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Minutes With the Mayor: More Questions from Homewood Residents

Help us narrow down public questions for Homewood Village President Richard Hofeld.

Our first series of Minutes With the Mayor seems to be gaining some traction so far, but there's still a lot of questions out there. Thanks to some great feedback from our readers, we're hoping to make the second round of Minutes With the Mayor even better than the first.

Between Facebook and the Patch comments section, we've already amassed a large amount of questions from our readers. Now, we need your help to narrow it down. Which questions do you want to hear answered the most?

Please feel free to offer additional suggestions in the comment section.

  • Why does the seem to be replacing all of the "squad" cars with huge SUVs? Isn't this costing us more in fuel consumption? Isn't there away to progress forward with some hybrid or electric or something else to neutralize the true cost of an SUV?
  • Is there any interest in the vacant old Hollywood Video space?
  • What's going on with the house at the corner of Center and 191st?
  • Are you aware of all the bike thefts at the Metra station? What is the village planning on doing to stop this?
  • What's the status of the bike plan?
  • Why is the Homewood Metra station allowed to look so poor?
  • Considering the large amount of recent accidents, is there any possibility of a traffic light at Chayes and Governers Highway?
  • What's the status of the blocked-off portion of Harwood near the Dixie viaduct?
  • When is the village going to finish cutting down all the dead Ash trees?
  • How can one petition for no more section 8 housing to be utilized in so many foreclosed and abandoned houses?
  • What is being done to reduce frequent speeding on 183rd Street?

Want more Minutes With the Mayor? 

Which questions would you like Hofeld to answer?


Mr. Jack July 03, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I'd like to know why the police have changed and scrambled their radio frequency so that the public can no longer hear what's going on in our town. Seems very suspicious, especially since crime appears to have increased so much in Homewood. What are they hiding?
Bobby Breeze July 03, 2012 at 04:28 PM
All Municipal, County, and State agencies have switched from analog to digital. Broadband communication is more reliable and intergovernmentally friendly. This switch is a direct result of the communication issues experienced by the first responders during Hurricane Katrina and is lauded by Law Enforcement as long overdue.
Mr. Jack July 03, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Thank you for the answer, but this is not competely the case. I can still get almost every area municipality on a scanner except E-Comm towns.
Bobby Breeze July 03, 2012 at 04:59 PM
All communications towers are owned and maintained by the County. The above transition is still moving forward. In the very near future all analog communications will become a thing of the past. The process is simpy not as eay as "flipping a switch" where every agency makes the transition at once. This has been an ongoing process since late 2005.
Mr. Jack July 03, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Okay, I understand and appreciate the info., Bobby. Kinda sad that we can no longer hear what's happening in our towns, though, since not every significant event/crime appears to be released to the local media.
Homewood Neighbor July 03, 2012 at 05:42 PM
As for the status of removing the ash trees, feel free to attend the Tree Committee Meetings which take place on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Village Hall. To know more about your Village all you have to do is become more involved in your Village.
Ken Kozminski July 03, 2012 at 08:29 PM
TAXES...What can be done to offset the huge tax increases everyone just received? This is the largest, over $1,000 that I've ever received in my 27 years in Homewood. This spending needs to be stopped.
Phillip R Baggs July 04, 2012 at 09:52 AM
I would like to know who parks their boat in the Homewood Metra parking lot.
Mr Who July 04, 2012 at 03:07 PM
The Metra lot is privately owned and wither its the lot owners or someone who has their permission because other wise it would have been towed out a long time ago.
Mr Who July 04, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Homewood is part of E-Comm and all the communities that are part of that group switched over to the Cook County Sheriff 800 MHZ network. This is happening in several other communities. It is a secure encrypted network for many reasons a couple important reasons are officer/ operational safety in being able to communicate and not have the criminals listening in to know when the police are being dispatched. Additionally, it secures the personal information of subjects that the police are dealing with that is transmitted between the officers and dispatch. As a Ham and s scanner enthusiast I too wish I could hear but realize that it is for the best and their is no "right" to hear this traffic. Just like you would not say" I want to hear the FBI secure radio traffic too, it's my right!" I think the press does a pretty good job publishing the reports of anything important. I don't think it is necessary to hear every call the police go on.
Mr Who July 04, 2012 at 03:17 PM
@ Ken I feel your pain I almost choked when I opened the bill...can;t understand how it when up so much when my value went down so much.
Mr Who July 04, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Just an additional point. The SUV's in the Homewood Police Department are special 2-wheel drive "police package" SUV's to replace the full size Crown Victoria squads that Ford has discontinued and the Impala's were found to be too small when all the equipment was installed for most officers and almost impossible to get most arrestees in. The fuel economy is almost the same as the Crown Victoria. The 3 year cost of ownership is better than all squads available ( which includes many factors but a few are: fuel cost, maintenance , resale) There is one 4-wheel drive unit that I asked about and was informed that it was decided after squads could not get into the neighborhoods during the blizzard two winters ago that every department in village (Police,Fire, Public Works) needed one 4-wheel drive vehicle in their fleet. Additionally it is used for other off road needs that occur.
Mr Who July 04, 2012 at 03:55 PM
You can't get, Matteson, Park Forest, Richton Park, and Olymipia fields (South Comm) and Chicago Heights, Harvey, Blue Island (and all the towns they dispatch for). Tinley Park is also supposed to go to the system. There is an ever growing list of communities that are. It just makes sense, the const to replace the network equipment for most networks is in the millions and the cost to buy in to the County system is much less plus no ongoing maintenance for the network just access fees and most of the const of change over is available through federal grants for interoperability. It is a huge step forward as now agencies on the County network is able to commentate with each other (and also on State Wide Starcom Channels) which was not the case before. BTW Will county Sheriff has the same network and almost all the communities in Will County are on it. Linclonway Dispatch is but still simulcast on their old channel; but they turn the simulcast off if they wish to keep people from hearing the dispatches. I don't know what municipalities you are hearing but Network 3 which includes E-Comm, Lynwood Dispatch, and County Club Hills Dispatch is the immediate area (Homewood, Flossmoor, Glenwood, Hazel Crest, East Hazel Crest, Thorton, Lynwood, and Country Club Hills)
Phillip R Baggs July 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Who owns the Metra lot?
Alex Esche July 05, 2012 at 02:53 PM
In regards to the police SUVs: I believe it would be safer to have 4-wheel drive vehicles because police vehicles should be safe to drive in severe weather. I think having a large vehicle for police duties that would require towing or pulling is important; however, do the police vehicles have a towing hitch installed? In regards to fuel economy, I think purchasing hybrid vehicles would have been an intelligent decision. The battery power allows the department to spend less money on fuel and could save the officers time by requiring fewer fill-ups. Does the department plan to replace the vehicles after 3 years (in regards to Mr Who's comment on the 3 year cost). The 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid has a combined fuel economy of 32 mpg in the FWD (Front-wheel-drive) and 29 mpg in the AWD (All-wheel-drive) models. That's about 10 mpg more than a typical car or truck, which can save 16.66 gallons for every 1000 miles driven. If a police car drives 30000 miles in a year, that would amount to 500 gallons saved per vehicle. This amounts to a savings of $1750 per year, assuming gas costs $3.50. I believe a typical upgrade cost for a hybrid vehicle is about $5000. I see a 3 year payout for the hybrid vehicle. Could I get a response to this statement?
Mr Who July 05, 2012 at 03:08 PM
A private party. No owned or run by Village or Metra.mthey own the lots on both sides of tracks
Mr Who July 05, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Homewood replaces the vehicles on a 2-3 yearbcyclemdepending on millage. The use of electric or hybrid vehicles is not good for patrol vehicles because of the high electric draw from lights, computers radios in car video recorders, printers ECT... There are no "police package" vehicles on ,aren't that are cost effective to operate or are certified for use currently. Public works has some natural gas vehicles but again hey are not approved for patrol vehicles.( meeting state and national standards)
Mr Who July 05, 2012 at 03:18 PM
You can look up Police fleet magazine for study on costs which include purchase price and every cost to repair and operate then resale. I do not know of any hybrids that are certified for police patrol. And the escape is a little small once you add all the equipment then an officer with all their gear on.
Jennifer Novak Chan July 05, 2012 at 03:44 PM
The answer to the 'petition for no more Section 8 question' is 'no'.
Alex Esche July 05, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I looked at Police Fleet for more information, here's an article on the end of the CVPI: http://www.hendonpub.com/resources/articlearchive/details.aspx?ID=208380 Here is an article where a police officer is using a Ford Escape hybrid: http://www.hybridcars.com/fleets/hybrid-police-cruisers.html
Chester Rook July 05, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Northern Illinois University's police department in DeKalb uses Toyota Priuses in their fleet. I'm not sure how well that would work in the H-F area, but at least we know it works for some departments: http://www.flickr.com/photos/82046831@N00/2727150194/
Junglejim July 05, 2012 at 07:54 PM
The referendum on the April 5 ballot allowed District 153 to borrow $7.5 million to be paid back within seven years to the district’s savings account. Homeowners will pay an extra $100 on their property tax bill for every $100,000 of their home’s value.
Mr Who July 05, 2012 at 11:01 PM
The issues here are departments where they do not need "police certified vehicles" where they dont need them like many college police departments as listed in the the article:The change is also occurring with college campus police departments, which don’t need vehicles with the police package. "Northern Illinois University is one of several schools patrolled by Toyota Priuses instead of Ford Crown Victorias." Read some of the comments from oficers on the use of those type of vehicles, the Hybrids mighrt be fine for Community Service Officers, and adminstrators but not patrol vehiclles. Not until they have been certified for such a use. Trust me the standard vehicle cannont withstand a life as a patrol fleet vehilce. Maybe someday when the technology is updated enough and they build a hybrid vehilce that will hold up to regular street police work will that be feeseable. I understand your point @Chester and @Alex but you can not use standard civilian vehicles and use them in patrol work they wont stand up higher costs in repair and replacement and risk management carriers would not insure them for such work, or would charge higher rates. Here is the linke for the Michigan State Police Vehicle testing, http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123--16274--,00.html.
Mr Who July 05, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Found the article for you about Police Tahoe cost of ownership entitled "Tahoe Has Lowest Lifecycle Cost" http://www.hendonpub.com/resources/articlearchive/details.aspx?ID=207862
Phillip R Baggs July 06, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Not, "who doesn't own the lots", who owns the lots?
Pat Rinkenberger July 06, 2012 at 03:35 PM
What can be done to reduce the number of homes sold to Chicago churches who bring multiple non-related children to live in them during the week? We the taxpayers are educating them, providing special needs services, yet no property taxes are generated because they are church owned. I have no problem with people wanting a good education for their children but all homes should pay property taxes for services provided by our community.
Phillip R Baggs July 06, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I'm first Higgs. Who owns the metra lots?
Doug July 07, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Higgs? Where ya been all this time?
Phillip R Baggs July 07, 2012 at 02:44 AM
The lot on the west side of the tax is 18041 Park Ave. The Sparenbergs are listed on the tax records. I don't see an address for the lot on the other side of the tracks.

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