Citywide Rodent Task Force
Dear Neighbors,

Today, the Mayor's Office and Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation announced the creation of  a Rodent Task Force, a public education outreach program, and the addition of 10 new crews to the Bureau of Rodent Control, with a response goal of no more than five days on all baiting requests.

The establishment of the Rodent Task Force will create a multi-pronged approach among City agencies to both curb rodent populations before they've settled, and address preexisting problems with greater coordination and efficacy. These measures complement our current approach to rodent abatement and give even more strength to the ordinance  we passed in January 2015, which established additional pest control commitments from developers before they break ground. 

Tips for neighbors on limiting rodents' access to food sources include:
  • Keeping garbage contained within closed carts, bins, or dumpsters     
  • Cleaning up after pets and making sure waste is disposed in sealed containers
  • Not leaving uncovered pet food outdoors
  • Removing old tires, lumber, or other debris piles
  • Weeding and throwing away rotting fruits and vegetables from gardens
  • Maintaining bird feeders 
With major construction ramping up in the 43rd Ward and across Chicago this spring, a comprehensive and aggressive approach is welcome news for residents.  I'm very pleased with these developments and look forward to enjoying this summer in the 43rd Ward with confidence that the City and its residents will work in partnership to keep the ward as free from rodents as possible. 
(L-R: Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Williams and Alderman Smith at today's press conference announcing increased rodent abatement measures)

Garbage Collection Fees

Effective January 1, 2016, the City of Chicago implemented a garbage hauling fee . Residents who receive garbage collection service provided by the Department of Streets and Sanitation will now be charged a garbage service fee of $9.50 per month per unit, appearing as a line item on the property water bill. 

The garbage fee billing cycle aligns with your current water and sewer billing schedule, and the unified utility bill allows you to receive one bill and make one payment for each billing cycle.

The first unified utility bills for non-metered accounts were sent out in April and contain charges for water and sewer services from the past six months, and garbage collection from January through April of 2016. To allow for property owners to adjust their budget planning, Chicago is waiving all late payment penalties for 2016 for the garbage fee portion of your utility bill. All water and sewerage fees will continue to be adjusted for late payment.

The City of Chicago has an  online form  to ensure Chicago residences are accurately billed for garbage collection provided by the Department of Streets and Sanitation. This allows residents to check the number of dwelling units currently identified at their property and update the number where necessary. 

A 50% discount rate ($4.75 per month per unit) is available to qualifying seniors enrolled in the Cook County Assessor's Senior Freeze Exemption program. If you receive this exemption, the discount will be applied to the garbage fee on your utility bill automatically. Click here  for the program information and form.

Garbage and Recycling Collection Schedule

As of April 6, 2016 , the majority of the 43rd Ward garbage pickup day changed from Tuesdays to Wednesdayswith a small area bounded by Lakewood, Fullerton, Racine, Webster moved to Thursdays. Recycling, which is collected every other week, will remain the same except for curbside pickup, which will also be collected on Wednesdays.  Click here  to view the 43rd Ward collection map. 

Street Sweeping Schedule
Street sweeping began April 1st. Sweeping locations are assigned on a five to six week rotation.  Click here  to view the 2016 schedule.

Home Buyer Assistance Program

Last month, the  Chicago City Council approved the Home Buyer Assistance Program, designed to  strengthen Chicago's neighborhoods and  remove financial barriers to home ownership.

The program, administered by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, is open to families or individuals who are buying a home or refinancing an existing mortgage, and will offer grants to eligible home buyers and borrowers to support down payment and closing costs. To learn more, sign up on City Treasurer Kurt Summers' website.

North Avenue Pedestrian Bridge Rehabilitation

On April 11th , CDOT began rehabilitating the Lake Shore Drive pedestrian bridge that connects Lincoln Park to North Avenue Beach over Lake Shore Drive. The bridge will be closed during construction, and there will be lane closures on LSD beginning April 18th. Two lanes of traffic will remain open during the project, which is scheduled to wrap June 30th.  Click here  for more information about the project and traffic impact. 

Friends of Newberry Car Wash

Get your car cleaned while supporting Newberry teams. Friends of Newberry Academy is hosting a car wash in the school's parking lot, 700 W. Wisconsin,  on April 13th  from 11 AM - 3 PM to raise funds for after school programs. Donations of t-shirts, soft towels, old kid's robes, and other cleaning supplies are gladly accepted. Washes are $10 per car, and refreshments are available for purchase. 

LPHS Music Department Performance of Requiem

Enjoy an evening of music performed by members of the Lincoln Park High School choir, band, and orchestra together in  Requiem by John Rutter. Thursday, April 14th at 7:30 PM at St. Josaphat's Church, 2311 N. Southport. Free to the public.

Visual Histories: The Chicago Imagists and Roger Brown

On Saturday,  April 16 from 2 - 3 PM, t he Lincoln Park Branch Library will host Visual Histories: The Chicago Imagists and Roger Brown .  Speakers include Lisa Stone, curator of the Roger Brown Study Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Chicago historian Rob Buerglener. Call the branch at  (312) 744-1926  for additional information.

Dabble Kids' Earth Day Workshop & Art Exhibit 

Join  Dabble Kids on April 16th  for a fun-filled day  painting nature scenes, learning about conservation, and  planting native wildflowers at the Midwest Buddhist Temple's Legacy Garden. Before working in the garden, the monks will lead a special guided tour of the Temple and teach about its architecture and rich history.  The Buddhist Temple tour and planting from 12 - 1:30 PM is free; the art workshop at 9 - 12 PM is $60. For details and registration, sign up here.

Property Tax Appeal Update
The Cook County Assessor's Office is now accepting property tax assessment appeals for homeowners in Lakeview Township, which includes all homes in the 43rd Ward north of Fullerton Ave. Homeowners may appeal their property tax assessment online here, or they may contact Commissioner Gainer's Office at 312-603-4210 or . The appeals deadline is May 6th.

Coffee with the Commander

Commander George Devereux of the 18th District will be at Eva's Cafe, 1447 N. Sedgwick, on Wednesday,  April 20th  at 9:30 AM to  chat with neighbors about  community safety. This is a new program sponsored by the Near North Unity Program that will take place on the third Wednesday of every month.

Michele Signature

Michele Smith
Alderman, 43rd Ward