Maywood To Explore A Way Around Paying Melrose Park For Water

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: The Maywood water tower. | wa9idj/Panoramio 

Ever since Maywood’s water woes — from high rates to high fees — were featured in a 2-part Chicago Tribune investigative report last year, village and county officials have been plumbing the depths for solutions to the problem.

One of them could be the village tapping into a water source in Maywood that officials say runs directly underneath the Prairie Path and flows through to DuPage County, which would mean that Maywood would no longer be reliant on Melrose Park for transmitting water.

During a Jan. 16 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously to establish a commission of experts and community stakeholders that would explore the feasibility of the measure.

“The contract [with Melrose Park for water transmission] is up somewhere around 2020 or so,” said Trustee Isiah Brandon, who introduced the proposal. “I think it would be a great idea to put together some sort of commission to explore the possibility of Maywood being able to tap into … water traveling through our community.”

Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, who echoed Brandon’s point, added that “now is the time, because it’s going to take a lot of time and effort due to the number of communities that will be affected.”

Yarbrough recommended that the village start the process of exploring the feasibility of tapping into a different water source by consulting experts from the West Central Municipal Conference, an organization that helps foster cooperation between local governments in West Cook County and DuPage County. The WCMC maintains a public works committee.

Maywood officials touted the possibility of tapping into another water source as an alternative to paying Melrose Park around $1.3 million a year for water.

According to data released by the Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr., the village pays Melrose Park a debt service cost of $630,848 each year to maintain the water infrastructure and $671,580 each year for the cost of delivering the water from the city of Chicago.

That’s on top of $3.6 million each year that Maywood pays to the city of Chicago to purchase its drinking water in the first place, according to village data. Chicago increased the cost of its water by 25 percent in 2012, 15 percent in both 2014 and 2015, and roughly 2 percent in 2017, Norfleet said.

In addition to the cost of purchasing and delivering the water, the village is also burdened by an estimated $1.7 million worth of unpaid accounts, including another $600,000 for closed accounts, he said.

Add into the mix the cost of fixing constant leaks (including four water main leaks that happened this month, Norfleet said) due to half-century-old infrastructure, unauthorized water usage by contractors and inoperable meters, among other problems, and the situation becomes seemingly insurmountable for a local municipality to resolve on its own.

That’s what Norfleet and his counterparts, including officials from Harvey and Ford Heights, concluded during a Cook County public hearing held on the matter on Jan. 9.

After the Tribune report found that residents in some of the Chicago area’s lowest-income municipalities pay nearly six times more for water than those in the wealthiest municipalities, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) called the public hearing to explore the matter.

At the hearing, according to a Jan. 9 Tribune article, village officials from some of those cash-strapped municipalities “found common ground on the need for increased state and federal aid and pledged to seek ways to find it.”

Boykin said that he hoped the hearing would catch the ears of members of Congress who represent municipalities like Maywood, adding that he intends to talk about water infrastructure issues at a meeting of the National Association of Counties in March, the Tribune reported.

“We have to figure out how to make this a front-burner issue,” he said. VFP 

Read the full list of Maywood’s water-related problems compiled by Norfleet  


12 thoughts on “Maywood To Explore A Way Around Paying Melrose Park For Water

  1. This just shows the corruption in Maywood. They knew there was water running elsewhere and now they are willing to review this. Incredible! I hope you remember this when it is time to vote again. They knew all this time there was an alternative. Wake Up

  2. We have to look at the bright side of things. I lived in Maywood most of my life and Melrose has always taken a bite at our water fees. So this problem is not from this election it’s been going on for decades. Seeing things the right way someone in this election is making a change, how can that be held against them? They are cutting out the middle man. Now the thing we need to look out for is the excuses that will come to rase water coast. We need to insure that our coast will go down and not rise. If they go up or stay the same then there is no need to change things. Take the changes, and dodge the inflation. Calcutate and crunch numbers to see if they makes sense. Much love to all.

  3. There’s a water leak around the corner from me, and water continues to pour out of the pipe. The water dept says that code has to come inspect it first; then they are directed by their manager to go take a look and “maybe” get it fixed. We are LOSING WATER THAT WE ARE PAYING FOR! It’s the same old BS with one department pushing off on another and NO ONE DOING A DAMNED THING ABOUT IT! Norfleet, get off you dead ass and do your job! Same to the mayor and trustees – stop living in your little bubbles of denial and ignorance!

  4. My questions to all the people that posted on the “Post Comment” section…have you all went to the last board meeting that took place at the Village Hall? Q:) Did you knock on your neighbor’s door and remind them there is was a board meeting, or talked to your friends?

    If you want Maywood to move forward, you have got to participate in this local town hall meeting. Have ordinary, working, and low-income people participate in their local meetings and get involved. This is your home and community! I don’t know any strategy to get a lot of residents involved.

  5. The Maywood watcher, post the phone # of who to call, and the address of where the issue in question is located, and I will call, and other residents hopefully will call too. That’s how pressure is applied. Other communities get together and keep calling,causing panic,and concern to the people responsible. We need to learn from the people that are doing. Visualize an employee with its feet up on the desk, now the boss comes in. What does it do? Jump to attention. We are that boss so we need to do our part. Glad to lend a hand. Much love to all.

  6. The concerned proviso township resident, don’t take this the wrong way. Albert Einsteins definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Perhaps you should try getting emails from the people that attend the meeting, and shoot them a reminder email a few hours before. Perhaps host a meet and greet to attract other residents with the same concerns. Posting the same comment just gets over looked, it becomes stagnant. Great energy and persistence on your part. I applaud your attempt, it’s more than what some of us do. Good luck, and keep up the effort. Much love to you.

    1. SISCO KID: Thank you for the kind words. I am so tired of some people just typing on the “Post Comment” section, and don’t have the power to use the ballot to vote these people out of office, who have the power and abuse the power. Like I said, “it is up to the community of Maywood if they want to see major changes.”

  7. Yes, I have participated in the public comment, but can most of us wait around until 11:00 PM at night for public comment. If they cared about the Public Comment they would hold that first and they can pay their bills, etc behind closed doors, it is not that anyone understands half of what they are discussing.

    1. JANET: I applaud you Janet for commenting that you participated in the public comment. I have researched other villages in the Proviso Township that sometimes they do have “public comment” during the last section of the village board meeting. Ex: Broadview, Bellwood, Forest Park, and Melrose Park

      Now, I’m waiting for other people to comment in the “Post Comment” about have they ever attend the village board meeting.

  8. The concerned proviso, you really stepped up your game with the postings of the public officials, kudos to you. I will be looking out for your postings. Much love to you.

    1. SISCO KID: Thank you for the kind words. I’ve been doing that since I was introduced to “The Village Free Press” for almost three years.

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