Building Department FAQ's
Q: What work can I do on my own home?
A: If the house is your primary residence, you can do any work including carpentry, electrical and plumbing work, with the exception of electrical service upgrades and new sewer or water service work. Electrical and plumbing systems are very complicated. An owner must demonstrate he is capable of doing the work. If you receive a "home owner" permit, you must be the one doing the work. If you are caught hiring a contractor, there will be a fine.
Q: Who can I hire to do work on my home?
A: Only contractors who are licensed and bonded in the City of Berwyn.
Q: What work can I do to my commercial building?
A: Anything other than plumbing, electrical and HVAC work.
Q: Do I need drawings for a permit.
A: Yes. Preferably professional drawings. Professional drawings are required for any commercial work.
Q: Do I need a compliance inspection before I sell my home?
A: Yes. All buildings sold require compliance inspections to assure compliance with safety and building codes. Any building violations require correction prior to the sale. A building may be sold "as-is" if the buyer puts up a $1500.00 escrow for work valued over $3000.00, and promises to make repairs within 90 days. Work valued less than $3000.00 will require the buyer to produce an attorney's affidavit stating the buyer will make the required repairs within 90 days.
City Clerk FAQ's
Q: Freedom of Information-Request forms.
A: Provided in house or may be faxed to individual or business.
Q: Voter Registration information?
A: See City Clerk's website or physically come in to register in Clerk's office.
Q: Name and phone number of my Alderman?
A: See website or information will be provided by Clerk's office.
Q: What Ward and Precinct am I in?
A: Information provided by phone.
Q: Request information on current ordinances?
A: See Clerk's website under code of ordinances or available in the Clerk's office.
Q: Request information on block parties, tag and candy days, special events that require Council approval?
A:Signature forms for block parties available in Clerk's office. Organizations requesting special fund raising events must submit letter from organization to the Mayor and City Council for approval.
Q: Copies of City Council or Committee of the Whole minutes & agendas?
A: See Clerk's website or available in Clerk's office.
Q: What is the procedure to obtaining Real Estate Transfer stamps?
A: An inspection of the property should be ordered through the building department. A final water bill reading should be done 3-5 days before closing and scheduled through the water department. Stamps are $10 per thousand dollars of property value. The original deed for the closing. State and County tax declaration forms. Payment accepted is cash, certified check, attorney check (not their personal account, must say Attorney at Law on check) and credit card.
Q: What is the procedure to obtain exempt stamps?
A: If original owners are coming off title and new people going on, they do need an inspection of the property through the building department. The water bill must be paid up to date and there can be no other outstanding debt to the city (fines on property, parking tickets, etc.) for the individual(s) coming off title. The quit claim deed, trust agreement (if it is in a trust or coming out of a trust). Attorney's affidavit if someone is coming off title indicating no money is being exchanged. The Berwyn transfer form completed and a $100 fee for the transaction.
Q: What is needed to become licensed as a contractor?
A: Fill out a business license application form, a surety bond and certificate of insurance. If you are a corporation, a copy of corporation papers, copy of your drivers license. Check with the Collector's office on specific contractor licenses as different types of contractors have different requirements for bond and wording on insurance certificates. Contractor licensing fees vary by type of contractor.
Q: What is needed to become licensed as a business in Berwyn?
A: Fill out a business license application and pick up a checklist of documents that will be needed before the license can be issued. After the application is complete, call the Collectors Office at 708-788-2660 Ext. 3140, to go over requirement document and obtain information relating to the Business Licenses. Once all documents have been submitted, inspections will be done on the premises and after compliance, the license fee will be determined. Once paid, the Business License will be issued. Business Licenses are valid from January 1st through December 31st of each year.
Q: What do I need to get a vehicle sticker?
A: Vehicle registration with your current Berwyn address, which will show proof of license plate number and a valid driver's license. If you have recently moved to Berwyn, you must show an updated vehicle registration with the new Berwyn address. Changes to your vehicle registration can be made at the Secretary of State or Currency Exchange.
Q: Why can't I get a vehicle sticker with a temporary plate?
A: Because your permanent license plate number will be different from your temporary license plate number. You have 30 days to purchase a vehicle sticker once you receive your permanent license plates.
Q: Do I have to purchase a new vehicle sticker if I sell my car and purchase a new one?
A: No. Peel the old sticker off the car before you sell it and bring the registration from your new car and we will transfer your old information to your new vehicle for a cost of $10.00.
Q: What do you need to get a library card?
A: You need to be a Berwyn resident. Bring in two (2) IDs, one from each column below. Both IDs need to have your name and current address. If you only have one form of ID we will mail you your card. The process is fast and easy – we can issue you a card in less than 5 minutes. Column A
Valid Driver's License
Valid State ID Column B
Current Utility Bill
Checkbook with printed address
Current auto registration
Auto insurance with printed address
Q: What is the checkout or loan period?
A: The library has two loan periods: videos and DVDs have a one (1) week loan period and all other materials can be checked out for three (3) weeks. There is a one-time renewal for an additional three (3) weeks for materials without holds excluding videos and DVDs.
Q: How do I access the library's website from home?
is our URL. You can sign up for adult programs, access many of our databases, check your library card record (renew materials on-line), place holds on materials, access book lists, view video footage for some of our programs and download audio books. Our site is under construction, so check back often to see some of the site's improvements.
Q: What type of computer services does the library offer?
A: The Computer Services Department is located on the second floor of the library. Public Internet access is issued on a first-come-first-served basis to residents and non-residents alike. Users of our computers can have a total of three (3), one hour sessions per day. If other patrons are waiting, only one hour sessions will be allowed. There are additional terminals (for research and job searching) as well as a fax service in our Reference Department located on the lower level.
Q: Does the library accept donations?
A: The library accepts contributions of new and used materials. We use donations to supplement our collections or sell them in our on-going and annual book sale. The books are priced by library staff and all proceeds benefit the library. Bring your fiction and non-fiction, preschool to adult paperbacks and hardbound books, videos and DVDs, and music CDs to the library during any of our open hours. Please no condensed books or National Geographics.
Q: How can I support my library?
A: There are three ways to support the Berwyn Public Library.
– Join the Friends of the Berwyn Public Library –
The Friends is a non-profit and educational organization. Membership is open to all persons interested in the improvement and growth of library services. The organization's objectives are: focusing public attention on the library, stimulating use of the library's resources and services, and generating financial support through book sales, programs and membership dues. If you would like to participate in the future of your library, join this vibrant group that provides extra programming, equipment and services not covered by the library's regular operating budget. Membership applications are available at the library or to have one mailed or emailed contact the Outreach Department at 708-795-8000, ext. 3020.
– Memorials and Pathway to Knowledge –
Remember a loved one, celebrate a wedding, anniversary, graduation, birth of a child or just honor someone special in your life with a beautiful book, especially chosen to reflect the person or occasion it commemorates or have a brick laid in the library's Pathway to Knowledge. The pathway continues to honor individuals each time they or their families enter the library or a book will be added to our permanent collection to be enjoyed by others while serving as a reminder of the person or occasion you are honoring. Either choice is a lasting remembrance. For additional information please call Barbara Ziemba at 708-795-8000 ext. 3029.
– Monetary donations –
The library accepts monetary contributions that can be used for specific projects. Please contact the library's Director, at 708-795-8000 ext. 3032 for additional information.
Building Department Blight Division FAQ's
Q: If I see graffiti on my garage or on a neighbor's, what can I do?
A: Contact the Berwyn Graffiti Hot Line at 708-795-5628. They will be able to help you with the removal of the graffiti.
Q: Who do I need to contact about zoning violations with regards to apartments being illegally occupied?
A: Contact the Department of Neighborhood affairs at 708-788-2660 ext 3211.
Q: When I report a zoning violation or a blight situation, do I need to provide my name, phone number, or address?
A: It is not necessary to provide your information. Any information you provide will remain confidential with the city.
Q: When can I put my garbage out? Why must it be placed in the containers?
A: Your garbage can be placed in the approved containers supplied by our waste hauler at any time. The lid must be securely attached and closed at all times. Placing it in the approved closed containers prevents infestation of pests and keeps our city clean.
Q: Why are there so many cars parked on my street without city vehicle stickers?
A: This is a question that needs to be directed to the Berwyn Police Department. When there are numerous vehicles without City stickers or are unlicensed on the street, contact the Berwyn Police Department at 708-795-5600. If the vehicle(s) in question is on private property (driveway, carport, back yard), please contact The Department of Neighborhood Affairs at 708-788-2660 ext. 3211
Public Works FAQ's
Pubic Works Forestry Department
Q: Who takes care of my parkway tree?
A: On a rotating basis, City crews periodically prune parkway trees throughout the City. Watering, pest control, etc. are the responsibility of the homeowner.
Q: May I remove a parkway tree if I decide I don't like it?
A: All tree removal in the right-of-way must be approved by the Director of Public Works who can be contacted at 708-749-4700
Q: Why does my new tree have wrap on it?
A: After the City plants a tree an insulation wrap is provided to aid during winter weather preventing damage to the bark on young trees.
Q: Is it all right to prune my parkway tree?
A: Homeowners should not attempt to prune parkway trees. As parkway trees are in the City right-of-way, they are the responsibility of Public Works. These trees are trimmed to specific specifications. The City has contractors who trim trees as well as our in-house staff. If a homeowner would like his/her professional to trim their parkway tree at their expense they must contact Public Works at 7087-749-4700 for permission.
Q: Can I put too much mulch on my tree?
A: Yes, however, any more than 2 to 3 inches prevents water from getting to the roots of the tree. Also, do not mound the mulch or dirt around the trunk of the tree. This can make the tree vulnerable to diseases and insects. An alternative is to saucer the mulch or dirt around the tree to help capture water.
Q: When should I water?
A: Generally speaking, trees require one inch of water per week When in leaf, either from rain or homeowner. Set a hose to trickle over the area within the drip line and move the hose periodically to cover as much of the root zone as possible. Care must be taken not to over water trees, as too much water can kill the tree as well.
Q: Who should I contact if my parkway tree looks sick or dead?
A: Contact Public Works at 708-749-4700 to have the City to check out any problems with parkway trees and perform any remedy required.
Public Works - Drinking Water
Q: Where does my drinking water come from?
A: The City of Berwyn purchases its water from the City of Chicago, whose water treatment facility collects and processes from Lake Michigan. Processed water is then pumped to the City of Berwyn elevated tank located at Public Works. From there, it is pumped into the water distribution system.
Q: How safe is my drinking water?
A: The water supplied to the City of Berwyn is very safe as it must meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standards for safe drinking water. Public Works also keeps watch over the water supply on a 24 hour basis.
Q: Periodically, my water tastes and smells funny. Why does this occur?
A: The most common reasons for taste and odor problems with drinking water include chlorine that is added to the water to kill bacteria; Non-toxic algae, bacteria, and tiny fungi grow in surface water sources and give off nontoxic, smelly chemicals that cause unpleasant tastes in drinking water. Different algae cause different tastes and odors, for example a grassy, swampy taste. The tiny fungi can cause an earthy musty taste; and Metallic tastes can come from iron rust in iron pipes. Odor poses no health impact and is strictly aesthetic.
Q: What can I do about these taste and odor problems?
A: In-home water filtration systems that employ activated carbon can help reduce or eliminate these tastes and odors. If you purchase such a unit, please remember that it is very important to follow the manufacturer's instructions with respect to maintenance. In addition, cooling water in your refrigerator can help.
Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about my water?
A: Any questions about water should be directed to the Water Department at 708-749-4700.
Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about my water bill?
A: Any questions about your water bill should be directed to the Finance Department at 708-788-2660.
Public Works - Streets Division, Snow Removal
Q: What is the City's first step in snow removal?
A: Public works utilizes over 20 pieces of equipment during the winter for snow removal. When the snow starts to fall our salt trucks are the first to respond.
Q: When does Public Works use salt trucks?
A: If less than 2 or 3 inches fall the salt trucks alone are used for snow removal and control. We use 60 tons of salt every year to help keep the streets safe.
Q: Where does Public Works distribute salt?
A: Public Works distributes salt on all major streets and side streets. The rest of the streets receive salt at intersections, stop signs, and curves.
Q: How does Public Works determine where snow removal equipment will be utilized?
A: When approximately 2-3 inches of snow has fallen the remainder of the snow equipment is called out and put into service. The City does not have enough equipment to make sure every street is kept clear of snow during the duration of the storm though through careful planning and with dedicated staff, snow operations will continue until every street has been cleared.
Q: What is the best way to clear snow from my driveway?
A: Shovel as much of the snow from your driveway as possible to the right side as you look out to the street. Snow on the left side could be pushed back into the driveway by Public Works snow plows. Be a good neighbor, if you have a plow service make sure they know where to push the snow so it won't end up in your neighbor's yard or driveway.
Q: During Winter when may I park my vehicle on the street?
A: By City ordinance you cannot park your vehicle on the street for 24 hours after 3 inches of snow has fallen or deposit snow from your property on the street or sidewalk. Please move your vehicle from the street as soon as possible so that the plows can get to every street without interference from unmoved vehicles.
Public Works - Streets Division
Q: How often does the City sweep the streets?
A: Public Works takes approximately 4-6 days to sweep all the streets in the City. During the sweeping season, which is generally March through November, every attempt is made to sweep every residential street at least once.
Q: Who do I contact if my street sign needs to be replaced?
A: If you are aware of a sign that needs to be replaced, please contact Public Works at 708-749-4700.
Q: What causes potholes?
A: Most potholes develop during the freeze/thaw cycles during the winter and early spring months. Potholes can also be caused by a weakened road base from moisture and heavy vehicle traffic.
Q: What material does Public Works use to repair potholes?
A: Public Works uses high performance asphalt which can be used at any time of year to repair potholes. Street openings, such as sewer repairs or water main repairs, are repaired using hot mix asphalt which is not available during the colder weather.
Q: How do I dispose of my leaves?
A: Leaves can be disposed of in a number of ways. Please do not place the leaves in the street or on curbs or sidewalks. Do not rake grass clippings, sticks, rocks, branches or mud to the curb with your leaves. These materials clog and damage the equipment used for street sweeping and also clog the sewer drains and can cause severe damage to the sewers. If these items are found, the leaves will not be removed and those sweeping leaves into the street may receive a fine.
You can also place the leaves in paper yard waste bags for Waste Management to collect with the weekly yard waste pickup. A landscape waste sticker must be affixed or else bags will not be collected. You may also have your landscaper take the leaves away to a waste site.
Q: Who should I contact if I notice a burned out or damaged light pole?
A: Streetlights on wooden poles are owned by ComEd and should be reported to ComEd at 800/344-7661. Public Works will report the request if you call 708-749-4700. When a streetlight outage is not a burned out bulb, it might be an underground fault. Public Works may have to dig, which may lengthen the amount of time to make proper repairs.
Public Works - Sewer Division
Q: What type of sewers does the City have?
A: The City has storm sewers and sanitary sewer systems.
Q: What function do storm sewers provide?
A: Storm sewers are designed to collect and direct storm water to storage areas or to creeks. Storm water is not treated. You should never pour unwanted chemicals or other foreign substances in the storm sewer, doing so is punishable by law.
Q: What function do sanitary sewers provide?
A: Sanitary Sewers provide direct waste pumping stations that pump to the treatment plant for treatment and discharge to the Stickney Waste Treatment Plant.
Q: Who is responsible for the sanitary services?
A: Berwyn Municipal Code states that all repairs and maintenance of the services lines from the public sewer, including the connection to the public sewer, to the premises served and in the sanitary sewer system of the building served shall be made by and at the expense of the owners of the premises served.
Q: Who do I contact if there is a sewer back up in my home?
A: Always contact the Public Works Department first at 708-749-4700 (M-F 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM). After 3:00, call the non-emergency number for the Berwyn Police Department at 708-795-5600 and they will direct your call to a supervisor in the Water Department.
Q: Why is there an odor coming from my floor drain?
A: Usually this occurs in the winter time as the trap in the floor drain dries out, allowing the sewer odor to enter the house. To fix the problem, add water to the floor drain and the smell should go away. If this method doesn't work, contact Public Works 708-749-4700for further assistance.
Public Works - Wastewater Treatment Plant
Q: What happens to sewage after we flush?
A: Sewage is pumped to the Stickney Waste Treatment facility.. In many cases, the discharged water is cleaner than the water in the river.
Q: What should not be flushed?
A: The following should not be flushed: Oil, hazardous material, medications, plastics, elastic material or towels/clothing, and large amounts of grease.
The City of Berwyn, One Public Works Drive, Berwyn, IL 60402
Public Works Hours 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 Monday through Friday
Recreation Department FAQ's
Q: Do you have any Indoor Pools?
Q: Is the Pavek Center part of the YMCA?
A: No, our building was named after Judge Pavek
Q: Is the Recreation Department responsible for Proksa Park?
A: No, Proksa Park belongs to the Berwyn Park District.
Q: When do the Senior Clubs meet at your center?
A: They meet September through June, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, every other Tues-Wed-Thur.
There are three different groups; call for contact information.
Q: Which pool has the water slide?
A: Right now, only Pavek Pool on 31st and East Ave. has a waterslide.