Thursday, December 15, 2005

(Almost) Free Money

If you live in a condo development that has to pay for its own scavenger service (trash), the City of Chicago Department of Finance offers a program that will reimburse your association for a majority of your bill.

This period of reimbursement can either be for six months or a year and you have up to a year to apply for the previous period. All of the information can be found by clicking this link.

It's a great program but I've found few associations in my neck of the woods who know about its existence. Apparently someone must know as our applications for 2003 and 2004 were initially submitted in January of 2005 and we're just now getting the check for 2003. Go figure.

Even though it's a great program and I'm sure all interested parties read the instructions via the link in a through manner, here are a few things to remember:

1. You have to file a copy of you scavenger service agreement AND a detailed total of your trash bill for the period you're applying.

2. When your association is applying for the first time the application must have the previous year's trash bill (i.e. If you’re apply for 2005, you must also submit the 2004 bill) and a copy of a recycling certificate (check the instructions on the Finance Department’s website)

3. A governing board resolution must accompany the application authorizing the association’s application for the program. For example purposes a sample is included on the refuse rebate link.

4. When you get all of this together, it must be submitted to your alderman's office who in turn submits it to the city council. If I'm correct, they it needs to be approved for payment by the City's Finance Department; once that happens the checks are cut in the order of approval.

In short, don't hold your breath waiting for the cash to roll in. But make no mistake---unless the city scraps the program---the cash will eventually get to the association.

It's more annoyance than work but in the end a couple of hundred (or thousand) bucks may mean the difference between raising assessments or not raising assessments.

Just trying to share the knowledge---now go get your Benjamins!

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