Oak Lawn to receive service fees from Christ Medical Center
By Bob Rakow Correspondent August 22, 2013 4:08PM
Updated: August 22, 2013 4:08PM
Sandra Bury drew significant applause during April’s mayoral debate when she said that Christ Medical Center should pay impact fees to help offset the cost of village services.
“The burden of their success should not fall on the village,” Bury said during the debate with then Mayor Dave Heilmann who lost his bid for re-election to Bury.
Four months later, the hospital has agreed to pay the village $3.2 million in service fees.
The hospital agreed to pay $2 million in building permit fees and $1.2 million in service fees over the next three years. The village will receive $167,000 in 2014 and $500,000 in 2015 and in 2016.
“This represents years of negotiations,” Bury said at a recent village board meeting. “It’s big, big news for Oak Lawn and the hospital.”
“I’m glad to say the hospital is partnering with the village to pay their fair share,” Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) said.
Olejniczak has long supported impact fees to offset the cost of village services that the hospital relies on, including emergency services and public works.
“We all do benefit from the hospital,” he said. “No one is anti-hospital. I am very, very excited.”
Trustees Bob Streit (3rd) and Carol Quinlan (5th) said they were unaware of the fee arrangement prior to the meeting.
“I know a couple of board members who don’t know anything about it,” Streit said.
He said the hospital “got off easy with this agreement.”
Trustee Terry Vorderer, whose 4th district includes the hospital, credited his predecessor, Tom Duhig, for “leading the charge” in initial negotiations with the hospital. “This was just the opening agreement,” Vorderer said.
Negotiations with the hospital for an impact fee stalled in late 2012 when the previous board voted to partner with the hospital to build a senior/community wellness center on vacant property near the center of town.
Heilmann said a wellness center would have a greater lasting impact on the village.
Preliminary plans called for the facility to house a new senior center, fitness center, lap pool and meeting rooms and would offer services provided by the hospital, including nutritionists, nurses and other medical professionals