Tag: Village of Broadview

Broadview Among Villages Flying Bicentennial Flag

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: State Rep. Welch, State Sen. Lightford, Mayor Thompson and Commissioner Boykin point toward the Illinois Bicentennial flag raised over Broadview’s village hall on Dec. 4. | Rep. Welch/Facebook 

Residents and elected officials converged on Broadview’s Village Hall, 2350 S. 25th Ave., on Dec. 4 to raise the official Illinois Bicentennial flag in the run-up to the state’s 200th year of statehood next year.

Continue reading “Broadview Among Villages Flying Bicentennial Flag”

Maywood Releases Fall Cleanup Schedule | Broadview Leaf Program Begins

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Stock image of curbside leaves | www.videoblocks.com

The village of Maywood and Republic Services will be picking up large, bulky household items and junk, in addition to smaller items (which must be placed in containers or tied and bundled), throughout October.

Continue reading “Maywood Releases Fall Cleanup Schedule | Broadview Leaf Program Begins”

BRIEFLY: Broadview Approves $14M Budget

Broadview FY17 BudgetThursday, June 2, 2016 || By Michael Romain

During a May 23 meeting, the Village of Broadview’s Board of Trustees approved a FY 2017 budget totaling $13,960,109 in general fund revenue. The new budget is roughly 5.6 percent more than what was spent during the last fiscal year.

The village anticipates an increase of roughly 3 percent in property tax revenue for FY 2017 over FY 2016. The village anticipated a roughly 65 percent increase in revenue from intergovernmental transfers, such as the state income and replacement taxes; from $328,945 in FY 2016 to $541,667 in FY 2017.

This fiscal year’s budget passed with three votes, which represented a quorum, since one trustee was absent. Trustees Diane Little, John Ealey and Judy Brown-Marino voted in favor of the budget.

To view the authorized budget in its entirety, see below:

Judge Clears Broadview Library To Proceed

Broadview Library

A concept drawing of the Broadview Library’s new expansion, which will sit on an adjacent 4,100-square-foot parcel of land next door to the building at 2226 S. 16th Ave which the library bought from the village for $42,500. || Caption/Photo: Chronicle Media

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 || Originally Published: Cook County Chronicle || 5/23/16 || By Jean Lotus

Broadview Public Library Board President Katrina Arnold said Friday she is cautiously optimistic the library may be able to move forward in its goal to build an addition and renovate the building with tax dollars the voters approved by referendum in 2012.

The hang-up has been an ongoing dispute with the Village of Broadview, which the library has sued twice to issue building permits and get the project going.

“We’re moving things forward and that shows what we are fighting for is true,” said Arnold.

Judge Diane J. Larsen, in Cook County Chancery Court, ruled Friday that variances in parking requirements and the project’s design, originally approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals in December 2013, could be considered approved, even though the village board had voted to overturn the variances about a month later.

“We got our variances approved,” Arnold said. “Now we have to apply for permits and you know it’s going to be another game.”

The library lawsuit names Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones and Building Commissioner David Upshaw, who also serves on the library board, and accuses them of “sabotage and delay” of the project.

If the logjam can be broken, the library’s new expansion will sit on an adjacent 4,100-square–foot parcel of land next door to the building at 2226 S. 16th Ave which the library bought from the village for $42,500. The library and village created an intergovernmental agreement in 2000 to use the land for an expansion. But the village backtracked on the 12-year-old memo, saying the agreement was not for a project that would require parking variances.

The project was approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals, chaired by Arnold’s husband Wayne Arnold, in December 2013. Upshaw complained at the ZBA hearing that Arnold’s husband was too close to the matter and should recuse himself. Arnold refused saying he served as the ZBA chair as a volunteer and so there was no conflict of interest. Wayne Arnold also said his wife served without compensation.

The village board voted to overturn the ZBA’s approval of the library’s addition in early 2014 and the project slammed to a halt. In December 2014, the Village of Broadview changed the powers of the ZBA to be just an advisory board, with final zoning say being granted by the village board.

Friday, Judge Larsen ruled the village could change the powers of the ZBA, but the ZBA’s past decisions would have to be upheld.

The library’s suit accuses the mayor of interfering in the library’s project and alleges he wanted to propose an alternate construction project at a different site.

Arnold told the Cook County Chronicle in March the mayor proposed a partnership with handpicked developers to build a commercial strip mall building with a library on the upper floor combining the library’s funds and private money.

“The village admits it had discussions through Mayor Jones with the library board regarding the feasibility of constructing a new building instead of expanding the existing facility,” said the village’s response to the library’s original complaint. Jones said in March he couldn’t discuss ongoing litigation.

When the library board turned the mayor’s proposal down, Arnold said, the relationship with the village became strained.

The library’s lawsuit describes disappearing architectural plans, a possibly false delivery signature and other alleged evidence that the village personnel, and Upshaw specifically, were sabotaging the project.

The village’s response denies the claims. The village’s lawyers assert that the village didn’t deny the library a permit because the library never asked for one. A multipage affidavit from Upshaw describes the permit process in detail.

Now that the library is armed with a court order, the next step is to submit to the permitting process and wait for approval.

Meanwhile, Arnold said she and some of her fellow library board members were already making plans with architects and hoping to start building soon.

“I just knew we were going to win this,” she said.

The library has socked away more than $4 million for the project, based on a small tax paid by Broadview residents since 2012.

Arnold said on unexpected advantage of the multi-year delay is that the price of computers and other technology might be cheaper.

“We have an awesome new director and I think we will be victorious and get a wonderful new library for our town.” Arnold said. VFP

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Broadview Library Suing Village Of Broadview Over Building Permits

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An architectural rendering of a proposed Broadview Public Library addition || Broadview Public Library

Monday, March 7, 2016 || Originally Published: Cook County Chronicle || 3/2/16 || By Jean Lotus

The Broadview Public Library is suing the Village of Broadview to try to shake loose building permits for a remodel that got zoning approval and was supposed to break ground in 2013.

The lawsuit accuses village staff of engaging in unlawful shenanigans involving missing architectural plans, a false signature and an alleged conflict of interest for a library trustee who is also the village building commissioner.

A status hearing was held Feb. 26 on a request for declaratory judgment filed by the library in Cook County Chancery Court on Oct. 19, 2015. A court update was scheduled for March.

“The village has been using stall tactics since November,” said Library Trustee Board President Katrina Arnold. “We could have made a lot of money [if this was] a reality show. This has been the most draining experience.”

Arnold said the library is being punished because the board rebuffed a suggestion from Mayor Sherman Jones to move to a new location and build from scratch — with handpicked developers.

The expansion project began in November 2012, when Broadview residents voted by 81 percent to approve a $4.1 million referendum to build a 5,000-square-foot addition and remodel the building located at 2226 S. 16th Ave.

According to court documents, the project was on the library horizon “for years” and was designed as a “state-of-the-art” facility offering after-school activities for children and larger spaces for more community enrichment activities.

The addition would occupy part of an adjacent 4,100-square-foot parcel sold in 2000 by the village to the library for $42,500. The library and village crafted an intergovernmental agreement that the lot would eventually be used for expansion of the library.

But when library staff began to plan the expansion, Arnold said, Jones proposed an alternative plan.

“He wanted us to give him our building and build new on the vacant land where there had been a Baptist church at 17th and Sycamore,” Arnold said.

A public-private partnership was proposed with developers who wanted to build a commercial space with the library on the upper floors.

Arnold said the library board declined the offer and moved ahead by hiring an architect to design the plans for the new, more frugal addition. The Broadview Library District is a distinct entity, separate from the village.

Meanwhile, Village Building Commissioner David Upshaw ran for library trustee in 2013 — with the mayor’s help — and became president of the library board. Upshaw was the village official who was supposed to approve the library’s building permits, the library’s lawsuit said.

In March 2013, when the architect sent plans via Federal Express to the village, they vanished, according to the lawsuit. Upshaw said he never received the plans, and the signature on the FedEx proof-of-delivery document was “Jose Garcia.”

In court documents, an Oct. 2015 affidavit from another library board member said he observed Upshaw allegedly “sign for, receive and open a FedEx parcel” in the Broadview Building Department According to the statement, “[Upshaw] viewed the contents, excused himself and shortly returned without the parcel. Laughing, he [allegedly] stated that he signed for the article as ‘Garcia.’”

The lawsuit says a handwriting analysis showed there was a “high likelihood the ‘Jose Garcia’ signature was forged by Commissioner Upshaw.”

A police report was filed and the package turned up a few days later, “opened and taped up,” Arnold said.

The library’s lawsuit alleges Upshaw “engaged in illegal acts to accomplish an unlawful purpose” and that he wanted to “sabotage and delay the approval process for the library expansion.”

Upshaw declined to comment when reached by telephone.

Arnold’s husband, Wayne Arnold, served as the chair of the Broadview Zoning Board of Appeals in 2013. According to court documents, Upshaw requested that Arnold recuse himself from the December 2013 ZBA meeting where variances were requested by the library. Wayne Arnold refused, saying he had no financial conflict because he served the ZBA as a volunteer and his wife also served as a library trustee as a volunteer.

At the ZBA meeting, village lawyers argued the intergovernmental agreement was no longer valid because it didn’t address parking. But the ZBA approved the project unanimously. 

However, even after approval from the ZBA, the village board has refused to issue permits for more than a year, the lawsuit said.

“We should have had the project off the ground in 2013,” Katrina Arnold said. “Construction costs have gone up; the taxpayers’ money is not going to stretch as far as we thought. We wanted to have a nice library in our village.”

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief from the court to mandate that the village issue the necessary permits. The suit also asks the court to circumvent Upshaw’s duties as building commissioner and replace him with an expert picked by the court.

“David Upshaw, he has a habit of trying to impede the process,” Katrina Arnold said. “With him being on our library board and with the village, that’s just a conflict of interest.”

Jones said he didn’t have any solutions for the conflict between the library and the village.

“I have no idea how it can be resolved,” he said.

He declined to talk about the lawsuit because it was pending litigation. VFP

P A I D  A D V E R T I S I N G

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IMPACT AD III

After Major Budget Overhaul, Broadview Achieves Major Credit Upgrade

Broadview mayorFriday, February 19, 2016 || By Michael Romain || Upgraded: 10:30 PM 

Broadview mayor Sherman Jones, far left, pictured with former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn during a community event in 2014.

Standard & Poor’s, the rating services agency, recently upgraded the Village of Broadview’s underlying bond rating from ‘BBB’ to ‘A+,’ the final two upgrades in a four-level increase that took place over roughly a year. Broadview’s officials say it could be rather unprecedented.

Before the ‘BBB’ rating, the village’s rating was two notches lower, a BBB minus with a negative outlook, according to Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones, whose figures were confirmed by a Feb. 27, 2015 S & P analysis.

At the time of the Feb. 27 analysis, which announced the village’s bond outlook from positive to stable, S & P credit analyst Kathryn Clayton noted that the “positive outlook reflects our view of the village’s strong budgetary performance and management’s expectation that reserves will return to positive during the next two to three years.”

“That’s basically unheard of,” Jones said. “We asked S & P why we got such a huge bump and the only reason they didn’t take us off BBB the last time they regraded us was because we still had a $3.8 million deficit in our general fund.”

Less than one year later — and with the village having erased that earlier deficit —  a Feb. 10, 2016 S & P analysis noted that the recent upgrade “reflects our view of the village’s improved budgetary flexibility, with positive fund balances, and management’s expectation that revenues will increase, allowing continued financial stability,” according to S & P analyst Jessica Akey.

Jones said when he took office in 2009, he inherited an $800,000 pension fund deficit, a $5 million deficit in the village’s capital projects fund and more than $20 million of debt.

“That all came about because of some poor financial practices of the previous regime,” Jones said during a recent interview. “And it resulted in layoffs in the police and fire departments and a total dismantling of the public works department.”

Jones said the village brought in outside contractors to explain its financial situation before he doubled down on more budget cuts and more aggressively pursued alternative sources of revenue like federal and private grants, and public/private collaborations with local businesses.

“We brought in all department heads and separated out the budget,” he said. “We took out the annual revenues and projected revenues and tasked our department heads with coming up with budgets that were reasonable, achievable and attainable — and after they did, we cut the budgets some more. We also went out and got contractors and explained what our financial situation was. We cut a lot of expenses across the board.”

Jones said he also got buy-in from village employees to look for ways to cut the costs of employees’ insurance plans, which he said was costing the village “well over $1 million a year.”

“The cost of insurance was killing us,” he said. “It was ridiculous. So, I created a committee of the employees so they could buy into [budget reform measures]. Each department would get a representative on the committee and they came up with a plan that would save the village money and would save them money and at the end of the day, we’d all have a good deal. So, that committee meets now and does that work for me.

“That’s work I don’t have to do — but it’s to their benefit, because they don’t have such high insurance rates and they can stem off any potential layoffs and revenue shortfalls. They’re in, they know it from the ground-up, there’s no hiding anything. We’ve changed our insurance carrier three times since I’ve been here and saved over $1 million in health benefit costs for employees, which directly impacts our bottom line.”

Jones said as he and his team made deep cuts, they also got creative in their quest to find new revenue streams.

“We created some public/private partnerships that garnered us a lot of infrastructure, things we couldn’t have paid for out of pocket,” Jones said. “For example, Garda Armored Car Service [which is based in Broadview] has a public/private partnership with us that yielded us five brand new SUVs, so we didn’t end up spending any money out of our coffers for those. We also got some grants that paid for police officers. We got grants that paid for 75 percent of a brand new fire engine. We ended up getting a brand new ambulance. There were a lot of things we did to change how we did things in order to achieve this.”

“It’s pretty unprecedented,” said Broadview’s Interim Finance Director Gregory J. Peters about the bond upgrade, echoing the perspective of one of the village’s financial advisors. “It’s very unusual.”

“The first big thing was that the village was able to financially get out of this deficit position. The ratings agency wouldn’t have moved the village’s bond rating to any kind of ‘A’ rating as long as it was in deficit.”

Peters and Jones noted that a recent infusion of cash into the village’s coffers from an expiring TIF fund helped erase much of that deficit. Now, Jones noted, the village is projecting an estimated $300,000 surplus for the 2016 fiscal year.

Jones noted that the new rating gives the village serious momentum in a variety of areas.

“It makes the cost of money cheaper — it’s just like your credit rating,” he said. “It allows you to have a whole lot more financial flexibility to do things. It makes people want to come to your town, because they know you’re financially stable. This impacts the entire community.” VFP

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