After Supercell Storm, Proviso Mayors Warn Against Scammers, Waive Permit Fees, Explore Federal Relief 

A fallen tree limb rests on power line and fencing outside of a home on Kent Street in Westchester. | File 

Monday, June 20, 2022 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Several days after a rare supercell storm ravaged much of Proviso Township on June 13, elected officials in some of the suburbs most directly affected by the storm were warning residents against home repair scams, waiving permitting fees, exploring federal relief and praising the first responders who braved 100-degree temperatures during the emergency response. 

Nick Steker, Westchester’s acting village president, declared a local state of emergency the day of the storm. Two days later, the mayors of Broadview and Bellwood announced that they had filed local states of emergency in their villages, as well.

In a statement released June 15, Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson said the emergency declaration “will make our community eligible for financial assistance to aid our recovery.” 

During a special meeting on June 17, Steker, a battalion chief with the Franklin Park Fire Department, said there’s a threshold for qualifying for federal relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which he estimated is approximately $19 million. 

“Westchester alone won’t meet that,” he said, but added that by collaborating with Cook County government and area suburbs, the village “might be able to get some relief.” 

Steker said that area mayors were scheduled to meet about possible financial relief measures on Wednesday, June 22.

Meanwhile, both Westchester and Broadview announced that they will be waiving permit fees for the next 60 days. 

Broadview is waiving all fence, tree and roof permits, with Mayor Thompson urging affected residents to keep all receipts of tree removal, roof and fence repairs, and food purchases. 

“Also, make sure that your contractor is registered with the Village of Broadview as they will still need to pull the permit but the fees will be waived,” the mayor said. 

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Steker said that, although Westchester will be waiving permit fees, residents shouldn’t mistake the fee waiver for a pass to avoid getting the permits altogether. 

“We want to make sure we are encouraging people to still get their permits,” Steker said on June 17, adding that the village will still be checking to make sure work sites are inspected and permitted, and that contractors are licensed and bonded. 

“Unfortunately, during these times you get the storm-chasers,” Steker said, warning residents of possible scams related to home repairs. 

Greg Hribal, Westchester’s acting village manager, said that he’s already been notified of shady players going door-to-door in the village to inspect roofs. Hribal reminded residents that the village requires all solicitors to get permits and to undergo background checks by the police department. 

Hribal said that all residents who encounter solicitors should make sure that they show a badge medallion, which is typically attached to the shirt. 

“We are warning residents to avoid roofing scams by only utilizing a registered village contractor,” Westchester village officials explained in a Facebook post. 

“Please contact the building department before signing any contract to verify that the company you are signing an agreement with is registered,” officials said. “[The building department] can be contacted at (708) 345-0199.” 

During Friday’s meeting, Westchester board members praised those who responded after Monday’s storm, including police officers, firefighters, EMT personnel, emergency dispatchers, public works employees, village front office employees, Hribal and Acting President Steker. 

“Everyone stepped up more than expected,” said Westchester Trustee Robert Morales. 

“Trying times like these truly show the leaders we have are the right leaders in place at a time that we really need them right now in Westchester,” Morales said. “It’s been a difficult couple of months, but I believe this has brought the best out in our town.” 

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