January 8, 2009 City Council Meeting Minutes


The regular meeting of the Hickory Hills City Council was called to order by Mayor Mike Howley on Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 7:32 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers.

Pledge of Allegiance

Mayor Howley led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Upon roll call, the following were present:

  • Mayor, M. Howley
  • Aldermen
    L. DeRose
    D. Ferrero
    T. McAvoy
    M. McHugh
    J. Stachnik
    J. Szeszycki
    S. Zimmerman
  • City Treasurer, D. Schramm
  • City Attorney, V. Cainkar
  • City Engineer, T. Lang
  • Police Chief, A. Vodicka
  • Building Commissioner, G. Betcher
  • Public Works Director, L. Boettcher
  • Deputy City Clerk, D. Catizone

Clerk Jackson and Alderman Moirano were absent. There being a quorum present, the meeting was called to order.

At this time, Mayor Howley presented the winners of the 2008 Lights of Hickory Hills contest.

1st Ward

1st place
Mary Alice Tosh (Present at Meeting)
7823 W. 92nd Street

2nd place
Pamela Rose
9306 S. 78th Avenue

2nd Ward

1st place
Michael Annerino
9245 S. 85th Avenue

2nd place
Mark Gambla (Present at Meeting)
8460 W. 91st Street

3rd Ward

1st place
Frank Carrera
9153 W. 91st Place

2nd place
Brian Kovacks
9041 Chestnut Drive

4th Ward

1st place
Karpowicz Family (Present at Mtg.)
8800 S. 85th Court

2nd place
Gilligan Residence
8809 S. 85th Avenue


Alderman Stachnik moved to open the meeting to the public. Alderman Ferrero second. Aldermen DeRose, Ferrero, McAvoy, McHugh, Stachnik, Szeszycki Zimmerman aye. So approved.

Mrs. Joan Hostynski
9030 Shady Drive

Mrs. Hostynski is currently the Vice President of the Hickory Hills Senior Club. She was present to express her gratitude to the Mayor and the Council for all the help and support they have given the club over the years. Mrs. Hostynski further explained the attendance restraints at the Community Center and the waiting list procedures. She noted currently there is a waiting list of 42 and no one is denied membership. The names on the waiting list are also invited to attend trips. On Wednesday, January 14th Mrs. Hostynski will be sworn in as President of the Senior Club.

Mrs. Ursala Przybycien
9100 Primrose Lane

Mrs. Przybycien is concerned with cars parking on the sidewalk in her area. Chief Vodicka noted he will look into this matter in the spring and also place the no parking on sidewalks information in the newsletter.

Mrs. Dawn Stropnik
9031 Sycamore Drive

Mrs. Stropnik is concerned on the status of the snow plowing. She has lived here for 24 years and there has been a drastic change. Mayor Howley noted the price of salt has skyrocketed.

He noted every community is making every effort to conserve salt supplies. The City is using a sand/salt mixture. Over the last few snow storms this mixture has not worked. The City is aware of the problem and they are changing this mixture. Also, the plows have been equipped with steel blades instead of rubber. Mayor Howley stated the City will now use a higher salt content. Mr. Boettcher noted the City has 100 tons of salt and 200 tons of the premixed material. Mayor Howley noted it was not a lack of effort from the Public Works Department.

Mrs. Nancy Knutsen
8805 Willow Road

Mrs. Knutsen was also present with her concerns with the winter plowing this year. Her concern is what time the plowing begins. Mr. Boettcher stated plowing begins at 4:00 a.m. and outer streets are first for the schools, then primary streets, and then side streets. In the evenings around 8:00 p.m., a crew comes in to start the process.


Alderman McAvoy moved to close the meeting to the public. Alderman Szeszycki second. Aldermen DeRose, Ferrero, McAvoy, McHugh, Stachnik, Szeszycki Zimmerman aye. So approved.


Alderman McHugh moved to approve the minutes of the regularly scheduled meeting of December 11, 2008 as printed subject to deletions or corrections. Alderman

Zimmerman second. Aldermen DeRose, Ferrero, McAvoy, McHugh, Stachnik, Szeszycki, Zimmerman aye. So approved.



    Mayor Howley congratulated Deputy Clerk Dee Catizone for meeting all requirements and becoming a Registered Municipal Clerk through the Municipal Clerks of Illinois.

    Mayor Howley is in receipt of a temporary liquor license from St. Patricia’s Holy Name Society for their annual Super Bowl Party on February 1, 2009.

    Alderman Stachnik moved to approve a temporary liquor license for St. Patricia’s Super Bowl Party on February 1st from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. with fees waived. Alderman Szeszycki second. Aldermen DeRose, Ferrero, McAvoy, McHugh, Stachnik, Szeszycki, Zimmerman aye. So approved.

    Mayor Howley is in receipt of a request from Walgreen’s on 95th Street for a RedBox. A representative from Walgreen’s was present to answer any questions. Alderman McAvoy withdrew his objections that he voiced when this was brought before the Council in March of 2008. Chief Vodicka had no objections. Alderman McAvoy moved to approve the RedBox vending machine at both Walgreen’s. Alderman Szeszycki second. Aldermen DeRose, Ferrero, McAvoy, McHugh, Stachnik, Szeszycki, Zimmerman aye. So approved.

    Mayor Howley reported the Post Retirement Health Plan will be presented at a later date.

    Mayor Howley has received a request from the World of Fitness and the Upper Cervical Institute of Chicago to place a sign at 95th Street and Roberts Road. This sign will alert the community about the Health Fair to be held on January 24, 2009. No objections were noted.

    Mayor Howley noted he has signed an intergovernmental agreement with the tollway for the bridge work on 95th Street. This agreement was approved by Attorney Cainkar this evening.

    Mayor Howley reminded the Council the City will be hosting a tax appeal seminar at the Community Center on Monday, January 12, 2009.

    At this time, Treasurer Schramm reviewed the water and sewer proposed billing rate increases to be effective February 1, 2009.

    Treasurer Schramm explained based on the water rate increase from Justice/Willow Springs as of January 1, 2009.

    By allowing Public Works to operate the water and sewer departments at a breakeven, and to properly plan for water and sewer capital improvement projects and major water and sewer repairs, the City of Hickory Hills will need to increase rates as follows as effective February 1, 2009: 1) 10% water and sewer rate increase and a 10% monthly sewer user charge increase would get back to breakeven in 2009. Alderman Szeszycki noted he would like to review the way we do utility billing. He noted the senior rate needs to be reviewed. Treasurer Schramm stated a committee may review the utility rates. Consensus of the Council was to have the City Attorney draft a water increase ordinance of 10% across the board for the next meeting.

    Mayor Howley reported much discussion has been done regarding the snow plowing. Mr. Boettcher explained the procedures of snow plowing through the City. He also noted steel blades replaced the rubber blades. There were extenuating circumstances with the last snow fall that hampered snow removal. Mayor Howley noted Public Works is in need of an additional $75,000.00 for salt. Mr. Boettcher noted if this is purchased and the salt/sand mixture adjusted, this should get us through the balance of the year. Alderman Szeszycki moved to approve an additional $75,000.00 for salt. Alderman McHugh second. Aldermen DeRose, Ferrero, McAvoy, McHugh, Stachnik, Szeszycki, Zimmerman aye. So approved. Mr. Boettcher reported he will order the salt this Friday.


    Deputy Clerk Catizone reported the filing period for the April 7th election will be on Monday, January 19, 2009 through Monday, January 26, 2009.


    No report submitted.


    No report submitted.


    No report submitted.



    Alderman McHugh moved to approve bills payable for the first half of January 2009 in the amount of $324,422.14. Alderman Stachnik second. Aldermen DeRose, Ferrero, McAvoy, McHugh, Stachnik, Szeszycki, Zimmerman aye. So approved.


      Szeszycki – Finance

      No report submitted.

      Zimmerman – Public Safety

      Chief Vodicka presented a memo to the Council seeking approval to replace three marked squad cars used by the patrol force. The replacement of these vehicles would conform to the current three year lease replacement cycle of the marked fleet. In an effort to minimize the impact of this purchase on next year’s City budget, the Chief is recommending financing of these vehicles over a three year period. The City would recoup some revenue related to this purchase when the old vehicles are auctioned off later this year. Council consensus was to approve Chief Vodicka’s recommendation.

      Chief Vodicka distributed a quarterly report for the traffic division dated January 4, 2009.

      Moirano – Public Works

      Mr. Boettcher reported the month of December is at the top of the list for coldest and wettest month in Chicago’s records. Wet snow also started December 1st and the City then had several additional wet snow events followed immediately by ice storms. A Public Works effort to plow the ice with rubber blades was compromised. After over 20 years of using rubber blades, Public Works had to change over to steel blades. As the steel blades were added, plows were sent to plow ice and frozen snow from the center of the streets only. Public Works did not want to fill resident’s driveways. Mr. Boettcher then noted warm weather and rain arrived causing localized flooding.

      Mr. Boettcher reported a record 50+ inches of rainfall for 2008 and the 8 inch rain this fall saturated the ground and allowed frost to dive deep, which contributes to water main breaks.

      Mr. Boettcher noted most single family home inspections were concluded by end of December. A few homes have scheduled in January. Multifamily and commercial inspections will reconvene after the heavy work load of the past few months.

      McHugh – Building/Facilities

      Alderman McHugh reported that Parkview Apartments are now taking names for their waiting list.

      DeRose – Laws & Ordinances

      Alderman DeRose is in receipt of one business application for Unlimited Freight Inc located at 7667 W. 95th Street. They have been operating a business since 2006. After some discussion, it was determined a $225.00 fine in addition to $300.00 for the past licenses will be sent to this business.

      Stachnik – Health & Environmental Control/Recycling

      Alderman Stachnik reported he would like to sponsor a City initiative for recycling including conserving of resources. He distributed posters that could be placed throughout the City.

      Ferrero – Community Affairs/Youth Advisory Board

      No report submitted.

      McAvoy – Chamber/Business Development

      Alderman McAvoy reported a meeting with Commonwealth Edison will be held on Friday, January 16, 2009.




    Mr. Boettcher noted IDOT will be working on the tollway next week and closing 95th Street for a few minutes. The weather will determine what day this will be done.


    Alderman Ferrero moved to adjourn the meeting until the next regularly scheduled or specially called meeting. Alderman McAvoy second. Aldermen DeRose, Ferrero, McAvoy, McHugh, Stachnik, Szeszycki, Zimmerman aye. So approved.

    Meeting adjourned at 9:17 p.m.