Silver Lake -- Village Council on Oct. 3 approved a measure continuing Silver Lake's annual driveway snow removal program for eligible senior citizens ages 65 and older.
The program starts Nov. 15 and runs through April 15, 2017. Residents have to meet income and age or infirmity guidelines set up by the mayor, according to the legislation. $1,800 is earmarked for the program.
According to the legislation:
Residents must fill out a letter of application. The village reserves the right to ask for verification of all information in the application;
Driveways will be serviced a maximum of once in a 24-hour period;
Driveways will be serviced only after a snowfall has ended and only if that snowfall is at least 3 inches; and
Residents are not eligible for the service if an able-bodied adult who would not otherwise qualify for the program on his/her own lives in the house.
The village reserves the right to cancel or alter snow removal services if the total cost of the program exceeds $1,800 in any one year.
In addition to those requirements, Mayor Bernie Hovey said there are "salary requirements based on federal standards."
Council President Gerald Jones (At-Large) asked how the administration determines whether someone meets the income qualifications.
"We pretty much know people that are involved any that we have questions about, we just call them in and ask for verification," said Hovey.
He added that those requesting the service must fill out a form and "testify to their income."
"If we have any kind of question, we ask for their federal tax returns," noted Hovey. "We've done that in a couple instances."
Hovey said village office staff know the residents well.
"I am real confident that we do not have people out there lying and cheating on us," said Hovey.
"I'm not suggesting that," replied Jones. "I'm just wondering how we determine [whether they income-qualify]."
Hovey answered, "It's because we know the families," and because they must report their income on the application.
"They tell us, but we don't know [their income]," said Jones.
Hovey noted village officials go to the residents' homes and "see their infirmities, we see their age."
"But you don't see their tax returns," noted Jones.
"I'm real confident that we are doing the right thing," said Hovey. Sean Housley, the village's clerk-treasurer, said residents applying for the program must attest that their income is below the maximum threshold to be eligible. He added he will "spot check" some residents if it's suspected they may not be telling the truth.
"If they are determined to not be telling the truth, they could be liable because they signed the form [attesting to their income eligibility]," said Housley.