Tag: Lanya Satchell

Maywood Transfers $1M From Rainy Day Fund To Pay Backlogged Bills

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.

Continue reading “Maywood Transfers $1M From Rainy Day Fund To Pay Backlogged Bills”

Maywood Board Looking to Approve 3% Property Tax Levy

Friday, November 24, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

During a Nov. 21 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously for a resolution approving an estimated property tax levy of $19,470,830, which is the money that the village raises from property taxes in order to fund necessary government services.

Continue reading “Maywood Board Looking to Approve 3% Property Tax Levy”

Maywood Approves >$100K in Backpay for Wrongfully Terminated Worker

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews  

During a Sept. 19 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees approved a payment of $106,128.13 in backpay to a village employee who alleged that he was wrongfully terminated in 2014. He has since been reinstated.

The board voted 5 to 1 in favor of the settlement, with Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins the lone dissenting vote. Maywood Trustee Melvin Lightford was absent.

Continue reading “Maywood Approves >$100K in Backpay for Wrongfully Terminated Worker”

Maywood Approves 13% Overall Tax Levy Increase, 3% Increase for Corporate Fund

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A chart detailing the village’s 2016 tax levy. | Village of Maywood

Friday, December 13, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

At a Dec. 20 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees unanimously approved an ordinance setting the real estate tax levy for 2016 at $18,891, 952, which represents a roughly 12 percent increase over the 2015 tax levy amount of $16,883, 378.

Most of that increase, village officials have noted, is due to the village paying more into its police and fire pension funds. State law requires the village to make annual contributions that would increase funding levels to a 90 percent “fully-funded” threshold by 2040, according to an October memo by village attorney Michael Jurusik.

Tax levy requirements for the fire pension fund increased from $2,428,188 last year to $2,601,079 this year — an increase of 7 percent. Tax levy requirements for the police pension fund increased from $2,533,343 to $4,013,846 — an increase of 58 percent.

Those increases, village officials have noted, are based on unfunded liability, “which represents monies that should’ve been in the fund and demographic factors that have changed to include the hiring of new employees, employees retiring or becoming disabled and salary increases.”

During a Nov. 30 Legal, License and Ordinance Commission (LLOC) meeting, Village Manager Willie Norfleet said that the levies for the village’s pension and debt service funds are virtually set in stone and the board has no power to alter them.

“There are no options for reducing or modifying the police and fire pension funds or the debt portion,” he said.

During that Nov. 30 LLOC, village attorney Michael Jurusik added that, if the village doesn’t properly fund its fire and police pensions, the state could enact harsh penalties.

“You have to make that payment because it is required by state law and there’s a penalty, because if you don’t, other money coming from the state that the village has budgeted to pay bills with will be taken and put into the pension fund,” Jurusik said. “It will put the village in a bad hole because you will be short paying your other bills and services.”

Jurusik said that “the village is not alone” in maintaining unfunded fire and police pensions, adding that he isn’t aware of any municipality whose fire and police pensions are fully funded.

“The reality is that this is an issue across the state,” he said.

The board, however, does have the power to adjust the level of tax levied for its corporate fund, which village officials had recommended be increased by $591,967, or 5 percent over last year’s level. The board, instead, voted to increase the corporate fund to 3 percent over last year’s level, or from $11,839,347 to $12,194,527.

In 2015, the board voted for a 3 percent increase despite recommendations by village staff members to increase the levy by 5 percent.

Lanya Satchell, Maywood’s director of finance, wrote in a November memo that her recommendation for a tax levy increase was based on additional funds necessary to address numerous issues, such as an additional $200,000 over what’s currently budgeted for tree removal, $500,000 in matching grant funds necessary to secure a $2.5 million grant for street repairs and more than $290,000 in automatic wage increases for some village employees.

An increase in the property tax levy doesn’t automatically mean an increase in the property tax rate. The levy is simply the total amount of property taxes the village “must collect to balance its budget, after accounting for all other revenue sources including state aid. The tax levy is the basis for determining the tax rate” but it’s only one component for calculating a homeowners’ property tax bill, according to one primer on the subject. VFP

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Celebrate Kwanzaa with Afriware Books

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The event will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Keynote address given by TeQuila Shabazz of BE Black Academy | There will be music, shopping and fun for the entire family! Free. Donations accepted.

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Maywood Faces 14% Tax Levy Increase, Public Hearing Scheduled for Tuesday

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A table showing a range of tax levy scenarios proposed by village officials. The village board only has the ability to change the level of taxes levied for the corporate fund. The fire and police pension funds are mandatory increases. | Village of Maywood

Monday, December 5, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

At a Nov. 14 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted 4-2 on a resolution determining the estimated real estate tax levy for 2016. Village officials are recommending that corporate and special purpose real estate taxes be levied for 2016 at $19,128,739 — a 14 percent increase over the previous year.

Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Trustee Isiah Brandon voted against the resolution, while Trustees Henderson Yarbrough, Antonette Dorris, Michael Rogers and Ron Rivers voted in favor of it. Trustee Melvin Lightford was absent.

A chunk of that increase, village officials say, is due to the village paying more into its police and fire pension funds. State law requires the village to make annual contributions that would increase funding levels to a 90 percent “fully-funded” threshold by 2040, according to an October memo by village attorney Michael Jurusik.

Tax levy requirements for the fire pension fund increased from $2,428,188 last year to $2,601,079 this year — an increase of 8 percent. Tax levy requirements for the police pension fund increased from $2,533,343 to $4,013,846 — an increase of 59 percent.

Those increases, village officials say, are based on unfunded liability, “which represents monies that should’ve been in the fund and demographic factors that have changed to include the hiring of new employees, employees retiring or becoming disabled and salary increases.”

In a separate levy, village officials noted, “estimated property taxes for debt service and public building commission leases for 2016 are $2,753,200 — down $400,000 from the previous year.”

During a Nov. 30 Legal, License and Ordinance Commission (LLOC) meeting, Village Manager Willie Norfleet said that the levies for the village’s pension and debt service funds are virtually set in stone and the board has no power to alter them.

“There are no options for reducing or modifying the police and fire pension funds or the debt portion,” he said.

During that Nov. 30 LLOC, village attorney Michael Jurusik added that, if the village doesn’t properly fund its fire and police pensions, the state could enact harsh penalties.

“You have to make that payment because it is required by state law and there’s a penalty, because if you don’t, other money coming from the state that the village has budgeted to pay bills with will be taken and put into the pension fund,” Jurusik said. “It will put the village in a bad hole because you will be short paying your other bills and services.”

Jurusik said that “the village is not alone” in maintaining unfunded fire and police pensions, adding that he isn’t aware of any municipality whose fire and police pensions are fully funded.

“The reality is that this is an issue across the state,” he said.

The board, however, can adjust the level of tax levied for its corporate fund, which village officials are recommending be increased by $591,967, or 5 percent over last year’s level.

Lanya Satchell, Maywood’s director of finance, wrote in a November memo that her recommendation for a tax levy increase was based on additional funds necessary to address numerous issues, such as an additional $200,000 over what’s currently budgeted for tree removal, $500,000 in matching grant funds necessary to secure a $2.5 million grant for street repairs and more than $290,000 in automatic wage increases for some village employees.

Last year, the board voted to increase the corporate tax levy by three percent, lower than the five percent recommended by village staff at the time.

A public hearing to approve the proposed real estate tax levy increase will be held Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m., inside of the Village Council Room, 125 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood. VFP

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Maywood Cuts Number of Red Light Cams, Hopes for Increased Revenues

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A photo enforced camera | Wikipedia 

Friday, August 5, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || @village_free  

Maywood now has fewer red light cameras today than it had just weeks ago, a development village officials are hoping might allow them to cut the cameras’ operating costs and realize some revenue gains from the technology.

At a July 26 regular meeting, the village’s Board of Trustees voted 5 to 1 to reduce the number of traffic cameras  — the controversial red light technology used by law enforcement officials as photo evidence to decide whether or not to issue fines — from nine to five.  

Mayor Edwenna Perkins voted against the measure while Trustee Henderson Yarbrough was absent.

The village now has two red light cameras along Roosevelt Rd., one at 9th Ave. and Madison St. and two at 1st Ave. and Washington Blvd. The latter two red light cameras will replace two that were operating at 9th and St. Charles.

A third camera at that intersection had been inoperable since a car struck the pole on which it was suspended several months ago, said Maywood Police Chief Vladimir Talley. A red light camera located on the east side of 9th Ave. and Madison will be eliminated.

Talley said the poles that held the eliminated red light cameras may be used for other purposes. For instance, he noted, they have the ability to supply energy to regular skycameras, which, unlike traffic cameras, are used strictly for surveillance purposes and aren’t enforcement tools that police can use to ticket and fine drivers.

“That’s actually my intent,” Talley said in a recent interview when asked about the poles. “I have assigned Commander Sonja Horn to investigate options with companies that can look at our infrastructure and give us some rates for skycams that are affordable for the village.”

Talley, who said he’s looking to install an additional four surveillance cameras to the poles that once held red light cameras, noted that the village currently has 69 surveillance cameras. Many, however, haven’t been working for months.

The relationship between the village board and the company responsible for maintaining the camera system, Current Technologies, has soured ever since board members discovered that the village was paying money for a maintenance agreement that the company wasn’t upholding.

Talley said he recommended that the village reduce the number of red light cameras because it wasn’t generating any ticket revenue of its own and the several of the cameras were installed in places where they weren’t particularly useful.

The cameras are part of an automatic traffic law enforcement system operated and maintained by American Traffic Solutions, a private firm based in Mesa, Arizona that has contracts with hundreds of municipalities across the country to provide various traffic safety services and technologies.

The red light cameras, Maywood officials say, don’t cost the village anything; however, since the cameras were first installed in 2008, they haven’t generated much in the way of revenue for the village.

At a July 20 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting where the issue was discussed, Lanya Satchell, Maywood’s finance director, noted that most of the money from red light traffic fines generated in Maywood has gone to ATS.

At nearly $5,000 per camera per month, the village would’ve had to generate more than $500,000 in traffic fine revenue in order to cover the cost of the ATS system. That, officials say, just wasn’t happening.

So, although the village wasn’t paying for the red light cameras, it wasn’t making any money from them, either. In fact, officials added, the traffic system’s operating costs had outpaced the village’s ability to realize any revenue of its own by around $250,000.

In addition to the board voting to nearly halve the number of red light cameras, it also voted to renew a contract with ATS that Talley said would eventually benefit the village.

As part of the four-year contract, ATS agreed to wipe out the village’s negative $250,000 operating balance and to readjust the monthly payments for the cameras from around $5,000 a month to $4,200 a month.

Talley said the lower annual cost, the village’s decision to reduce the number of traffic cameras to four and the decision to switch some cameras to areas where they’ll generate more traffic fines should allow the village to realize revenue from the camera system for the first time in a long time.

With the village now out of a $250,000 hole with ATS, if it can generate roughly $200,000 in traffic fines — money that automatically goes to pay ATS — any revenue beyond that goes into Maywood’s coffers.

Talley said that the reason many of the village’s red light cameras were put in areas where they weren’t necessarily needed, and thus not generating much revenue from traffic fines, was because the traffic model that ATS used to strategically place the cameras throughout town was off.

“When ATS first brought the idea for the the cameras to the village in 2008, they were using a first-generation traffic model that was off, because there were a lot of construction projects going on in town that changed the normal traffic pattern,” Talley said. “By the time the company came in to install the cameras, the traffic patterns changed.”

Talley said that there were multiple red light cameras near 9th Ave. and St. Charles even though there wasn’t sufficient traffic in the area to justify the cameras being there. Talley said, in 2008, five cameras were installed before an additional four were installed in 2013. The installations, however, took place without the company consulting with the police department.

“The police never really had a say in where those cameras would be at,” Talley said, adding that the lack of communication in 2013 may have been due to personnel changes. That year, the village elected a new mayor and both the village manager and the police chief announced that they would be retiring. Talley was hired in November of that year.

“When I got in, I took a look at where the highest patterns of traffic incidents were,” Talley said. “We looked into the red light camera issue and saw we weren’t getting a lot of good data out of those cameras. The opportunity came up to (make some changes) when we were nearing the end of our contract. I worked with ATS and they were very amenable and cooperative.”

The red light camera technology has come under fire across the country for what one Florida newspaper noted is the tendency among local governments and private vendors like ATS to use the cameras merely as a means to generating revenue.

“There’s plenty of evidence nationwide to support that, such as governments shortening yellow-light times to trigger more violations, and thus increase the number of tickets issued,” the paper noted.

And just recently, Cook County Clerk David Orr condemned Chicago’s Red Light Camera program as “corrupt” in the wake of reports suggesting that the city manipulated its red light cameras to prey on motorists.

Talley said that studies have shown that the cameras actually increase the safety of motorists and pedestrians. He cited a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that, after looking at data from 14 cities between 2010 and 2014, found that “the rate of fatal red-light running crashes jumped 30 percent compared with the expected rate had cameras remained in use.” VFP

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Maywood Gets Serious About 13th Ave., Commits $200K To Repairs

13th Avenue

A portion of 13th Avenue, a deteriorating street that spans Maywood and Broadview. | Google Maps.

Thursday, May 12, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

At a May 11 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees discussed the possibility of finally repairing long-neglected 13th Avenue, which spans Maywood and Broadview.

During budget talks last month, the board directed that $200,000 be set-aside within the village’s rainy day fund as a sign of commitment to completing the project in the future. The funds were allocated at the insistence of Trustee Michael Rogers, who said he’d been in communication with Broadview officials about the repairs.

The shared roadway has long been a source of headaches for area drivers and residents of both towns, but the prospect of fixing the potholed street has never been more than a glimmer of hope since it would require that both towns chip in financially and at the same time.

Broadview officials say they’ve been primed to contribute on their end, but Maywood hasn’t been in the financial position to contribute on its part.

Last April, David Myers, then Maywood’s acting village manager, said that Broadview can pay its share with federally subsidized grant money meant to fund community development projects in low-income areas. Maywood doesn’t qualify for the funds, since its residents who live in the project area don’t qualify as low-income.

At the time, Myers estimated that 13th Avenue repairs would cost about $833,000, with each village contributing half, or $416,500 each. Former Maywood Trustee Cheryl Ealey-Cross, however, said that Myers’s estimated didn’t take into account the increased cost of materials, which would bump the total cost up to $920,000.

At Wednesday’s meeting, however, Mark Lucas — who provides engineering services for both Maywood and Bellwood — projected that it would cost $689,000 to repair 13th Avenue in the “traditional” way — which would include fixing curbs and gutters, catch basins, drainage systems and other repairs.

Since Maywood has more work to do on its side of the street, Lucas said the village would contribute $389,000, slightly more than Broadview’s $301,000.

Lucas said a cheaper alternative, which could regain seven to 10 years of the street’s usefulness, would be to re-mill and resurface the road at a cost of $353,000, with Maywood paying $189,000 and Broadview paying $164,000.

“Every long journey starts with a first step,” said Rogers, referencing the $200,000 commitment. “It’s important to take the first step and put our money where our mouths are.”

In an interview Thursday, Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones said his village is in the position to fund the repairs, but have been waiting on Maywood to shore up its financing. He said Broadview would need a concrete indication from Maywood that the village is willing to fund its half.

“We’ve been trying to get this done since 2010,” Jones said. “Each time, Maywood has said they don’t have the money to do it.”

Jones said he was heartened by the board’s commitment, but that he would like to see hard documentation, such as in the form of a letter or approved ordinance.

“We need to verify that they’ve got the funds,” he said.

During Wednesday’s LLOC meeting, Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins expressed her disagreement with the $200,000 rainy day set-aside.

Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr., said the village has about $1.5 million in its rainy day fund, which is a reserved pool of funds to be used when regular operating income has been depleted. Lanya Satchell, the village’s finance director, noted that the village nonetheless owes money to the fund and isn’t current with its payments.

“If we have not repaid the rainy day fund why are we trying to borrow from it? The rainy day fund is a rainy day fund, it is not a bank,” said Perkins. “It is not to go reach and get it when you want to. If you borrow from it you’re supposed to pay it back. According to our minutes, we have setup a payment plan and that payment plan should be followed.”

Rogers responded that the source of the dedicated funds aren’t as important as the board’s commitment to funding the street’s repair, which he said has been long overdue.

“There are people who live on both sides of that street who deserve to have better conditions than this,” he said.

“We can find the dollars … different ways, including the declaration of surplus from the St. Charles TIF that retired. There are ways it can be financed. The commitment needs to be to get it done. That’s the central issue.”

Trustee Henderson Yarbrough noted that the board wasn’t making a hard commitment to spend the money, but to show “our good intentions” and “good faith.”

Maywood village attorney Michael Jurusik said that the board doesn’t need to take any formal action, such as preparing an amendment to its fiscal policy, if the $200,000 set-aside is only a signal to show Broadview that it’s prepared.

“It’s a marker,” said Norfleet, adding that when the two towns are ready to formally pursue repairs, then an official decision will be made on the source of the funding. VFP

U P C O M I N G  E V E N T S

Maywood Civil War event

Safe Summer art contest for grades 6th through 8th 

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A press conference to announce the launch of this year’s Safe Summer program will be held outside of 125 S. 5thAvenue on Saturday, May 14, 2 p.m. To access more information on the art contest, or the form to fill out, click the document above or click here.