Tuesday, November 1, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins said during an Oct. 26 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting that, since getting elected in 2013, she meets once a month with other suburban mayors. Often, the mayor said, she leaves those gatherings bristling at what the village is missing out on.
“I hear what they’re getting,” Perkins said. “They have grant writers. Eight million. Three million. This done. That developer … They’re getting … money that’s not coming out of their coffers, but [from] state and federal [governments].”
Perkins said that Maywood would do well to follow suit and hire a full-time grant writer of its own in order to pursue the kind of state and federal dollars that other towns are securing.
“The money is out here,” she said. “You have to have someone who knows what they’re doing to go after that money. We don’t have that and we definitely need it, because we don’t have the funds ourselves to take care of these problems.”
Perkins said the village could desperately use the funds for capital projects, such as much-needed repairs to the town’s sewer system.
Village Manager Willie Norfleet agreed that Maywood could use additional grant-writing talent. He said that the county’s transportation director indicated that there’s probably at least $2.5 million that the village could stand to receive if it were able to put up $500,000 in matching funds.
Trustee Michael Rogers noted that there are numerous village officials with the ability to write grants, adding that he even took a six-week grant-writing course at Triton College.
And several village employees, such as Maywood firefighter Karen Ross and Maywood Police Detective Lawrence Connors, have secured major alternative funds for their respective departments with their own grant-writing skills.
Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh noted that Ross’s grant-writing has helped secure at least $100,000 in alternative funding for the department. Recently, Ross wrote a grant that secured $51,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the department to purchase new handheld radios.
Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley said that Connors has secured around $3 million in alternative funds with his grant-writing skills.
“It’s important for many people as possible to have that skill set,” said Rogers. “I would love for the village manager to encourage all the department heads or managers to contemplate doing that.” [obtaining grant-writing skills].”
Perkins said that employees who can write grants aren’t necessarily as effective a full-time grant-writer, before noting that the the village missed out on a chance to hire one six years ago.
“Instead, they hired a secretary,” Perkins said. “We need a grant-writer who can write any kind of grant we need.”
Trustee Henderson Yarbrough recommended that staff research more specifics about ways in which a grant-writer could be hired and the feasibility of hiring a full-time writer, as compared to a contractual or part-time writer.
Norfleet noted that his staff would begin planning for the position to be included in the next fiscal year’s budget. VFP
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