Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cicero approves credit card payments for services & fees

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Cicero approves credit card payments for services & fees

The Town of Cicero Board Tuesday approved a contract to begin accepting payments by credit cards to cover costs for services.

The new contract was bid out and Vantiv, a credit card processing company based in Cincinnati, Ohio was selected from five companies that submitted bids.

Vantiv offered the lowest processing fee of only 1.5 percent plus 5 cents per charge processed. The second lowest bid was 2 percent plus 20 cents per processed charge, said Finance Director Don Schultz.

“It’s definitely going to help not only the resident who pay their bills and service fees, but also the Town of Cicero,” Schultz said. “It’s another convenience service that we want to offer our residents.”

Vantiv also works with the Town’s Bank, which is Fifth 3rd Bank.

“Every department will have the capacity to accept credit cards,” Schultz said.

Services and fees covered include vehicle stickers, parking violations, pet tags, water bills, building permits and business licenses, Schultz said. Everything except police bond payments will be accepted, he added.


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Cicero unveils new memorial to Pearl Harbor attack, honors local hero of USS Arizona

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Cicero unveils new memorial to Pearl Harbor attack, honors local hero of USS Arizona

03-11-14BdMeetPearlHarborRelicThe Town of Cicero unveiled a new memorial honoring American Military Veterans who served and fought at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Cicero resident Joseph Philips Steffan (click here for more information) was killed while serving on the USS Arizona, which todays is a national Veteran's War Monument.
The Pearl Harbor museum donated a metal relic taken from the sunken battleship which was placed in a memorial display that the Town of Cicero Board of Trustees will soon permanently fix to the outside wall at the entrance of the Cicero Board Council Chambers.
The USS Arizona relic is rare, but because a resident of Cicero served and died in the attack on the USS Arizona, the US Military agreed to provide a relic from the ship that could serve as a reminder of the sacrifice that American military veterans make to defend their country and citizens.
"We are proud of Chief Petty Officer Joseph Philip Steffan's service to his country. He made the ultimate sacrifice and we are honored to be able to remember him and all of the veterans who have served our country," said Town President Larry Dominick.
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Cicero unveils new memorial to Pearl Harbor attack, honors local hero of USS Arizona

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Cicero unveils new memorial to Pearl Harbor attack, honors local hero of USS Arizona

The Town of Cicero unveiled a new memorial honoring American Military Veterans who served and fought at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Cicero resident Joseph Philips Steffan (click here for more information) was killed while serving on the USS Arizona, which todays is a national Veteran's War Monument.

The Pearl Harbor museum donated a metal relic taken from the sunken battleship which was placed in a memorial display that the Town of Cicero Board of Trustees will soon permanently fix to the outside wall at the entrance of the Cicero Board Council Chambers.

The USS Arizona relic is rare, but because a resident of Cicero served and died in the attack on the USS Arizona, the US Military agreed to provide a relic from the ship that could serve as a reminder of the sacrifice that American military veterans make to defend their country and citizens.

"We are proud of Chief Petty Officer Joseph Philip Steffan's service to his country. He made the ultimate sacrifice and we are honored to be able to remember him and all of the veterans who have served our country," said Town President Larry Dominick.






Cicero’s applauded for strong economic base reducing burden on taxpayers

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Cicero’s applauded for strong economic base reducing burden on taxpayers

The financial burden on taxpayers continues to increase in cities across the State of Illinois, but major financial institutions and finance associations have applauded the Town of Cicero for its strong and healthy financial basis.

In recent weeks, Cicero was notified by Standard & Poors that its Credit Rating remains at a strong A-Plus (A+) rating, and it has received three top national honors for its professional and transparent financial reporting procedures.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA), a professional association with over 17,500 members, whose purpose is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments for the public benefit by identifying and developing financial policies and best practices and promoting their use through education, training, facilitation of member networking, and leadership, has bestowed upon Cicero its three major awards in budgeting and financial reporting: The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award; The Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting; and, The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting.

Cicero Finance Director Donald Schultz said that the series of announcements have not only highlighted the strength of Cicero’s financial management on a national scale, but most recently contributed to the Town’s strong credit rating, which helped Cicero achieve a taxpayer savings of $1.5 million on its most recent bond offering.

“The Town of Cicero has the distinction of being one of only a handful of municipalities in the State of Illinois to receive all three national awards of recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association,” Schultz noted.

“The rating from Standard and Poors determines what interest rate municipalities and governments must pay in order to borrow money,” Schultz explained at a recent board meeting.

Schultz pointed out that at the time Larry Dominick was elected the Town President of Cicero, prior administrations had strapped the town with major debt borrowing in excess of $148 million, which has been reduced to $94 million, or 36.5% during Dominick’s first two terms, with no additional long term debt financings.

“It was a terrible debt to unload on Cicero taxpayers, but President Dominick immediately moved to address Cicero’s financial challenges and those efforts have been repeatedly recognized by the financial associations that matter,” Schultz said.

“By maintaining a strong credit rating, President Dominick has been able to renegotiate the loans on four separate occasions to significantly reduce interest rate charges saving taxpayers more than $5.4 million in interest debt payments.”

Schultz said that the reduction is money the taxpayers would have been forced to pay since borrowings are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the Town through real estate taxes.

The recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association only reinforces Cicero’s attention to careful long-term financial planning and its successful efforts to eliminate debt and reduce the burden on taxpayers.

Of the 485 Illinois cities and counties that are current GFOA members, only six local governments, including the Town of Cicero, have received all three awards, representing only 1.4% of eligible local units of government.

Reflected in the Town’s national recognition is the Award for Distinguished Budget Presentation for the Town’s Annual Budget for the Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2013.  In its presentation, GFOA states that the Award “reflects the commitment of the governing body and its staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.  In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation.  These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as (a) a policy document; (b) a financial plan; (c) an operations guide; and (d) a communications device.”  Cicero’s budget was rated proficient in all areas by an independent panel of GFOA national reviewers.

Following its presentation of the highly coveted Award For Distinguished Budget Presentation, GFOA presented the Town of Cicero with its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the
Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2012. “The Certificate of Achievement,” states the announcement, “is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”

The third Award presented to the Town of Cicero by GFOA was an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting for the Town’s Popular Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2012.  “The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting,” states GFOA’s award announcement, “is a prestigious national award that recognizes conformance with the highest standards for preparation of state and local government popular reports.”

“These Awards,” announced Schultz, are strong indicators of the Town’s commitment to sound financial management, long-term planning, and transparency in the reporting of the administrations goals, achievements, and results of its financial operations.


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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sandoval delivers $200,000 check to Town of Cicero for local projects

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Sandoval delivers $200,000 check to Town of Cicero for local projects


CICERO – State Senator Martin Sandoval (D-11) was the guest speaker at the Town of Cicero Board Meeting, where he presented President Larry Dominick and the Board of Trustees with a large $200K check for infrastructure improvements.

“I continue to be inspired by President Dominick and his administration by their calls to my Springfield and district office, to make sure that the people of Cicero are not forgotten.  Whether it’s the five million dollars for Morton College, or the four million dollars for the new aquatic center, the rehabilitation of the Laramie Ave. Bridge, the rehabilitation of the 31st St. Bridge, the rehabilitation of the Central Ave. overpass, or the Wirtz Beverage building – all projects that I’ve been asked to help with.” said Sen. Sandoval.  “I’m here today to award you with a check of $200K for any capital improvements you or the town see fit.”

Senator Sandoval represents the 11th Senate District, which includes the neighborhoods of Brighton Park, Clearing, Gage Park, Garfield Ridge, Little Village, West Lawn, and West Cook municipalities of Bedford Park, Burbank, Cicero, Forest View, Lyons, McCook, Stickney, Summit and Riverside.




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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cicero recognized for helping bring internet services to needy families

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Cicero recognized for helping bring internet services to needy families

Three Cicero community organizations were named as among recipients of a $25,000 grant from Comcast to help promote a program that offers low-cost broadband internet services to families and in need.

Dubbed “Internet Essentials” by Comcast, the program provides Internet access to students so they can connect to libraries, computer labs and after-school programs.

Officials at Comcast held a press conference at the Town of Cicero Tuesday to recognize several of the local community organizations and designate Town of Cicero with Comcast’s Gold Medal recognition for its support in promoting the Internet Essentials program.

“Cicero is proud to be one of the select few communities in the country to receive Gold Medal recognition from Comcast for our support,” said Cicero Town President Larry Dominick. “I want to thank everyone who helped spread the word about Internet Essentials and give broadband access at home to families who otherwise may never have been able to get it or enjoy all that benefits that come with it.”

Emilio Cundari, Cicero Town Assessor, opened the press conference with a congratulatory message from Town President Larry Dominick and the Town Board of Trustees.

“We are really proud of this partnership we have with Comcast and the Town of Cicero. It brings great things to our community and needed services to our citizens,” Cundari said.

Cundari also acknowledged students from Morton High School District 201 were also in attendance, and Morton School District 201 Supt. Michael Kuzniewski. Cundari also acknowledged support received from State Senators Martin Sandoval and Steven Landek, and State Representatives Lisa Hernandez, Silvana Tabares and Mike Zalewski.

Comcast Vice President Jack Segal expressed its gratitude to the Town of Cicero for its support and achieving a record signup of residents and students to the Internet Essentials program.

“It is the nation’s largest and most successful Internet broadband program,” Segal said. “Internet Essentials does exactly what it promises to do. … It helps kids with the school work and it helps parents find jobs.”

Segal recognized several organizations and leaders for their support including President Dominick and the Town of Cicero. Also recognized were: Mary Johnson, the executive director of Corazon; Edgar Montiel of the Boys Club of Cicero; and, Donna Adamic, Superintendent of Cicero School District 99.

Segal also announced that families can get up to 6 months of complimentary internet service if they apply for the Internet Essentials Program in the following weeks up to March 18, 2014.

To qualify, applicants must be located in a community where Comcast offers service, such as Cicero, have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, are not subscribed to Comcast Internet services during the past 90 days prior to applying, and do not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.

Families can apply by going to InternetEssentials.com online or by calling 1-855-8-INTERNET.

Segal said that Cicero had the highest number of applicants approved under the nationwide program.

Photo Caption:



From left: Mike Paulos, Government Affairs Manager; Sandra Kokenes, Webmaster and Agency Communication Specialist, Children’s Center of Cicero-Berwyn; Mary Johnson, Executive Director Corazon Community Services; Edgar Montiel, Assistant Director Boys Club of Cicero; Maria Castro, External Affairs Manager; and Jack Segal VP of Public Relations. Photo Gerardo Lopez for the Town of Cicero.


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