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Teens attend board meeting for youth leadership program

By Jane Charmelo

Just under a dozen high school students were in attendance at the Thursday, Feb. 15, village board meeting, wrapping up their participation in the Village of Lombard’s Youth Leadership Program.
The program involved three two-hour sessions on Thursday nights at the village hall, during which time the teens met with officials from the offices of the village manager, finance, community development, public works and police and fire departments, to hear about the role of their respective offices.
The teens also took tours and were able to participate in Q and A time with officials, and met the village president and board of trustees prior to the meeting.
“They have learned about local government and village departments,” explained Sharon Kuderna, village clerk, who added, “We hope that they enjoyed their experience and are able to walk away with more knowledge about their village.”
She pointed out that this year all Lombard-area high schools were represented, including Glenbard East and Glenbard South, Montini Catholic, the Chicago Preparatory School of America (CPSA), Willowbrook and the Islamic Foundation School.
Trustee Bill Ware echoed Kuderna in commenting that he hoped the students learned more about their village government, and summed up how they “saw the interactions of it and saw what it takes” to run the Lilac Village.

In other business
• Ware, who chairs the Public Works and Environmental Concerns Committee, thanked the public works department for its work during the period between Feb. 8-12, when he said some 18.3 inches of snow fell.
“I think they did a fabulous job,” he continued, saying that employees worked eight shifts of 12 hours each, drove over 10,000 miles and used as much as 2,000 gallons of fuel.
He said labor costs were about $71,000 for the period, and with salt, fuel and other supplies, the total spent was roughly $114,000.
“I just want to commend them,” he added.
“Nice job, Carl,” said President Keith Giagnorio, referring to Carl Goldsmith, director of public works.
• The board approved a nine-month contract for $78,160, to be spent on grass and weed mowing, with Green Horizon Landscaping, LLC, for the period between March and November 2018.
According to the village, this amount was the lowest responsible bid among five bids, and came in at $8,840 under budget.
Additionally, the board approved a 12-month contract with Beary Landscape Management, the lowest responsible bidder of the four bids received, for $70,000, and while it was reportedly $3,000 over budget, officials stated they could utilize savings from the mowing amount budgeted to cover the difference.
• A number of items up for board approval were tabled due to the absence of three trustees.
Tom Bayer, village attorney, stated that because there was a request for a waiver of bids, the vote required a vote from at least four trustees. The items include the purchase of a skid-steer loader with trailer and attachment, and approval to declare similar equipment as surplus to be used for trade-in; and also the purchase of 44 self-contained breathing apparatuses, or SCBAs, and declaring current units as surplus for trade-in.
A third item was tabled to approve a contract with National Power Rodding Corp. for a catch basin cleaning project, not to exceed $59,950.
Bayer also pointed to a separate item that required a delay in voting, involving an intergovernmental agreement between the village and Lombard Park District pertaining to the “conveyance of real property” at Terrace View Pond and also at 115 W. Crystal, both to the park district.
The attorney said the resolution requires a two-thirds vote, or at least five out of seven trustees.
These items are expected to be addressed at the Thursday, March 1, village board meeting.

Fire Department to get new SCBA gear

The Lombard Fire Department applied for and was awarded a $349,069 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to replace the departments Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).
This is the largest federal grant ever received by the Lombard Fire Department and will fund 90 percent of the purchase cost for the new SCBAs. SCBAs provide firefighters with breathable air in toxic environments and are essential to safe and effective firefighting and rescue efforts.
The current air packs are over 13 years old and have endured heavy use and extensive wear and are no longer compliant with most current standards.
This grant provides fire department members with some of the newest and safest SCBA technology available and will improve the health and safety of fire personnel, which in turn directly benefits the community.
The fire department is grateful for this grant and for the great team effort among the department members that assisted in writing it, according to a news release.
The grant was made possible by a 10 percent grant match from the Village of Lombard.
Contact Communications Coordinator Avis Meade at 630-620-5718 with any questions.

Public Works and contractor receive award
for Roosevelt Road water main lining project

Lombard Public Works and its contractor Civiltech Engineering, Inc. have been awarded a Special Achievement Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois 2018 Engineering Excellence Awards Competition for the Roosevelt Road water main lining project.
The project, which began in 2015 and was completed ahead of schedule in 2017, included the lining of 3.1 miles of an aged water main pipe with cured in place lining technology.
The technique was the first of its kind to be used on a project of this size and provided the village with a time efficient and cost effective alternative to replacing the entire water main. The improvements are meant to significantly reduce the amount of dangerous and expensive water main breaks along Roosevelt Road, to increase functionality and efficiency of the existing water main, and to continue to provide residents and businesses with excellent water quality.
The Engineering Excellence Awards Competition recognizes projects of engineering achievement by Illinois consulting engineering firms. The award was presented to Civiltech Engineering for their role as the village’s contractor throughout the Roosevelt Road water main lining project.
For more information on the project, visit www.38water.org.

Nominations open for Woman of the Year

The search has begun for Lombard’s Woman of the Year, sponsored by the Lombard Service League.
Residents, businesses and organizations are encouraged to honor a distinguished Lombard woman for her time, talents and service to benefit others in the community. Achievements for nominees may include service to family, church, organization or community. Individuals and groups should submit each letter of nomination in accordance with the following rules.:

•The nominees must reside at a Lombard mailing address.
•Letters of nominations must not exceed 500 words.
•The names, addresses and telephone numbers of both the nominee and the person making the nomination must be included with each letter of nomination.
•Entries must be postmarked by Monday, March 26.

The judging will be done by prominent Lombard residents. The decision of the judges is final.
Send nomination letters to Lombard Woman of the Year, Lombard Service League, P.O. Box 482, Lombard, IL 60148. If you would like verification of your nomination being judged, supply a self-addressed stamped envelope.
The 2018 Woman of the Year for Lombard will be announced and introduced on Thursday, April 12, during the Lombard Service League’s monthly meeting at Lexington Square in Lombard.
For more information, phone 630-620-8938.

LCPAAA presents K-9 donation

The Lombard Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association (LCPAAA) presented a $1,000 donation to the Lombard Police Department Feb. 13 to help fund the department’s new K-9 officer. Lombard’s K-9 officer “Chico” retired Feb. 1 after serving with the department since 2009. The new canine is being purchased from Northern Michigan K-9 with a $11,500 canine replacement grant from The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund. The funds donated by the LCPAAA will be used for the purchase, training and equipment for the K-9 program.

Nybo looks to ban ‘bump-fire’ gun stocks

In wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history last October and following the tragic death of a Chicago Police Commander at the hands of gun violence, state Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) has filed legislation to address growing concerns for public safety and responsible gun use by banning bump-fire stocks—a dangerous device employed by the mass shooter to target more victims.
He is now working aggressively to get a public hearing on the proposal in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the bill has been assigned.
“Now more than ever, public safety is among the greatest concerns of Americans, and tragedies like what happened in Las Vegas last year cause everyone to take a step back and really think about gun safety and what we’re doing to keep our residents safe,” said Nybo. “This bump stock ban is a crucial and justified precautionary step to help prevent future devastation. By targeting bump stocks, we are not limiting gun owners. Their rights to common lawful trigger modifications would remain unaffected.”
Under Nybo’s sponsored legislation, Senate Bill 2247 would make it illegal in the state of Illinois to sell, purchase or possess bump stocks—a device attachment for a semiautomatic rifle that allows it to fire faster, operating similarly to a fully automatic rifle. The sale and usage of bump stocks have recently come under scrutiny after several were found at the scene of the national tragedy in Las Vegas, which resulted in more than 50 fatalities and hundreds injured.
As reported recently in the Chicago Tribune, at least 15 states are considering bump-fire stock ban laws, but very few have taken action; and a majority of the country remains stagnant.
Nybo says Illinois should be a leader, not a follower or a passive observer on the issue.
“This bill gives consideration to both the safety of our communities and the interests of our gun owners,” said Nybo. “We have been very practical about targeting a specific aspect of gun safety, a compromise that could potentially save countless lives.”
Nybo urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to call a hearing for the legislation as soon as possible.

New sophisticated phone scam targets Illinois residents

A new round of sophisticated phone scams in Illinois threaten to turn potential victims over to law enforcement.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about automated calls from someone claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service. The call threatens to send law enforcement out to arrest the victim for owing money to the government and that they must call a seemingly local number to resolve it.
The fake agent can then give a phony badge number or even give the caller the last four digits of their Social Security number to convince the caller that they’re authentic.
“One of the easiest ways to spot a scam call is when the first thing they say is, ‘We’re going to arrest you,’ ” IRS Spokesman Michael Devine said. “That’s not how the IRS works.”
The IRS doesn’t work with local law enforcement in that manner.
It also doesn’t take Amazon gift cards.
“They want the money either by prepaid gift card or by wire transfer,” Devine said, adding that the IRS will make first contact by mail.
The sheriff’s office and IRS offer the following tips to avoid becoming a phone scam victim:
• Never give personal information, such as Social Security or bank account numbers, over the phone.
• Legitimate IRS agents and law enforcement agencies do not ask that payments be made via pre-paid debit cards.
• In some cases, the phone numbers may appear to be from legitimate agencies due to phone number spoofing applications. If this is the case, call that agency to determine if there is a legitimate reason to contact you. Do not use the phone number the caller gives you.
Devine said the calls will often move from one area code to the next so that the callback number looks to be coming from nearby. His advice: just hang up.

Breen introduces Illinois Tax Reform Plan at news conference

In an effort to put more money in the pockets of Illinois taxpayers and infuse funds into the Illinois economy, state Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has launched the Illinois Tax Reform Plan.
The plan, consisting of three taxpayer-friendly bills, was unveiled last week at a press briefing in Springfield. Each bill has the potential of lowering taxes on Illinoisans and Illinois businesses.
Cornerstone of bill
The cornerstone of Breen’s package is HB 4563, which expands Illinois’ current Invest in Kids Act tax credit model to allow Illinoisans to make fully deductible charitable contributions to 501(c)(3) foundations supporting public school districts, while receiving tax credits to reduce their partially deductible state and local income tax (SALT) payments.
The new federal tax law provided a $10,000 limit on deductions for SALT payments, while placing no limit on charitable deductions.
“While changes to the federal tax code are providing many opportunities for taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money in their own pockets, folks in states where property taxes and income taxes are too high need relief.
“Congress left intact the full deduction for charitable contributions, and my Illinois workaround to the new SALT deduction cap relies on the very successful education tax credit model upheld by the Tax Court and IRS, and used by states across the country.
“This plan has the potential to put over $1 billion every year back into Illinois taxpayers’ wallets. Rather than sending this money to Washington bureaucrats, these dollars can be pumped into the Illinois economy, to help our state grow and prosper,” he stated.
Through Breen’s SALT workaround, the current Invest in Kids Act, which allows taxpayers to make donations to private schools in exchange for a tax benefit, would be expanded to include contributions made to K-12 school district foundations.
Taxpayers can make annual contributions to school district foundations up to the total amount of their state income taxes and residential property taxes, in exchange for a tax credit equal to 100 percent of their donation.
The bill would ensure little to no cost to the state by amending the school code to ensure that state payments to the K-12 districts benefitted by the program would be reduced by the amount of the total contributions received by the districts.
HB 4376
The second bill in the package, HB 4376, would allow parents who choose to send their children to K-12 private or parochial schools in Illinois to use their Illinois Bright Start program funds (529 Plan) to help offset those costs rather than only using those funds for college.
“Today’s Bright Start Program does not provide the flexibility provided by the recent changes in federal tax law, to allow families the ability to use their own 529 plan account for K-12 educational expenses,” said Breen. “My bill expands the Illinois Bright Start Program’s definition of ‘qualifying expenses’ so that families may enjoy the full tax benefits newly available through the revised federal tax law. Expanding the use of these tax-free funds will help hard-working Illinois families save for their kids’ education.”
HB 4376 also provides for a rollover of 529 plan funds into an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account to help individuals living with significant disabilities. Whereas 529 plans may only be used for education, ABLE accounts may also be used for housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services and health care expenses.
“These types of accounts really help folks living with disabilities to maintain their independence and quality of life,” Breen said. “Individuals with disabilities and their families often rely on public benefits for income, health care, housing and other assistance, and eligibility is largely based on meeting an income threshold. ABLE accounts allow families to create a long-term plan with defined tax benefits for covering the significant costs associated to living with a disability.”
HB 4562
The final bill in Breen’s Illinois Tax Reform Plan is HB 4562, a measure to support the small businesses that will start or grow as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
HB 4562 will lift the requirement that individuals who operate a small business where they are the sole employee be in the unemployment insurance system.
“This is a common sense issue. Individuals who operate a business where they themselves are the only employee certainly can’t really ‘fire’ themselves in the traditional sense of unemployment insurance, so they shouldn’t be forced to pay for this insurance,” said Breen. “There are thousands of single-employee businesses in Illinois, and while these entrepreneurs are contributing greatly to the Illinois economy, they’re being nickel-and-dimed through laws that force them to pay for services from which they would never benefit.”
Breen is hopeful he will have wide bipartisan support for all three bills and will be pushing for prompt consideration of the legislation in Springfield.