The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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What are strengths and weaknesses of the services your local government currently provides?

The Taxing Body Efficiency Task Force is seeking public input as it develops recommendations to identify cost efficiencies in the public services provided by the local government bodies that rely on Oak Park property taxes as a major source of funding. Public comments are being sought on the following topic through May 20, 2018:

What are strengths and weaknesses of the services your local government currently provides?

Comments are monitored and will not appear immediately.



Submitted by Maura O'Hara on

Oak Park public works, Oak Park Police & Fire generally meet my expectations for what they should be doing. Parking, not so much.

All departments can improve on communication. Letting the community what they are doing and how they prioritize projects. Resurfacing strategy, for example, doesn't seem to make sense. How does the village decide which streets/alleys are resurfaced? At one point will any individual street be re-paved?

Submitted by Judy Humowiecki on

I believe that the biggest weakness of services in Oak Park is the rate at which roads and alleys are repaired. I believe that maintaining roads is a basic service provided by any village government. I do not believe that some of the "extras"the Village provides are necessary.

As a result of poorly paved streets, I do not think that Oak Park can Proclaim itself a bike-friendly place. Many of the bike lanes, like Chicago Avenue, are entirely too narrow to bike safely. The lanes also disappear before major intersections so that bikers have to merge with cars. If Oak Park followed the example of Chicago, they would provide lanes across major intersections and around the corners. This is a very serious problem; I know that many bikers have been seriously hurt by drivers opening their doors without looking to see that a bike was passing by.

Since I have lived in Oak Park for 43 years, I could list many other complaints but these are the most important ones for me.

I do believe that both the fire department and police department are strengths in Oak Park. Whenever I needed to contact the police, they have arrived promptly and done a thorough job. I feel quite safe in the village although I know that recent problems have occurred with carjacks.

The library also provides many useful services and programs. The library personnel are very helpful.

Submitted by SJB on

Township government is redundant and unnecessary. Our "assessor" doesn't assess anything. All they do is help people submit appeals that we can easily submit ourselves without help. In fact the County provides assistance as well. I can't imagine what the assessor's office does the rest of the year.

I know the Township provides a few other services for seniors and such but the Village could easily take these over. Township government is classic Illinois government bloat. I would like to see a referendum on the ballot to abolish our township government.

Submitted by Tom Schindler on

This comment and my reply are probably more appropriate for next week's survey topic. I challenge the assertion that the Village could easily take over the services currently provided by the Township and reduce "government bloat". While the Village could certainly take over the services, they would still need comparable staff and resources to provide the same services. Costs would be shifted to the Village, but the costs would not be eliminated unless the programs were also eliminated. There certainly does not seem to be room in the Village budget to assume these additional services without a corresponding increase in revenue. And combining the different responsibilities of Township and the Village because they are both local government units would be analogous to combining a meat market and a shoe store because both are retail operations. You could do it, but neither alone would meet the needs of the other's customers without a significant additional investment.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Commit to savings and ideas. Give all village agencies and their staffs a fair chance to shoot at the savings ideas and dollar targets, then have them sign "contracts" committing to the agreed savings. If they arent't met, the savings are cut from other parts of their budget. This is tough internal work to do. After all, who wants their budgets cut? It takes village commitment to take a hard look at at their own spending to identify where to cut and how much. You can't push this back onto residents or increase property taxes to make up for shortfalls.

Those working for the village are in the best position to identify cost savings. The residents may "see" areas of savings, but we lack the deep insight that village agency personnel have.

Submitted by Patrick Brown on

Too many streets and alleys in Oak Park are in poor condition (e.g., broken or crumbled pavement, poor drainage). I would expect the village to accelerate its street/alley replacement/resurfacng schedule.

Submitted by Patrick Brown on

I have been very pleased with the service and support offered by the Oak Park Township Assessor’s office n helping me nderstand my property taxes and file appeals. They commnicate clearly and provide timely, courteous support. I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth with them.

Submitted by Patrick Brown on

I have been very pleased with the service and support offered by the Oak Park Township Assessor’s office n helping me nderstand my property taxes and file appeals. They commnicate clearly and provide timely, courteous support. I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth with them.

Submitted by John D on

As an Architect in Oak Park, I would say that the City has one of the better building departments in the area. They are reasonable, relatively quick to turn around reviews and have a good people on staff.

The new building permit fee schedule however will only limit the amount of improvements that homeowners can afford. I would caution Oak Park using from a percentage based fee and go with a flat fee that meets the needs of the department. This makes residents interactions with the city efficient, affordable, and predictable.

I would say that the public works division could benefit from moving towards competitive bid contracts. This will speed up the rate of repairs, keep prices at the market rate, and reduce village overhead.

I find the school district budgets to be exorbitant. Please consider what was done in district 210 in will county (lincoln-way school district). At the time that they were one of the best rated schools, they also were one of the most frugal. Though not popular to say, some teachers are highly overpaid, while others are grossly underpaid. A performance based compensation schedule would ensure the best teachers are clawing for an opportunity to work in Oak Park, while cutting the fat.

There is also no need to be building new facilities at the high school (like a pool) when there are excellent facilities already available in oak park (like the ridge land commons)

The last comment is simple, but often scoffed at until it's tried: Does Oak Park really need to provide a service that can be provided by the private sector? whether it is in the form of private businesses providing ample service or Oak Park bidding out work to local businesses, reductions in Oak Park's scope of services would create opportunity for businesses to grow and attract more jobs to Oak Park.

Submitted by Roberta Arnold on

I think Village of Oak Park service strengths are the police, fire department, libraries. Weaknesses are public works: much of the public works are outsourced and yet basic functions, like keeping the streets clean, do not get done well or in a timely fashion. In addition, with the proliferation of businesses and high-rise residences in Oak Park--which I support--public works has not seemed to step up its efforts to keep the busy areas trash free. I don't know what the public health department accomplishes so I don't know if we need that department. Finally, parking is far too confusing, and I am not sure why. Too much customization in various areas? I understand there will be a pilot parking program that attempts to simplify matters; I hope it is a success!

Submitted by Leslie Lauderdale on

Strengths paid for by various taxing bodies: libraries, parks, street lights, police, fire, water quality, senior support services. The Village is a generally walkable, pleasant, and safe environment to hang out with neighbors and visitors.

We are weak in bike lanes and east/west public transit - which contributes to the number of people driving and our chronic parking issues.

We are still learning to balance development with the hazards of overly-dense populations concentrated in two small areas of the Village.

Submitted by Lisa Reed on

Our OP parks, libraries, and Public Works (garbage/recycling/composting)services are all outstanding. 2 key weaknesses are daytime parking passes and spending increases. 1) Passes: Getting Day passes for 8-10am M-F restriction is inefficient and inconvenient (you need ot go in person M-F btwn 8:30-4:30 and show your driver's license. The clerk then needs to handwrite each pass. And then you pay.This should be done via app. 2_ Spending: All of our taxing bodies should immediately enact a budget freeze for 3 years (and not reduce public facing services). We need to hold the line on costs and think about how to work differently. A 3 year budget freeze (with no impact on public facing services) will incent the creative thinking we need. I can hear some say that it is not possible to freeze the budget and not reduce services. We do this every year in the private sector. We can do it here too. Most residents who work in the private sector do NOT have a pension and do not receive raises in 3%+ territory annually. I am not sure if our elected leaders and board members understand this economic reality. Enact a 3 year budget freeze immediately...with no reduction in services.

Submitted by Katherine Metz on

Slow; doesn't seem to be a priority. Sometimes wonder if it will ever be removed if I don't call. Variety - large tags visible from Harlem Ave when driving, to small ones only visible on foot. Business as well as residential areas. Let me know if you want more details; I have more than 4 years of experience reporting graffiti in different parts of village.

Submitted by Katherine Metz on

Tree protection during construction is never enforced anywhere, ever, despite ordinance requiring.
Bare spots all over the village - why can't we be fully planted like some other "Tree City USA" communities?
Lack of QA on new plantings.
Poor enforcement of damage caused by business owners who bind trees with lights, etc.

Submitted by T G on

Strengths: Composting, Oak Park assessor, number of well kept parks, quick responses from Village Hall

Weaknesses: dare I say....maybe too much community input / studies. What is the cost / price for all the studies? All public buildings should be required to compost and recycle