Category: Fiscally Speaking

County Must Make Up for $200M Budget Hole, Says Commissioner

Monday, November 13, 2017 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: A chart breaking down the county’s FY 2018 operating budget by office, released by the office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. | Cook County 

During a Nov. 7 town hall he organized in Chicago, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, presented an outline of the county’s budget.

Continue reading “County Must Make Up for $200M Budget Hole, Says Commissioner”

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MB Financial Replaces Seaway Bank As Maywood’s Largest Account Holder

Seaway Bank

Thursday, July 27, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

MB Financial has replaced the defunct Seaway Bank & Trust as Maywood’s largest account holder. During a regular meeting on July 18, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted on a resolution designating MB Financial a public depository for the village.

Less than two years ago, according to village records, Maywood was parking funds from at least nine different accounts at Seaway, including the corporate, water, motor fuel and general fund and payroll accounts. On Nov. 29, 2015, the total ending balance of village funds at Seaway was over $2.5 million. At the time, MB Financial was not an authorized public depository for the village.

Continue reading “MB Financial Replaces Seaway Bank As Maywood’s Largest Account Holder”

Area Lawmakers React to Illinois Budget Plan | Sugary Beverage Tax Put on Hold

Springfield

Thursday, July 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The Illinois House voted 71 to 42 on July 6 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a revenue bill “that will hike the personal income tax rate — while also voting to override two other budget bills,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Thursday.

For the first time in two years, Illinois has a full budget in place after after a two-year impasse, “the longest such impasse for any state in modern history,” according to a July 6 New York Times report.

“The decision to approve the budget, which includes an income tax increase expected to generate about $5 billion, came as Illinois was sinking deeper into fiscal misery,” the Times reports.

“The state is $15 billion behind in paying its bills; has delayed or stopped payments that have especially affected the elderly, poor and students; and has been warned that its credit rating could sink to junk status, the lowest for any state.”

In the run-up to, and after, the historic vote, local state lawmakers were vocal in their support of the measure.

After the State Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto earlier this week, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), (whose district includes Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, along with other western suburbs and parts of Chicago), said that the plan “would give our neediest populations and decimated institutions a fighting chance.

“Families, our most vulnerable populations and businesses alike need consistency,” Lightford stated. “It is time for Governor Rauner to set aside his political antics once and for all and do what he was elected to do, enact a budget.”

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), whose district includes much of Proviso Township, praised the plan.

“The plan cuts state spending by nearly $3 billion, while protecting our seniors, supporting our most vulnerable citizens, revitalizing our violence prevention programs and funding our schools, colleges and universities,” he said.

In a July 6 Facebook post, uploaded as the House debated the governor’s vetoes, state Rep. Kathleen Willis (77th), (whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Maywood and Melrose Park), said that although the measure isn’t perfect, “we must do something. As one of my colleagues said last week the state hemoraging. This is a way to stop bleeding out. My view is that you must stop the bleeding before you can repair the damage.”

Sugary beverage tax blocked as budget cuts loom, says Preckwinkle

Soft_drink_shelf_2The cost of sugary beverages sold in Cook County were set to go up one penny per ounce this summer, but a Cook County Circuit Court judge blocked the inevitable from happening.

Now, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is warning that if the judge keeps the tax from taking effect by August, the county would have to cut 10 percent of its budget.

Per the Chicago Tribune, “In a letter dated Monday sent to all county elected officials, bureau chiefs and department heads, Preckwinkle budget director Tanya Anthony said analysts would be providing them ‘a recommended course of action’ to meet spending cuts needed if Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak doesn’t lift a temporary restraining order that’s preventing the penny-per-ounce tax from being levied.

“Kubasiak stopped the tax, which was supposed to go into effect Saturday, after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several grocers sued the county to permanently block it on the grounds it is vague and unconstitutional.

“The county was counting on $67.5 million to be collected through Nov. 30 via the tax on pop and other drinks.”

Read the full Chicago Tribune article here. VFP

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Maywood to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed $38.2M Operating Budget Tonight, Wednesday, April 12, 7 PM

Maywood Flag

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The Maywood Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing on the FY 2017-18 proposed budget, which village officials project to be $38,237,137. The general fund for the proposed budget is projected to be $22,514,732.

Maywood’s fiscal year runs from May 1 through April 30. The FY2018 budget is scheduled to be approved by the village board at a regular meeting on April 18.

A required public hearing on the proposed budget will take place on Wednesday, April 12, 7 p.m., at 125 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood. Click here for the full agenda.

A Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting is scheduled to take place immediately after the public hearing on the proposed FY18 budget. Click here for the full agenda for the LLOC meeting.

You can read a PDF document of the proposed budget below:

 

Businessman Offers to Loan Cook County Homeowners $1K to Pay Down Delinquent Taxes before April 3 Deadline

Willie Wilson photo.pngMonday, March 27, 2017 || By Wendell Hutson for Austin Weekly News || @maywoodnews

The latest project by a nonprofit foundation to help economically challenged individuals and families came too late for one homeowner who said he lost his home due to back taxes.

“No one wanted to loan me any money because I had bad credit. My friends and family wouldn’t even loan me a few bucks,” recalled Bruce Brown, 49. “Just because you are a homeowner does not mean you are financially solid. You’d be surprised how many people lose their homes because of taxes.”

Businessman Willie Wilson said he wants to help as many people keep their homes as God allows him to during an announcement last week of and his latest initiative.

Through his “Dr. Willie Wilson Foundation,” the businessman and former Chicago mayoral and U.S. presidential candidate donated $150,000 to help Cook County homeowners pay their (2015) delinquent property taxes by the April 3 deadline.

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) said that in the past homeowners had a 12-month grace period to pay their back taxes, but state lawmakers changed it to eight months.

“This change affects 50,000 homeowners with delinquent tax bills for 2015,” added Boykin. “It would be good if banks donated to the program since some of them are responsible for issuing high-interest mortgages.”

The purpose for the program, said Wilson, is to help people and nothing more.

“I am doing this not for political reasons but because there is a need for the community to do something,” said Wilson, who added that he is not interested in running for governor despite rumors to the contrary.

“If I did decide to run for office again it would not be for governor,” Wilson told the Austin Weekly News. “I think being governor is a boring job.”

But regardless of why Wilson continues to use his personal money to help people, residents applauded his efforts.

“It’s not many Willie Wilsons in Chicago,” said Georgia Gordon, 62. “Here’s a black man with a lot of money and instead of keeping it to himself he’s sharing his wealth with us ‘common’ folks.”

Marvin Tapps, 50, said he paid off his past due property taxes in November.

“If I was still behind, I would have applied for a loan with the foundation,” he said. “He’s using his wealth to bless other people and God will look kindly on him for doing so.”

Last week, Wilson’s foundation along with the West Side Justice Center, located at 601 S. California Ave. in East Garfield Park, reviewed more than 100 applications they received for an interest-free loan and will make payments on behalf of homeowners to the Cook County Treasurers Office, said Tanya Woods, the Justice Center’s executive director.

Each eligible applicant could receive up to $1,000. If they don’t receive the maximum, “we will try to give them as much as possible,” added Woods, whose organization serves as the administrator for the program.

Woods said they won’t utilize credit checks to determine a person’s eligibility for a loan. To apply, a homeowner must complete a one-page application, available at the justice center, and bring valid identification and their Cook County property tax bill. But the loans must be repaid this year by Aug. 31.

If loans are not paid by then? Wilson said he is not worried about it.

“I am not looking to get it all back,” he said. “If people pay it back great. But if not, that’s fine too.”

Boykin donated $5,000 to the program and several West Side pastors were expected to make donations in the days ahead.

“I donated my money because I believe this is a worthy cause that is long overdue,” said Boykin. “This program gives people hope and government should be figuring out ways to help people (and not hurt them).”

For homeowners who do not pay their back taxes, an auction will be held that allows investors to purchase the debt. If that happens, the homeowner must then pay interest on their taxes to the purchaser, who could possibly own the property if taxes are not paid within a reasonable time frame, according to Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas. VFP

Cook County Treasurer’s Tips on How to Avoid a Property Tax Sale

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With $1.4M in Outstanding Insurance Claims, Maywood Looks to Improve Risk Controls

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A chart detailing Maywood’s paid, outstanding and total incurred expenses from insurance-related claims that date back to 2011. | Insurance Program Managers Group 

Saturday, February 25, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Going back to 2011, Maywood has incurred $3.7 million in expenses related to medical and professional liability insurance, with nearly 230 claims having been filed since then. So far, the village has paid $2.3 million, and owes $1.4 million, on those claims.

The majority of the village’s insurance-related expenses come from the police department. Since 2010, the department has incurred $2.2 million in insurance-related expenses, with $1.1 million still to be paid.

The department has dealt with 74 claims over seven years, roughly half of them related to professional liability, which is, by far, the most expensive type of claim. Professional liability claims amount to almost all of the department’s incurred losses.

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The fire and public works departments generate the majority of the village’s remaining insurance-related expenses.

During a Feb. 15 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, Mark Walters, of CS Insurance Strategies, said that the 2015-16 policy period was a particularly active one for workmen’s compensation claims. During that year, the village incurred $1.4 million in losses on 41 claims. Roughly half of that amount was related to professional liability.

Walters said that the village is responsible for the first $650,000 of each claim, so “that’s coming dollar for dollar out your budget and it’s not really discretionary spending.” He added that the village should do “everything we can” to mitigate insurance-related expenses. 

Tom Collins, of Mesirow Insurance Services, said that his company will work with each village department to review safety policies and procedures, identify any shortcomings and suggest improvements.

Collins said that employees will also undergo ergonomics training and that proper lifting techniques will be reviewed in order to cut reduce the amount of back and neck injuries.

I’m glad to hear you focus on that and I do think we need as much mitigation as possible for those kinds of things,” said Trustee Michael Rogers, adding that board members often discuss liability issues in executive session and often wonder what measures can be implemented to reduce claims. VFP

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Breaking: Seaway Bank Shut Down, Maywood Could Take Its Deposits Elsewhere, Says Village Manager

Seaway Bank Draped in Purple

Seaway Bank & Trust’s Maywood Branch. | File

Friday, January 27, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 1/28/17

Seaway Bank & Trust, the state’s largest black-owned minority bank and the sixth largest in the country, was shut down today by state bank regulators, according to multiple reports. According to a Crain’s report published today, all of the bank’s deposits and a majority of its assets will be transferred to State Bank of Texas, effective Saturday.

According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, “All 10 branches of Seaway Bank and Trust will continue to be open during normal business hours under the new ownership, the FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] said. During the weekend, people with deposits will be able to access their money by writing checks or using ATMs or debit cards. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC.”

Crain’s reports that State Bank is based in Dallas and owned by Indian-Americans, not the kind of fate that Seaway’s African American owners had hoped for the 52-year-old institution. In the wake of recent financial struggles, the bank’s owners had sought out black investors to come to the rescue. Ultimately, however, that didn’t happen.

The bank’s failure means that the Village of Maywood, which still has hundreds of thousands of dollars in deposits at Seaway, could go shopping for another place to park that money even though the amount the village has with the failed bank is insured by the FDIC and isn’t required to be collateralized.

“Essentially, the money that’s held at Seaway is below the [$250,000] federal [threshold], so if there is a failure we don’t lose any money nor are we at a capacity where the money has to be collateralized,” said Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. during an interview today.

Late last year, the village transferred funds from its corporate, water and escrow accounts from Seaway to Hinsdale Bank.

“Several months ago, the issue was to get us below the level at which funds need to be collateralized,” Norfleet said. “Hinsdale Bank came in and we moved money from those accounts and only wired money to Seaway when checks had to be cleared, so if the bank failed we’d be covered by federal insurance.”

Norfleet said that the village still banks with Seaway to cover payroll and water payments, among other matters. Last year, he said, Seaway officials approached Maywood requesting that the village take out any money that would put it over the level at which it would need to collateralize its deposits.

For the bank, the collateralization meant additional costs that only added to its already strained finances.

“They were trying to say, ‘Hey, it’s not like we’re kicking you out, but you can’t be here and have a risk because [the bank] will have a problem, too,'” Norfleet said, adding that the village might consider other banks to park its deposits.

“That’s always on the board, continuously, it’s just that we didn’t formally bid out [to other banks] to take all of our funds,” he said. “Eventually, though, we’ll have to take [our money out of Seaway].

“The issue, however, is that Hinsdale doesn’t have [a sufficient amount of readily available] checks. We have to have a whole bunch of checks to keep operating. If you’re going to switch over, you have to have those checks from the other bank to cut. Another thing with Hinsdale is that there isn’t a close physical location to take deposits. So, there are logistical challenges.”

When asked if the village would consider transferring its deposits to nearby U.S. Bank, which has a Maywood branch at the corner of Madison St. and 5th Ave., Norfleet said that the possibility prompts other concerns.

“How much do they really want to take?” Norfleet said. “We think banks are just happy to take money, but they have to pay service fees, accumulate charges and then they have to collateralize because that costs money. So, they have their own expenses associated with [large accounts]. The bank is a business, too.”

Seaway has branches in Maywood, at 150 S. 5th Ave., and Broadview, at 2100 Roosevelt Rd., both of which will be affected by the closure.

According to Crain’s, with Seaway having failed, only one black-owned bank remains in the Chicago area — Illinois Service Federal.

“That bank, also in danger of failing, was rescued early last year with $9 million from a Ghanian-American family, keeping it black-owned,” Crain’s reported, adding that the FDIC has estimated that Seaway’s failure “would cost its insurance fund $57.2 million. The FDIC retained $52 million of Seaway’s assets for later sale.” VFP

To read the full Crain’s report, click here.To read the full Tribune report, click here.

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