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Village board passes budget, tax levy and water/sewer increase

Four-way stop reinstated at Grove and Park

By Jane Charmelo

     After meetings of the Finance and Administration Committee several times since last November and holding several budget workshops with board and staff members, the Village of Lombard Board of Trustees on Thursday, Nov. 16, passed a 2018 budget totaling $91,339,870.
The move came after a public hearing held Thursday, Nov. 2, at which time the board also passed an ordinance of first reading to adopt the budget.
At one of the budget workshops, held in late August, the board and staff discussed revenues and deficits, with Trustee Reid Foltyniewicz, chair of the Finance and Administration Committee, pointing to a potential $700,000 deficit for the coming year.
Then, and at the Nov. 2 board meeting, he outlined how the deficit could be trimmed by cutting nearly $350,000 in expenditures while anticipating roughly $350,000 in revenues from the Places for Eating Tax. Cost-cutting measures included eliminating the CODE RED alert program, reducing several village positions and also a reduction in the contribution to Meals on Wheels, as well as closing the village hall on Monday nights and adjusting the nighttime hours for the police department lobby.
After last year’s budget hearing and budget talks of just under $96.9 million for 2017, the village faced a $1.6 million deficit, according to village figures. At that time, the village made roughly $800,000 in cuts, such as eliminating the senior taxi subsidy program; and to generate revenue, approved a 1-percent increase in the Places for Eating Tax.
The trustee and Finance Director Tim Sexton, along with Village Manager Scott Niehaus, had pointed out this past August that it can also be difficult to project certain revenues such as those from telecommunication taxes, as more people use the Internet and cell phones, and also emphasized that the board and staff can only anticipate how much money Lombard will receive from the state of Illinois.
And, in looking at revenues, the village board passed a 2017 tax levy for fiscal year beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and ending Dec. 31, 2017, in the amount of just over $9.18 million, up from just under $8.97 million last year.
The approval came after a recommendation from the Finance and Administration Committee in September, and after passage on first reading on Nov. 2.
A tax levy is essentially a request for tax dollars that come from annual property taxes. The village requested an increase of 0.7 percent, which is the current Consumer Price Index. A village memo states that the request was “prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Act (Tax Cap) and the Truth in Taxation Act.”
The levy amounts to an increase of $212,820, which would mean an additional $5.87 for each $100,000 of a home’s market value, or $17.62 for the owner of a home valued at $300,000.

In other business
• The village voted to restore the four-way stop at Park Avenue and Grove Street after the recent removal of temporary stop signs on north- and southbound Park.
According to a village memo, the signs were meant to be temporary due to sight line issues during local construction. However, according to a police department memo, “a significant amount of feedback” supported the installation of permanent stop signs.
As of press time, temporary stop signs, with flashing lights, had been installed, after which they will be replaced by permanent stop signs.
• The board voted to approve a 2.05-percent increase in the water and sewer rate for 2018. This means an additional 30 cents per 1,000 gallons, or $14.90. This would amount to an additional $1.50 per 5,000 gallons used, according to the village.
The last increase, at the beginning of 2017, went up 30 cents per 1,000 gallons, a 2.1-percent increase at the time.
• A request for the village to reduce the speed limit on Grace Street from Madison to Maple Street was tabled from the agenda, in order to more thoroughly study local traffic patterns. It is expected the board will revisit the issue in January.
• The village read a proclamation naming Nov. 15, 2017, as School Board Members Day.
Village President Keith Giagnorio cited how there are many important facets of the community, from the village’s departments to the park district and its programs, then added that the school systems help the village stand out.
“This is a small way to honor our school board members who make it all happen,” he commented.
In attendance were Lombard Elementary School District 44 board members Tony del Alcazar, Stephen Flint and Gayle Kankovsky; and Glenbard Township High School District 87 board member Bob Friend.

Downtown Jingle Bell Jubilee takes place Dec. 2

     The downtown will be full of the sights and sounds of the season as Jingle Bell Jubilee kicks off Saturday, Dec. 2.
The schedule of events and participants is as follows:
• Lombard Town Centre: 5-7 p.m. Dancers will perform live “Nutcracker” scenes in downtown business displays.
• Lombard Park District and the Village of Lombard: 5:30-8 p.m. Tree lighting and Santa’s arrival in Lilacia Park, where there will be photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, hot cocoa and s’mores.
• Lombard Historical Society: 6-8 p.m. Candlelight tours of the Victorian Cottage.
• Lombard Bible Church, 111 S. Park Ave.: 6, 6:45 and 7:30 p.m.: Glenbard East Honor Strings will perform three short concerts in the sanctuary. There will be crafts, coffee and hot cocoa in the gym.
• Helen Plum Library: 6:10, 6:50 and 7:30 p.m.: Glenbard East Madrigal Singers will perform. There will be activities in Youth Services starting at 5 p.m. Refreshments will be available in Adult Services. The library will be open for checking out materials.
• Maple Street Chapel: 7-8:30 p.m. There will be a sing-along.
See the Facebook page at Facebook.com/Jinglebelljubilee for more information.

Fire Department Toy Drive gets under way Monday

Annual drive now in its 17th year

     The Lombard Fire Department’s 17th annual Toy Drive kicks off Monday, Nov. 27, and will end with a Toy Parade on Main Street, from St. Charles to Wilson Ave., Saturday, Dec. 9. Residents are encouraged to bring unopened toys and items to Lombard Fire Stations and Village Hall for donation. Firefighters will also collect toys from residents along Main Street on Dec. 9, and will bring them to Yorktown Shopping Center for sorting.
Toy drive collection bins will be available in four locations, including the Lombard Village Hall (255 E. Wilson), Fire Station 45 (50 E. St. Charles Road), Fire Station 44 (2020 S. Highland Ave.) and Schroeder’s Ace Hardware (837 Westmore/Meyers Road). Items requested include new toys (unwrapped), and baby supplies such as formula and diapers. Items collected will benefit the Teen Parent Connection, First Things First and the Lombard/Villa Park Food Pantry. Schools in District 44 and 45 will also collect items. Cash donations are also being accepted and may be dropped off at either Lombard Fire Station.
“This is our 17th year of collecting toys and items that help to make the season a little brighter for our residents and neighbors,” said Lombard Firefighter and Paramedic Ben Speck. “It’s so inspiring to see this village come together for their neighbors who might need a helping hand. That’s what makes Lombard so special. And it’s our honor to be able bring these families a little extra joy during the holidays.”
Residents are invited to attend the Toy Parade on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 10:30 a.m. The fire department, along with volunteers including Cub Scouts from Lombard Pack 42, will depart Fire Station 45 at 50 E. St. Charles at 10:15 a.m., and will proceed south on Main Street to Glenbard East High School. Residents may line up along southbound Main Street to donate gifts, up to Glenbard East High School. Donations will then be brought to Yorktown Shopping Center for sorting.
For more information, visit www.villageoflombard.org/toyparade. Contact Communications Coordinator Avis Meade at meadea@villageoflombard.org or 630-620-5718 with questions.

Tri-Town Christmas tree sales begin Nov. 24

     There’s a little bit of magic in Tri- Town YMCA Christmas Trees — the magic of year-round support of youth, senior and family programs.
Proceeds from tree and wreath sales support in-need families and bring additional classroom supplies and resources into a safe, enriching environment.
“Our Christmas tree sale is one of our most beloved fundraisers,” said Deb Allen, interim executive director. “We have many families [who] return year after year, knowing that they are getting a wonderful tree but also helping many people in the community lead better lives.”
The sale will be held at the Lombard Dairy Queen parking lot, 205 S. Main St., beginning Friday, Nov. 24. Lot hours are Wednesday through Friday, 3-8 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Scotch pines, Douglas and Fraser firs, as well as balsam trees will be available from $39 and up. Three wreath sizes are also for sale. The sale continues through Dec. 16 or until all the trees are sold.
This year, Tri-Town YMCA donated 10 Christmas trees to the Shop- With-A-Cop program for needy families. In addition, Tri-Town provides trees at near cost to the TLC Camp (for children with cancer and their siblings) fundraiser.
For more information, or to volunteer, call Lynn at Tri-Town YMCA (630-629-9622) or email operations@tritownymca.org.