Maine Township: Government closest to the people
Founded in 1850, Maine Township is the oldest unit of local government in the area. Maine Township’s mission is to improve the quality of life for its residents by providing services, general assistance, information, and programs in a fiscally responsible manner. During its existence, it has seen its surroundings grow from a predominantly rural farming community to a major metropolitan area with some 130,000 residents of which nearly 30,000 residents reside in the unincorporated area. For those in the unincorporated area, the Township is responsible to care for roads and bridges, permits, generally the maintenance of public safety and sanitation standards and much more. The following are some of the major areas of Maine Township government: Maine Township Board is comprised of three nonvoting members; Assessor, Highway Commissioner, and Clerk , as well as the Township Supervisor, and four Trustees, all of whom vote. The following are some of the major areas of Maine Township government:
The main role of the Assessor’s office is to serve our residents as a liaison to the Cook County Assessor’s office. The Cook County Assessor is responsible for estimating the value of your property, which determines your assessed valuation. This assessed valuation does determine the overall share of taxes you will pay.
Susan Moylan Krey was appointed unanimously to fill the vacancy left by Tom Rueckert’s passing. Using her years of experience as a realtor and Assessor training combined with her invaluable experience as a two term trustee, Susan Moylan Krey has revamped this department into a model for Townships statewide. She instituted an outreach program to our Seniors and Veterans residents to help ensure they were taking all appropriate exemptions saving these most vulnerable residents hundreds of dollars. Susie led her department in creating a similar outreach program to all our residents to inform them about her department’s ability to prepare and process their tax appeals again saving countless residents hundreds of dollars. She also instituted hosting Board of Review seminars conviently located both at Town hall and in our resident municipalities. All of this is done free to our residents.
The Maine Township Clerk’s office exists to serve a myriad of needs of Maine Township residents. We offer one-stop convenience and services at Town hall. The Clerk’s office is a local popular place for our residents to obtain Passports, both expedited and regular, along with vehicle stickers and renewals, hunting and fishing licenses and more. The Clerk’s office is also responsible for keeping the minutes of Township meetings and safeguarding important records for the Township. As a member of the three person Freedom of Information Committee, The Deputy Clerk is responsible for processing all of the Freedom of Information requests. Maine Township has been a leader in responding to such requests in a timely and thorough fashion. As Candidate for Clerk, Peter Gialamas brings his two terms of experience as a trustee with thorough knowledge of the Clerk’s operations and duties as well as a commitment to government transparency and plans to put technology to even greater use as a useful way to reach all of our Township community. Pete has demonstrated his Township leadership skills by heading up the preeminent National Night Out Against Crime annual event which he has chaired and organized for the last three years increasing attendance and awareness to over 600 residents.
Helpful related links:
Illinois State Board of Elections
Cook County Board of Elections
Walter Kazmerciak was unanimously appointed in August to fill out the term of retiring veteran Highway Commissioner Robert Provenzano. Wally brings to the job his years of expertise in budgets, fiscal restraint and responsibility practiced in his four terms as Trustee.
Wally also has a commitment to maintaining the excellent tradition of responsiveness to our Township community the Highway Department has long maintained. In addition to his budgetary acumen Wally has demonstrated his leadership by volunteering of his time to chair the popular Neighborhood Watch monthly meetings. Wally has also held leadership positions on the TOCC Board, Trustee Division. The Highway Department is responsible for successfully maintaining over 21 miles of roads, among some of most important arterial streets, and highways. Our Township streets and highways snow removal has demonstrably been an unqualified success, all done with a street staff of only six people.
Additionally, Wally pledges to continue the successful work of his predecessor in requesting and obtaining Federal and State grants to reduce the fiscal burden on our taxpayers. The Highway Department is also responsible for maintaining storm sewers, sidewalks, curbs, street signs, street sweeping, street lighting, and graffitti removal.
The Board of Trustees
This consists of the Township Supervisor and four Trustees. Together they are responsible for ensuring the Township functions and are the only voting Board members. The Supervisor is in charge of overseeing the entire Township and the Trustees along with the rest of the Board have monthly public meetings to vote on bill pay, review and pass any ordinances, all budgets, and a myriad of other duties. Additionally each Trustee has carried on a long tradition of volunteering their time in an area of interest pertinent to the needs of our residents. For example, Trustee Peter Gialamas chairs and runs the National Night Out Against Crime, Trustee Laura Morask is one of the three member Freedom of Information Act Committee, Trustee Kim Jones attends and is active in the Neighborhood Watch Committee, and Kelly Schaefer, our newest Trustee has quickly immersed herself in all issues facing our Seniors. The list of meetings is set at the beginning of the year and can be accessed at ( link to page) Longtime Veteran Carol Teschky is retiring at the end of this term as Supervisor. Current Trustee Laura Morask is the Supervisor Candidate to lead a slate comprised of our current Assessor, Highway Commissioner, Clerk Candidate Peter Gialamas, incumbent Trustees Kimberly Jones and Kelly Schaefer, rounded out with newcomers David A. Carrabotta and Susan Sweeney.
General Assistance Department
This department administers programs to assist low income individuals, families, senior citizens and persons with disabilities. Our staff will also assist in much needed referrals to Access to Care, emergency shelter, and administers the Low Income Housing Energy and Assistance Program. Our General Assistance department introduced the first ever Prescriptions savings card program; Coast to Coast Rx which is completely free to residents, costs our taxpayers nothing but provides up to 75% off of prescription drug costs. This program has saved our residents, particularly seniors on a fixed income hundreds of thousands of dollars. We also provide an Emergency Food Pantry for financially qualified township residents. The Food Pantry has long been recognized as one of the preeminent models for Food Pantries. Our pantry is the recipient of choice of numerous local school, library, and civic organizations, including the Park Ridge Annual Crop Walk, headed by Volunteer Linda Santrella. The Food Pantry is responsible for picking up, categorizing, and storing all donated food, hosts a “free” table twice a week, and delivers hundreds of Holiday meal baskets to our residents in need.
MaineStay Youth & Family Services
Provides affordable counseling and comprehensive programs focused on prevention and education. MaineStay is an award winning department notable for its innovative, low cost programs which serve to benefit another of our most vulnerable populations; Youth, and their families. MaineStay has been in the forefront of combatting bullying and sponsored several Township wide anti-hazing seminars as well as helped sponsor our popular Anti Gang Seminar for several years in an effort to reach out to vulnerable teens and their parents with safe strategies and funding for after school programs. The newly enhanced Mentoring Program pairing at-risk youth with an older volunteer mentor has been a huge success. Two years ago, the Township Board, MaineStay, and the Josselyn Center formed a strategic partnership to provide in house psychiatric services to those residents affected when Maine Center, an outside agency whom the Township had helped fund abruptly closed its doors leaving the truly vulnerable nowhere to continue their treatment needs. This innovative partnership not only filled a large need, but by bringing it in house, the Township was able to realize a huge cost savings.
This new program was created by Marty Cook and the Township Board for young adult residents struggling to remain sober and reintegrate after finishing traditional inpatient hospital stays. Youth Alcohol and drug use has been recognized nationally and locally as a significant issue that affects not only them and their families but is a huge drain on their potential for productivity in society. Our program utilized strategic partnerships with our neighboring communities, hospitals, and treatment centers to bring to life Program Director Marty Cook’s vision of that “connection” of a safe and sober alternative to alcohol use for young Maine Township residents. Marty obtained free space, and donations from area hospitals and community stakeholders who provided experts, speakers, and help. Additionally, the program provides free or low cost outings to familiarize township youth with sober alternatives and meets two-three times a week to help ensure these township residents remain sober and become productive members of society. This program has sucessfully helped young adults struggling with addiction, alcohol and related issues to connect with professional counselors and peers as a way to focus on being healthy and productive members of society. Recovery Connection went from an initial start of twenty residents to well over 70. The best part is that the program through its partnerships is able to be such a huge success while operating on a virtual shoestring budget. A remarkable innovation and success for our residents and their families.
For township residents aged 55 and older, this free program helps provides seniors with recreation, educational opportunities and social interaction to foster health and happiness in later years. The MaineStreamers also organize local, regional, national and international trips at affordable prices. Mainestreamers offers seniors a variety of fun classes, seminars, and events capped off by their signature event; the annual Swing into Spring Senior Expo.