Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Town President praises Fire and Police for fast action on Valentine's Day Fire, expresses sympathy to families of deceased

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Town President praises Fire and Police for fast action on Valentine's Day Fire, expresses sympathy to families of deceased

Before we begin the meeting, I want to address the terrible tragedy we experienced this past week in Cicero.

I am saddened by this tragedy and my heart and condolences go out to the families of the victims.

Seven people lost their lives, 20 more are now seeking homes.

This is a tragedy not just for these families but also for the entire town of Cicero. They are our citizens and we take care of our citizens.

I am so proud not only by how quickly the Fire and Police Departments responded to the fire, but also at the support that our town agencies provided to the survivors of this tragic event.

The Town of Cicero placed 20 people in temporary housing for three nights, in a program we have to help victims of these kinds of tragedies.

We also provided support to help them find temporary housing as they seek to put their lives together and we are working with them now to provide them with supplemental support so they can help cover the cost of their first month's rent as they look for new housing

I also want to take a moment to praise the Fire fighters who were on the frontline putting out what was a large and destructive fire.

Three of our firemen were injured and one seriously, Shawn Ahrens. Fire fighter Ahrens was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he recovered and is now at home with his family recovering. Our hearts and our pride go out to him and to his family.

Finally, I want to assure the public that if they are in a situation where they have rented an apartment that does not have proper exits, showers, room enough to live and if it is overcrowded, for the money that might be saved, this tragedy reminds us of the price that can be paid.

I urge you if you believe you are living in these conditions to contact us and we will use the powers allowed by the Federal Government to insure that every dwelling is up to code and provides not only a kitchen, wash basin, bathroom and more but also two clearly identifiable exits.

Our investigators have been working 24/7 to determine the cause of this fire AND to investigate the circumstances of the building itself.

If any laws were broken, we intend to pursue this to the fullest extent of the law. Nothing will stop us from protecting our citizens and preventing this from happening again.

I will not have more comments about this because the fire is under an active investigation but rest assured we will get to the bottom of this tragedy so we can hopefully prevent it from happening again.

end

Cicero fights to keep their portion of property taxes low

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Cicero fights to keep their portion of property taxes low

Homeowners will be seeing increases in the first installment of their property taxes and will most likely see increases continue through the year driven by a new law in Springfield.

But Cicero Town Assessor Emilio"Emo" Cundari said that the assessment request from the Town of Cicero has decreased significantly from prior years while services will be increasing.

"We're doing our part at the Town of Cicero to hold the line. Our tax rate is actually going down compared to other taxing bodies," Cundari said.

"The Town of Cicero is doing everything possible to reduce our costs while expanding town services. Cicero tax assessments are the lowest in the suburban region. Although we are not responsible for the increases, we do have many services to help them bring down tax costs."

Both the tax rate and the total rate paid by Cicero homeowners decreased dramatically, Cundari said. Data from Cicero Chief Financial Officer Donald Schultz shows that the tax rate is almost 10 percent lower this year than last and 18.4 percent lower than 2002.

Last year, the Illinois Legislature changed the formula for taxes only in Cook County. In prior years, the County would request 50 percent of the homeowner's taxes in the Spring and then the remaining 50 percent in the Fall. But, in order to collect more money to help countywide school districts and other governmental service agencies, the legislature directed the county to collect 55 percent in the 1st installment in the Spring and collect the balance in the Fall.

"That extra 5 percent means homeowners will see more tax money collected in the first installment," Cundari said. "But with the way taxes have been increasing all around us, except in Cicero, they can probably expect taxes to go up in the second installment too for an overall increase."

Cundari said the Town of Cicero can help homeowners challenge their assessments using a simple form available at Town Hall in the Assessor's office.

"Homeowners can apply for a reduction in their property taxes through the Cook County Board of Tax Appeals. But they do not have to go downtown to file the challenge. They can obtain and complete the paperwork here and they can send it to the Tax Appeals Board,"
Cundari said.

"The Board of Tax Appeals has an average approval rating for homeowner appeals of 85 percent. Homeowners should not miss this opportunity to reduce their taxes by completing an Appeals form."

Cundari said that individuals who turn 65 can also apply to freeze their property taxes. The forms to do so are available in the Assessor's office.

Cundari noted that the Town of Cicero was also expanding public services, and continuing many services to residents that otherwise are charged in other communities.

Recently, the Town Board approved a plan to hire a fulltime dentist to provide basic dental healthcare to every citizen of the Town of Cicero, ranging from checkups, cleanings to fillings. In some cases, a small fee may be required.

The Town of Cicero also offers residents free eye care. And, the Town of Cicero assists homeowners in maintenance of their home water and sewer lines.

Cundari said that oftentimes, when comparing Cicero to neighboring communities, confusion and a lack of information makes it appear as if Cicero's taxes are higher than neighboring communities, when it fact they are lower. Cicero is unique in that is both a City Municipality and a Township, so the tax rates are added together.

When you combine the tax rates of other suburban communities with their Township taxes, the totals are higher than Cicero.

The first installments of tax bills are due March 2.

Cundari noted that the 1st Property Tax Bill of the year reflects an estimate of the year's taxes based on the prior year. The 1st installment would not reflect reductions for senior citizens or homeowner exemptions, which are included in the second installment. However, if a deduction is new, it would be reflected in the 1st Installment.

The Cicero Town Assessor's Office is located on the 2nd Floor of the Town Hall at 4949 W. Cermak Road. There is free parking in the rear (south) of the Town Hall complex in the parking garage.

end

Friday, February 12, 2010

Immigrants take Oath of Citizenship at Cicero hosted President's Day Celebration

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Immigrants take Oath of Citizenship at Cicero hosted President's Day Celebration

U.S. District Court Magistrate Maria Valdez administered the oath of citizenship to 106 immigrants from 30 different world countries at an event hosted by the Town of Cicero in conjunction with President’s Day.

The event, held at the Town of Cicero Community Center on Thursday, Feb. 11, brought cheers as the 106 new Americans raised their right hands and repeated the Oath of Allegiance, which every immigrant to America has taken since the nation’s founding.

Each of the new citizens, joined by their families, received their Certificate of Naturalization. The countries represented included Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Iran, Jordan, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Tunisia, Ukraine, USSR and Venezuela.

“I want to thank you for letting me be a part of this ceremony,” Judge Valdez told Town of Cicero officials including President Larry Dominick, Clerk Marylin Colpo, Supervisor Joe Virusso and Trustees Victor Garcia and Dennis Raleigh.

Valdez spoke about how her own ancestors came to America nearly 100 years ago, and that she became one of the first to graduate from college and become a lawyer and a federal magistrate.

Valdez told the new citizens, “This oath is the same oath, word for word, that every new citizen has taken to become a part of this country.” She added that although it requires new citizens to give up their allegiance to their former nation’s of citizenship or birth, “that does not mean you give up your culture.”

Following a video message from President Barack Obama in which he encouraged the new citizens to use their new freedoms and talents to pursue liberty and opportunity, President Dominick addressed the audience and welcomed all of the guests.

“It is a proud day. You will never forget this day. There is nothing better than to be an American citizen. We are all proud Americans and we are proud that you have worked so hard to become Americans, too and we welcome you with open arms. God bless everyone of you and congratulations,” Dominick said.

The event was capped by a keynote speech from former Town of Cicero Assessor John Kociolko who spoke about the history of the nation’s constitution and President’s Day, which honors, among other, President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln.

Four American presidents, including Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Regan were born in the month of February.

About 500 people, including the 106 new citizens, attended the ceremony.

During the ceremony, of the new citizens from Mexico, led the audience in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

end

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow removal procedures in place, citizens helping to keep Town streets clear of snow

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PUBLIC NOTICE: SNOW PLOWING/TOWING

Snow Removal Procedures are in place according to Town Ordinance Section 94-280. All vehicles impeding the snow plows will be ticketed and towed from major streets in Town: 16th Street, 26th Street, 31st Street, 35th Street, 50th Avenue (from Roosevelt to 26th Street), Laramie Avenue, Central Avenue Austin Blvd., Cermak Road, Roosevelt Road (south side) and Pershing Road (north side).

All cars in violation of the snow removal procedures of the following Thursday street route beginning at 12:01 a.m. will be TICKETED AND TOWED if parked on the streets prohibiting the snow plows to remove the snow from the streets on the following routes:


Thursday Morning Route beginning at 12:01 a.m.

1. Along Laramie (West side) from 25th Street to 39th Street
2. Along 31st Street (South side) from Lombard to Cicero Avenue
3. Along 35th Street (North side) from Laramie to Lombard
4. Along Austin Blvd (East side) from 39th Street to Roosevelt
5. Along 16th Street (South side) from Lombard to Cicero Avenue

CSO's on the midnight shift will be working with Public Works to ticket and tow all cars parked and prohibiting the removal of the snow from the Thursday Routes.

Ticketing and Towing will continue on major streets on the night sweep/plow.

Any questions please call Public Works at 652-2490 or Violations Department at ext. 274 or email parkingenf@thetownofcicero.com. All cars towed will be directed to contact the Cicero Police Department to retrieve their vehicles. Cooperation is necessary from all residents to allow for the Town to remove the snow effectively and efficiently from our streets. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cars will be ticketed and towed that impede snow removal on major Cicero streets

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Due to a Winter Storm in effect, notice is given effective at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday (Tuesday night midnite) February 10, 2010 the Town of Cicero will begin Snow Removal Procedures in place, according to Town Ordinance Section 94-280, will commence and all vehicles impeding the snow plows will be ticketed and towed.

All cars in violation of the snow removal procedures of the following Wed. street route beginning at 12:01 a.m. will be TICKETED AND TOWED if parked on the streets prohibiting the snow plows to remove the snow from the streets on the following route:

Wednesday Midnite Route 12:01 a.m.

  1. Along Laramie (East side) from 25th Street to Roosevelt Road
  2. Along 16th Street (North side) from Cicero Avenue to Lombard
  3. Along 26th Street (North side) from 50th Avenue to Central
  4. Along Cermak (South side) from Lombard to 46th Avenue

CSO’s on the midnight shift will be working with Public Works to ticket and tow all cars parked and prohibiting the removal of the snow from the Wed Midnite Routes.

Any questions please call Public Works at 652-2490 or Violations Department at ext. 274 or email parkingenf@thetownofcicero.com.

Any cars towed will be directed to contact the Cicero Police Department to retrieve their vehicles.  Cooperation is necessary from all residents to allow for the Town to remove the snow effectively and efficiently from our streets.  Thank you.

end

Friday, February 5, 2010

President Dominick on Town of Cicero efforts to strengthen street maintenance

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Larry Dominick
President

To the editor:

The Town of Cicero instituted a new ticketing policy on Sept. 1, 2009 for vehicles parked on public streets during days when streets are cleaned.

In the past, the Town of Cicero ticketed and towed cars that were not removed during this weekly street maintenance and cleaning program. Under the new program, there will be no towing unless a vehicle has received a fourth ticket.

This plan was developed as a result of a continuing program by myself and other town officials to ease the burden on our residents while also enhancing our programs to maintain the quality of our streets year round.

This involved detailed reviews by the Public Works Committee of the Town Board of Trustees, and required combining ordinances that defined policies ticketing, towing and our street maintenance programs. The final policy is the result of extensive discussions with input from Town Trustees, Department Heads and Parking Violations staff. We also received feedback at our board meetings from citizens from across the town.

Recently, we learned that the Interfaith Leadership Project is claiming that this program is the result of their protests, leafleting and efforts. In fact, while we work with every organization in the Town of Cicero to improve the services to our residents, we are dismayed at the ILP assertions. Further, ILP did not cooperate and instead engaged in strident confrontation and inflexible demands that focused more on what would benefit them rather than on what would benefit the citizens of Cicero.

Residents should know that their Town Officials are working round-the-clock to continue to make the Town of Cicero the best community in Chicagoland.

Based on the hard work of many and suggestions offered to the Public Works Committee, the Town of Cicero Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Aug. 11, 2009, to institute the following policy of ticketing and towing of vehicles on street cleaning days:

• On Sept. 1, 2009, the Town of Cicero began enforcement of its no parking prohibition on streets marked for cleaning throughout the entire year.
• On days streets are marked for cleaning, vehicles that remain parked on the street will be ticketed.
• Parking tickets for violations of the street cleaning policy will range from $50 minimum to $100 maximum.
• Vehicles committing three (3) street cleaning day parking offenses will be ticketed. A vehicle with four (4) violations will be ticketed and towed.

The Town of Cicero implemented this revised year-round street cleaning parking violation ordinance to balance the burden towing of vehicles places on Town residents who forget to move their cars, against the necessity to keep streets clear of debris and snow throughout the year. Despite ILP’s attempt to bully the Town into making abrupt and unwise changes, the Town Board’s carefully considered approach will serve residents well from this point onward.

The Town of Cicero continues to distinguish itself by offering its citizens the lowest taxes, lowest water fees and a litany of free services that other communities do only for a fee.

I was elected and re-elected on the commitment and promise of improving the quality of life for residents. The change in the parking policy on street cleaning days is a direct reflection of my vision of a “New Cicero.”

Sincerely,
Larry Dominick, President