Tag: Michael Jurusik

Maywood Approves New Police Contract

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Maywood village officials are counting a new police contract that they approved unanimously during a Dec. 6 regular board meeting as a significant achievement that could save the village money in the future.

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Maywood Officials Say Mayor, Trustee Improperly Applied for $10K Grant

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Last month, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept a $10,000 restorative justice capacity building grant from Cook County, but the board’s approval of the funds didn’t come without a lengthy, sometimes tense, debate about whether or not the money was secured appropriately.

Continue reading “Maywood Officials Say Mayor, Trustee Improperly Applied for $10K Grant”

Village Officials Say They’re Moving Fast to Tear Down Hazardous Properties

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An abandoned auto repair shop on the 1100 block of South 17th Ave., which is slated for fast-track demolition. | Village of Maywood

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

During a July 12 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee meeting, Maywood village officials said that they’re getting closer to executing a measure unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees in March to put 12 hazardous properties in the village through the fast-track demolition process.

Fast-track demolition allows municipalities to bypass the courts and demolish properties, no higher than three stories that are “open and vacant and determined by the Village to be continuing hazard to the community,” according to a March memo drafted by the village’s contracted law firm, Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins.

Village officials provided an update on the demolition process after at least two residents complained about an abandoned auto repair shop located on the 1100 block of South 17th Ave. that was among the 12 properties slated for demolition.

Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet Jr. said that the former auto repair shop was the “location we caught [and arrested] our first official fly-dumper.” Norfleet said the person was throwing material inside of the boarded-up building. The suspect’s truck was also confiscated.

“Hopefully, [that building on 17th Ave.] comes down very shortly,” Norfleet said, adding that he hopes within the next 30 to 90 days.

Maywood Assistant Village Manager David Myers said that the village’s attorneys have begun the process of verifying the owners of the 12 properties and are working on sending out letters to those owners, which is required as part of the process.

“The process is still moving,” Myers said. “We have signs ordered. We just need the green light to start the demolition process.”

Attorney Michael Jurusik said that a program administered through the Cook County Sheriff’s office will actually carry out the demolitions, saving the village money. But the speediness in which the process is carried out could also depend on how long it takes the county to act, he said.

“We’re moving as fast as possible,” he said. “We’re doing the minimum due diligence necessary to make sure the property owners have minimal notice of what to do with the properties. Our ducks are all lined up in a row. We’ve approved everything we need to approve on our end.”

Other properties scheduled for fast-track demolition:

  • 1825 S. 22nd Ave. 
  • 1821 S. 21st Ave. 
  • 1420 S. 21st Ave.
  • 1304 S. 21st Ave. 
  • 1248 S. 21st Ave.
  • 419 S. 21st Ave. 
  • 1817 S. 20th Ave. 
  • 440 S. 14th Ave.
  • 1205 S. 16th Ave. 
  • 1242 S. 16th Ave.
  • 2108 S. 8th Ave. 

F E A T U R E D  E V E N TBusiness reception Detailed Flyer_July

 

Maywood, Bellwood Opt-Out of Cook County Minimum Wage Law

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 4.36.06 PMFight for 15 photoFast food workers with Fight for 15 and the SEIU during a demonstration. | Wikipedia 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

At a May 16 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously on an ordinance that would effectively exempt private employers in the village from ordinances passed last October by the Cook County Board of Commissioners that would increase the minimum wage and establish earned sick leave for employees.

Under the county’s minimum wage law, private employers would be required to pay employees $10 an hour starting July 1, 2017. The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour.

The minimum wage in Cook County would then increase by $1 each year through 2020. On July 1, 2021 and each July afterwards, the minimum wage will increase by the rate of inflation up to 2.5 percent. If unemployment is over 8.5 percent, however, there will be no increase.

At a May 10 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee meeting where the matter was discussed, Maywood attorney Michael Jurusik said that the county’s minimum wage ordinance creates an “uneven playing field for employers and employees inside and outside of Cook County.”

Many home rule municipalities have opted-out of the county’s minimum wage law, creating an uneven patchwork of wage levels across the county. In addition, Jurusik said, the wage law also creates an uneven playing field between counties.

“The communities that are opting out want the state to address this in order to create an even playing field,” Jurusik said, before explaining that he wasn’t recommending a particular course of action for the village to take on the matter.

“When a community opts out, it creates an uneven playing field not only for employers but for employees,” he said. “You can have people in [neighboring] communities working the same job and getting different wages. That’s in Cook County. If you’re next to, say, DuPage County, you can have a scenario with three different sets of rules.

“Cook County took a step forward and raised the bar and I applaud them for that, but they’ve created now a patchwork of communities opting out, which [those communities] have a constitutional right to do.”

So far, Jurusik said, at least 13 other villages in Cook County have opted out, including Bellwood (which opted out in March), River Forest and Elmwood Park. Jurusik said he didn’t find any indication that Broadview, Forest Park or Melrose Park had opted out yet. The county’s minimum wage law doesn’t apply to public employers like municipalities, Jurusik said.

Currently, Springfield is working on a proposed minimum wage law, called HB 198, which would raise the minimum wage for both private and public employers across the state from its current level to $9 on January 1, 2018. The minimum wage would then increase to $10, $11.25, $13 and $15 each subsequent year until 2022.

Maywood Minimum Wage Chart

As of April 28, HB 198 had been referred to the House Rules Committee. State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), whose district encompasses Maywood, Bellwood, Broadview and other western suburbs, is listed as a co-sponsor of the proposed legislation.

“If House Bill 198 is enacted, it would provide a uniform minimum wage applicable to all Illinois employers and employees, as opposed to the Cook County Ordinance, which only applies to private employers within Cook County, and not public employers, like the Village,” Jurusik stated in a May 2 memo.

Jurusik stated that the county’s ordinance “may have been intended to push the state to establish a higher state-wide minimum wage.” VFP

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Maywood Decides Against Passing Chicago’s Roughly 2% Water Rate Increase Onto Residents

water faucetThursday, April 13, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Starting on June 1, the City of Chicago will raise water rates by 1.83 percent. Since the Village of Maywood purchases its own water from Chicago, the city’s rate increase will automatically be passed onto village residents in the form of higher water bills unless the board takes explicit action to set a different rate for residents.

During an April 12 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, Village Manager Willie Norfleet Jr. recommended against charging residents more for water despite Chicago’s rate increase.

“I would hope that we don’t pass the cost onto residents and use efficiency to recoup that [increased cost],” Norfleet said. No member of the board objected.

Norfleet said that the village purchases close to $3.6 million in water from Chicago each year. A 2 percent increase in the current rate would amount to an approximately $72,000 increase.

Since the village’s water fund is an enterprise fund, meaning that it needs to be self-sustaining — and expenditures must be balanced with revenues that the fund generates on its own — the city’s rate increase would either have to be balanced with new revenue (mainly in the form of higher water rates for residents) or cuts in spending.

Norfleet said that the village will focus on reducing the amount of delinquent water payments that are outstanding by “getting people who haven’t been paying [their water bills to pay],” fixing numerous water leaks that lead to wasted water and by “getting a better handle on meters” that aren’t reading properly.

Norfleet said that he’s confident the village can find enough cost-savings to offset the city’s rate increase. In June 2015, Norfleet estimated that the village collected around $333,000 within several days after he ordered that shutoff notices be sent to residents more than 60 days behind on their water payments.

Norfleet said that the board could still raise residents’ water rates at a later date if the village can’t find enough cost-savings to offset Chicago’s increase.

Currently, Maywood purchases its water from Chicago at a rate of $3.82 per 1,000 gallons. In 2016, there was no cost increase; however, in all but eight of the years before that, the city increased the water rate.

Chicago increased its water rate each year by 15 percent from 2008 until 2010. In 2012, it increased the rate by 25 percent. And from 2013 until 2015, the city increased the rate by 15 percent each year.

Attorney Michael Jurusik said that those rate are based on increases in the Consumer Price Index. Jurusik said that Maywood’s rate increase is the same as all other municipalities that purchase water from Chicago, including Bellwood, Broadview and Melrose Park. VFP

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Maywood to Discuss Sanctuary City Ordinance at Tonight’s LLOC Meeting, March 15

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The Maywood Board of Trustees will consider adopting either a “Sanctuary City” ordinance or a “Welcoming Resolution” at a Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting tonight, Wednesday, March 15, 7 p.m., at Council Chambers, 125 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood.

Last month, the board directed  village attorney Michael Jurusik to provide information on the legislative proposals at the insistence of Trustee Isiah Brandon, who referenced Oak Park’s recent passage of a “Welcoming Village” ordinance.

In a March 8 memo, Jurusik recommended that the village hold a discussion on whether or not to adopt “a ‘Welcoming Resolution’ that expresses support for immigrants.”

He said that his firm, Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, would not make a recommendation on how the board should actually vote on the matter.

“Several municipalities have adopted, or are considering adopting, sanctuary ordinances,” Jurusik wrote.

“These ordinances typically direct municipal employees and agents to not take a person’s immigration status into account, and to not comply with requests from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (‘ICE’) to detain undocumented immigrants longer than need for municipal purposes.”

President Donald Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from municipalities that don’t comply with his orders on immigration.

The villages of Melrose Park and Forest Park are currently considering similar ordinances. And last month, the Proviso Township High Schools District 209 school board passed a welcoming resolution supporting immigrant families. VFP

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Breaking: Maywood Considers Becoming a Welcoming Village or Sanctuary City

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a Feb. 15 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees directed village attorney Michael Jurusik to provide information related to the possibility of the board passing an ordinance that would designate the village either a Welcoming Village or Sanctuary City.

The proposal was introduced by Trustee Isiah Brandon, who said he was motivated to bring the matter to the board’s attention after a sobering story about a child of immigrants who lives in a neighboring suburb.

“I was listening to a story about someone in a neighboring community, a seventh-grader, who was scared to go to school because he was afraid that his parents may not be home when he got back from school,” Brandon said. “People should not be intimidated by what’s happening nationally.”

Brandon’s proposal comes just two days after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that it had conducted raids in several metropolitan areas across the country, including in the Chicago area. Agency officials said that ICE arrested 680 people across the country “who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system.”

Forty-seven of those arrests took place in the Chicago area, with one arrest happening in Melrose Park.

Brandon’s proposal didn’t get any pushback from other board members, but some trustees suggested that the village take a cautionary approach to adopting the measure.

“What might make a lot of sense is to, in addition to whatever drafts might come forward regarding Maywood, that we start to do some study and research on any ramifications for those kinds of things,” said Trustee Michael Rogers. “I know [welcoming village and sanctuary city ordinances] can be somewhat controversial, so we need to make sure we’re careful in the way we’d try implementing something like that.”

“I don’t have a reservation about this, but I don’t want us to lock ourselves into [something],” said Trustee Ron Rivers, who, along with Rogers, suggested that village officials investigate the possible ramifications related to becoming either a Sanctuary City or a Welcoming Village.

There’s a difference between the two, Rivers noted.

A Welcoming Village ordinance is more of a symbolic, albeit formal, gesture made by a municipality indicating to immigrants who may reside in its boundaries that they will be treated as equals.

A Sanctuary City ordinance would entail protecting immigrants in Maywood from certain actions made by federal agencies, such as ICE.

For instance, enacting a Sanctuary Village ordinance could put local police in the position to decline requests from ICE officials to access local databases, “facilities, and other resources for the purpose of implementing registries based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, national or ethnic origin, or to conduct civil immigration enforcement,” according to a recent report by the Washington Post.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, 300 municipalities across the country have enacted Sanctuary City legislation, including Chicago, Cook County and, most recently, Oak Park. The villages of Melrose Park and Forest Park are also considering becoming Sanctuary Cities.

But village officials in Maywood, while generally supportive of the principle undergirding the legislation, raised concerns at Wednesday night’s meeting about the possible financial impact of declaring the village a sanctuary.

Rogers and Rivers expressed concerns that declaring Maywood a Sanctuary City could trigger a loss of important state and federal funding. The village would not be able to absorb such losses as well as neighboring municipalities, Rogers said.

Whether or not local municipalities would actually lose federal funding by adopting Sanctuary City legislation, however, is a matter of considerable national debate — despite President Donald J. Trump’s campaign pledge to “eliminate all federal funding from sanctuary localities.”

“Cities, counties and states with sanctuary policies get federal money from dozens of different departments, most of which are not related to immigration,” the Post reported.

“Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order asked the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to withhold ‘federal funds, except as mandated by law’ from sanctuary cities,” the paper noted. “This is unclear wording that puzzled elected officials and municipal attorneys. Homeland Security funds could include money allocated to cities for counterterrorism.”

Jurusik — who said that his firm, Kleine, Thorpe & Jenkins, does work for Oak Park — noted that he’ll look to make sure that the village isn’t putting itself into a position to lose state or federal funding unnecessarily.

“If it’s the pleasure of the board to be a welcoming city, as opposed to a sanctuary city, we’ll look at that to make sure we can get our point across about having open borders and being a welcoming city, but without regulation that may hamstring us from being able to receive a federally funded state grant or federal grant,” Jurusik said.

Rogers recommended that board members educate themselves on the matter during an upcoming National League of Cities conference in Washington, D.C.

Once that additional information is gathered by board members, village staff members, and Jurusik, the board will consider what, if any, actions it plans to take on the matter. It could be two months before any ordinance is put to a vote — if the process gets that far. VFP

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