Wednesday, June 20, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: The 809 W. Madison Building, owned by the Maywood Park District. | File
The Maywood Board of Trustees recently voted down a request by the Maywood Park District to reimburse $19,454 in building permit and plan review fees associated with the renovation of the park district’s 809 W. Madison building.
During a regular meeting on June 5, the board voted 5-1 against the proposal, with Trustee Melvin Lightford the only board member who voted in favor of it. Trustee Ron Rivers was absent.
Park District officials had originally made the request at a regular board meeting on May 15.
The park district broke ground on the renovations to the building back in April and architects said that the work could be complete by September. The new recreation center will feature numerous multipurpose rooms, meeting space and conference rooms, among many other amenities.
The renovations are being funded by a $1.62 million state grant that the park district was given back in 2014, when former governor Pat Quinn was still in office, and $285,000 in TIF funds allocated to the park district by the village of Maywood last year.
The fees included nearly $4,000 that the village spent out-of-pocket to send out plumbing, electrical and plan review inspectors to the construction site (plumbing and electrical contractors are outsourced). In addition, the village charges general construction and HVAC permit fees of $20 for every $1,000 of the overall project.
Since the park district’s overall project costs are projected at around $1.2 million, those latter fees amount to $15,605, village records show.
At the meeting in May, Lonette Hall, the park district’s executive director, told village board members that, due to an administrative error on their part, none of the grant money park district officials had secured had been earmarked to pay for building permit fees. As a result, she said, the park district had to pay for the fees with grant money that had been earmarked for other purposes.
Village trustees who voted against the reimbursement said that, while they want to ensure that the building renovations are completed, they don’t want to do so at the expense of the village’s fiscal health.
“We want to help them, but where are going to get the money for this?” said Trustee Kimyada Wellington during the June 5 meeting.
Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. said that the village has other spending priorities, such as the matching portion of an $841,000 grant to construct environmentally friendly alleys, that it would have to forego if it gave the money back to the park district.
“If you already committed $285,000 for the park district, why do we keep trying to find a way to give them more resources?” Norfleet told village board memberes. “You can always go in the hole and not have enough revenue to meet your expenditures when you already have deficits in your funds [and] shortages in your cash flow.”
Lightford, the only board member who voted in favor of the reimbursement, said that he just wants to see the building open.
“I’ve sat and watched that building for 40 years not do anything,” Lightford said. “Here’s a chance to get it back started … let’s get the building started so we can have it for our community again.”
“[I also want to see it open[, but that’s the not the issue we’re discussing here,” said Wellington. “The issue is the $19,453 that the park district is requesting to be paid back. The question is, ‘Where will we get the money from?'” VFP
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