Broadview mayor Katrina Thompson speaks during her first town hall meeting as mayor on June 3. | Michael Romain/VFP
Monday, June 5, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
New Broadview mayor Katrina Thompson has been in office for less than three months, but she’s inherited more crises (click here, here and here) than some mayors face in a term.
During a recent town hall, however, Thompson was able to frame the narrative of how she plans to govern. The town hall, Thompson’s first since assuming office, was held on Saturday at the Beverly Center, 3031 S. 25th Ave.
Thompson spoke for about 15 minutes after U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th) and before Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), who co-hosted the June 3 event, which included some time for the mayor and commissioner to answer audience-generated questions from among the 50 to 60 attendees.
Thompson was elected in April to succeed former two-term mayor Sherman Jones, who successfully ran as a trustee on Thompson’s Broadview People’s Party after residents voted for a referendum that prohibited him from running for a third term.
The new mayor’s briefing converged around the theme of communications, with Thompson clearly articulating how she wants to differentiate her administration from her predecessor’s.
“Some concerns I heard while campaigning was, “You all only come out when it’s time to get my vote,’” Thompson said. “I don’t want to be that type of mayor. I want to be the type of mayor who is accessible and has an open door policy.”
Thompson said she and her staff are working on delivering a website for the village of Broadview, which hasn’t had an active one in at least two years. The website could be live by August 1, she said.
“We want to make sure that we have something that’s user-friendly and that residents can have access to,” Thompson said, adding that each department in the village will have a page. She said she also intends to revive the practice of live streaming village board meetings and public town halls.
“We did it less than a year ago and the camera came up missing,” she said, before noting that the live streaming measure is in keeping with her pledge to head an administration that’s “very transparent,” “held accountable,” and “honest as we move forward.”
Thompson said that she’s had discussions with the library and park district directors about the possibility of creating a single, unified newsletter for all three taxing bodies.
“It makes sense to send out one big newsletter instead of doing it individually, because we spend so much money sending out mailers,” she said, before adding that the village, library and park district could also share the village’s robocall system to enhance communication between the local government and residents.
“Currently, we have two systems setup for robocalls. One is for emergencies and one is for pubic service announcements,” she said. “We want to get more engaged with that [form of communication]. We’ll share that [robocall system] with the park and library districts.”
Sometime in the future, residents may receive robocalls announcing public state of the village meetings designed to educate them on Broadview’s budget before it’s enacted.
“We will do a state of the [village] address to give you information on the budget [for a given year],” Thompson said, before cautioning that her thought process on the concept could change in the future.
So far this year, Broadview still has yet to approve a budget, the fiscal year for which ended on April 30. Thompson said that she hopes a budget is approved by July 1.
The ideas that landed Thompson her biggest applause lines were about water bill payments and the Fourth of July.
Thompson announced that she’ll the extend the village administration building’s hours of operation to accommodate those seeking to pay their water bills on time.
Starting June 15, the administrative offices will be until 5 p.m. (rather than 2 p.m.) on the last Wednesday of each month. And starting September 1, the offices will be open for four hours on Saturdays.
“The other day when I was coming out of my office I saw a line of cars [waiting to pay water bills] that was out by the police department,” Thompson said. “That was unacceptable to me.”
Thompson also said that this year, the village will host a small Fourth of July parade, which she hopes will be a precursor to a much larger parade (and a possible fireworks show) next year. VFP
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