In an effort to recoup the cost of paying Des Plaines police officers to provide traffic control during the annual two-day Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration that was held Dec. 11 and 12, organizers of the religious festival have received a $30,000 bill from the city---an amount far above the $4,000 they have paid in the past.continue at JO
According to the police department’s two top officers, organizers were informed last August that they would be sent a bill in that amount.
“He said ‘no problem,’" Police Chief William Kushner stated on Monday referring to celebration organizer Father Marco Mercado.
However, the huge monetary swing has prompted the chairman of the city’s Finance Committee to call for a review of the invoice and future charges. In addition, several individuals knowledgeable about the matter have said that celebration organizers have privately expressed surprise and concern about what they feel is an exorbitant bill.
For many years, the annual Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration, a revered Mexican religious observance, has been held on the grounds of Maryville Academy at River and Central roads on Des Plaines’ far north side. The event regularly attracts as many as 100,000 Catholic faithful many of whom walk, bike or drive many miles to the location.
For all those years, Des Plaines police have provided traffic control directing people to the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine and cars to numerous Maryville parking lots.
Until this year, according to Deputy Police Chief Nick Treantafeles, the city and department have billed fest organizers approximately $4,000 per year to pay for the rental of dozens of barricades used for traffic control. The cost of assigning police officers’ overtime pay has been paid by the city.