Ridgewood offers D-80 advice on expense, finance management

Maintain buildings, watch expenses, D-234 officials tell District 80

D-234 board president and business manager talk D-234 finances

District 80’s finance committee heard from Ridgewood District 234’s business manager and board president on how they manage the District’s expenses, including recovering from a financial crisis in 2009-2010.

234 board president Paul Draniczarek urged District 80 to maintain its buildings, saying that if they were not maintained, the eventual cost to fix major issues would be much higher in the long run.

“You’ve got to maintain, because that keeps you from having the catastrophic problems, spending a lot more money later” Draniczarek said.

He also recommended District 80 spread maintenance spending out over time, instead of doing everything at once.

“You try to schedule out things so that you … are not spending $3 million in capital improvements one year, and $100,000 the next year”, Draniczarek added.

He said District 234 splits up maintenance into pieces so they can budget for it “as long as you have a good comprehensive inventory of what needs to be done”.

“I think that’s key from a building perspective”, Draniczarek said.

Despite burning nearly $8 million from a $10 million dollar reserve since 2011, District 80 had not spent the money for capital improvements, instead using it to fund new programs that the District could not fund from their yearly operating revenue.

Board Member Frank Tribuzio asked if District 80 should perform a “forensic audit”, to find out where the money went, a campaign issue made by other board members.

Draniczarek threw cold water on that idea. “What’s done is done” Draniczarek said.

“What you need to do is get yourself on the right track”.

“Find a way to go forward” Draniczarek added. “Going back and pointing fingers… I don’t think really serves any purpose”.

District 234 is moving forward with a feasability study to potentially combine Districts 234, 80, and Union Ridge District 86.

Recording of the October 16 2019 District 80 Finance Committee Meeting (full video, 1 hour 37 minutes)

Dunkin Donuts drive through may be coming to Norridge

New Dunkin Donuts on Cumberland will be drive-through only, existing location to remain

New Dunkin Donuts drive-through only

The Norridge Zoning board has given its approval for a drive-through only Dunkin Donuts on Cumberland Ave, on the vacant property between Physician’s Immediate Care and oil change shop Northwest Lube.

Dunkin Donuts franchise owner Haresh Patel’s zoning petition sought a special variance use of a drive through at that location, which is not currently allowed under Norridge business zoning.

The 700 square foot building will not have a seating area, and will not allow walk ins.

The location will be just a quarter of a mile south of an existing Dunkin Donuts location on the same side of Cumberland.

The developer of the new location indicated the existing Dunkin Donuts will not be closed, and is slated to be remodeled in January 2020.

Residents brought up concerns about gas pipe fumes drifting over to their property, as well as the close proximity of the property fence to the alley.

The Zoning board also recommended the Village change it’s B-2 zoning policy to allow all B-2 zoned properties to allow drive-throughs by default.

Village Engineer Brian Gaseor stated this has been an oft-made request of food service companies throughout the Village.

Both zoning changes will now move to the Village Board for final approval.

Recording of the October 7 2019 Village of Norridge Zoning Meeting (30 minutes – section of meeting concerning the Dunkin Donuts)

Fire trustee caught stealing medical supplies

Norwood Park fire department trustee Andrew Skyba was censured for taking medical supplies earmarked for flu shots

Skyba (right) and his buddy, fellow fire trustee Frank Avino, in August 2019

This coming Saturday, October 5th, free flu shots are being made available by the Norwood Park fire department for local residents.

During last year’s flu shots, there was some excitement as medical supplies mysteriously vanished from the firehouse.

Surveillance footage of Andrew Skyba

The mystery was solved once fire employees reviewed video surveillance. Camera footage revealed an individual dressed in a sports jacket, baseball cap, and dark glasses entering and leaving the building at the time the thefts occurred.

Looking closely at the identify of the thief however, produced the realization that the perpetrator was actually one of their own – longtime fire department trustee Andrew Skyba.

When confronted, Skyba admitted taking the supplies. Offered a choice to resign or the department would press charges against him, Skyba arrogantly refused to resign. Instead, he returned the supplies.

The Norwood Park fire board was unable to impeach him due to the dollar amount being under the threshold of a felony… or so they claim.

And although a police report was made, it appears Skyba was never actually charged with anything.

Ultimately, the only action the fire department made was censuring Skyba – hardly even a slap on the wrist. In other words, no meaningful consequences.

The cash value of a box of 100 band-aids is minuscule. But theft is theft. Why wasn’t Skyba charged with even a misdemeanor?

Every few weeks we see the police blotter showing criminals being arrested and charged with petty theft at stores throughout Norridge.

Who other than the always-protected political class can just go in, take something that wasn’t theirs, get caught, then “return” it – with NO criminal sanction whatsoever by the local PD?

Based on his political activity, Skyba seems to have ties to Democratic operatives… AND somebody who loves taking more and more taxpayer money every chance he gets: Illinois governor JB Pritzker.

Skyba has ties to… billionaire Governor JB Pritzker?

Voters should send the thief packing

Skyba has been trustee since 1989. If the fire board is unwilling or unable to remove Skyba, then voters should see to it that he is not re-elected to this or any other position. Forever.

A focused challenger shouldn’t have any trouble defeating the perpetrator of “bandaid-gate”.

If Skyba had any shame, he would have resigned, or at least not seek re-election when his term is up.

In the meantime… since Pritzker saved all that property tax money “de-toileting” one of his homes… maybe the governor can gift this poor man a box of bandages?


Excessive property damage in SWAT team raid, resident says

Renter of “Johnathan Reyes incident” home requests Village reimburse her over excessive property damage by police

Kathleen Smith says she is the renter of the home on the 4000 block of Oleander where the Johnathan Reyes incident took place.

Kathleen Smith: “please take responsibility for the destruction at my house”

Her son, who is a heart transplant patient and currently suffering from transplant rejection, was an acquaintance of Reyes, and allowed him in the house.

Smith said when she came home she cooperated with the police in order to get Reyes out of her house. “At this time we told them Mr Reyes was hiding in the basement”.

She said the officer who was in her house “took my son at gunpoint to the basement to look for the suspect”.

Had Reyes come out shooting, it would have been her son that got shot, Smith added.

More police officers arrived including a SWAT team, and at 4:30 PM, “SWAT decided to rip down my Ring doorbell [camera] and toss it on the ground.” The officer uttered “profanities” as he was ripping the camera doorbell to the ground, Smith said.

Police broke her bedroom and bathroom windows, even through she had provided the keys to her locked bedroom to the police.

Smith stated that while she “understood the magnitude of what happened”, she was in disbelief of the excessive force and destruction that was done to her residence.

“I plead to you, the Village of Norridge, to please take responsibility for the destruction at my house, and cover the expenses for my windows and doors that are boarded up, now leaving me feeling very unsafe”.

“I did nothing but comply with the police officers”, Smith said, visibly upset. “And I feel like I am now the victim”.

Interim Village President Tannhauser and “Village Administrator” Skupien responded, saying they would need to talk to their insurance company about this issue.

Other highlights

Daniel Tannhauser “officially” resigned his trustee position, and the Village board immediately voted to nominate Andrew Ronstadt of the village zoning board as Tannhauser’s replacement.

The Village did not inform the members of the public of the vacancy, nor did they accept any applications for the position. This contrasts with District 80, which opened up its vacancy to all applicants in 2017 after Adam McGready abandoned his board seat.

Ronstadt is a member of the Norridge Improvement Party.

The Village is now offering online payment of water bills… for a hefty $3 fee.

Recording of the September 25 2019 Village of Norridge Board Meeting (21 minutes)