Thursday, March 1, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 3/3/18
During a Feb. 20 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously to transfer $1 million from the village’s working capital reserve fund (also known as its rainy day fund) in order to pay 33 vendors to whom the village owes money and with whom the village has outstanding balances of at least 60 days.
“We don’t tap into [the rainy day fund] unless there’s an emergency situation,” said Lanya Satchell, the village’s finance director.
“And the only reason I’m asking now is because there are a lot of small businesses that really need their payments,” she said. “It’s an extreme emergency.”
The vendors operate in the public and private sectors, providing the village with a range of critical services — from waste and recycling collection to policing and legal services. They include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Hackie Cement, American Recycling, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Norton Salt.
As of Feb. 15, the village has accumulated roughly $4 million in unpaid invoices. Satchell said that borrowing money from the fund to pay outstanding bills is part of the rainy day fund’s purpose. She said that she prioritized the vendors that were selected for payment based on the relative importance of their services and on their size.
“I took at look at some of the older [invoices], some [provide] vital day-to-day operations,” she said, adding that others, particularly smaller companies, “depend on us more to survive.”
Satchell said that the $1 million that the board authorized to be taken from the rainy day fund — which had a total of $2 million in reserves before the $1 million withdrawal — will eventually be paid back in installments.
She said that a large percentage of the money that Maywood owes its vendors “is due to the slow receipts of our tax distribution. I’m hoping for [tax revenue] to start coming in toward the end of the month, beginning of next month.”
Satchell added that some of the vendors submit their invoices late, in some instances up to four months late, due to the “nature of their services,” adding that the invoicing process for some companies is more extensive than for others.
“Some aren’t timely on their end and some were already over budget, so they were put close to the back of the line,” she said.
Some trustees, however, took the request to transfer money from the rainy day fund as a signal that more focus needs to be applied to the village’s finances, with Trustee Ron Rivers asking Satchell how she plans to reimburse the $1 million.
Satchell said that she’ll bring a presentation to the board in the coming weeks as the village begins the process of finalizing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
She also stipulated that, despite the apparent anemic cash flow in the corporate fund, “we do have a healthy financial position in some of the other funds.”
Trustee Isiah Brandon suggested that the village’s finance committee, which is now operating again after being defunct for roughly five years, should meet soon to “start reviewing finances and looking” at department budgets.
“I am highly concerned about the direction we’re headed in from the financial standpoint and would suggest scheduling a meeting as soon as possible,” he said.
That meeting was held Thursday. FP
Below, see the 33 vendors selected for repayment