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa. The Life Care community provides senior adults with a unique lifestyle experience and a variety of living options, including 360 maintenance-free residential apartment homes. Memory support and skilled nursing suites are also available as part of the full continuum of care. Residents enjoy a full range of services and amenities, such as an indoor heated pool, library, greenhouse and dining services. More information about Beacon Hill is available by calling 630-691-4007 or by visiting BeaconHillLombard.com. Lifespace Communities Inc. was founded in 1976; the not-for-profit organization has grown to own and operate 12 continuing care retirement communities in seven states, serving more than 4,300 residents and employing more than 2,800 team members. The organization is recognized by the LeadingAge Ziegler Top 150 as the seventh-largest not-for-profit senior living provider system in the country. For more information about Lifespace and its communities, visit LifespaceCommunities.com.