Quick News: Maywood Housing Authority to Remain Open Throughout 2014, SEIU Local 73 Expresses Lack of Confidence in Village HR Dept. and More…

By Michael Romain

Maywood Housing Authority–Still In Trouble, But Stabilized For Now

During the public comments portion of a December 11, Legal License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, Maywood Housing Authority (MHA) Executive Director Tiffany Robinson updated the Village Board on the status of the MHA, while venting her apparent frustration with the Village Board’s and staff’s alleged lack of communication since her last status report in September. Ms. Robinson noted that the MHA decided to remain open throughout 2014 after meeting with officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) about alternative sources of funding.

At an LLOC meeting in September, Ms. Robinson explained that her agency was close to insolvency and didn’t have the money to sustain its day-to-day operations. Austerity measures taken at the Federal level, such as the sequester cuts, and Congressional dysfunction, embodied in what was then the looming threat of a government shutdown, have put a strain on the MHA’s funding. Nearly all of the agency’s revenue comes from Federal transfers of funds. In September, Ms. Robinson emphasized that if the Maywood MHA were allowed to close its doors, the affects to the community would be substantial.

“There’s a domino effect that will occur,” she said. “You have to know that this is going to hurt the community […] it’s going to hurt us in the long-run […] it affects not only workers, but families and landlords.”

In order to ease the financial burden, Ms. Robinson asked if the Village would allow the MHA, which has been reduced to three staff members, to use one of its properties as office space. One of the spaces under consideration was the Maywood Multi-Purpose Center at 200 S. Fifth Avenue (informally known as the “200 Building”). At the time of the discussions, the Village Board, as a whole, seemed to welcome the idea. However, at the December 11, LLLOC, Ms. Robinson said that there’s been no traction since then.

She said that she emailed a letter from HUD to the mayor, each trustee and the Village manager on October 18, but has not yet received a response. And the potential use of the 200 Building has been suspended since then.

“All I ask is for a response,” said Ms. Robinson.

In addition to addressing the allocation of inspection services between the Village and MHA, Ms. Robinson also expressed a desire for one of the trustees to sit on the MHA board of commissioners, so that the Village would be more directly involved. She also requested that the number of MHA commissioners be reduced to five, instead of seven. She noted that there are only five commissioners who are currently active.

“We have more board members than we have staff,” she said.

SEIU Local 73 Issues Lack of Confidence in Human Resources Department

At a December 11, LLOC meeting, Nick Carone, a field organizer with the SEIU Local 73 mentioned during public comments that he was asked by union members in the Fire Department to present a petition of lack of confidence in the Village’s HR department. “This reflects no way on the Village Manager,” he said, before mentioning that Mr. Barlow and the Local “have had a decent relationship on labor issues.” More as this story develops.

St. Charles TIF Spending Items Proposed

At a December 11, LLOC meeting, Village Manager William Barlow presented a staff proposal of final TIF disbursements from the St. Charles TIF fund, which is set to expire next year. Mr. Barlow projected $3.9M in revenues for the St. Charles TIF in 2014, in addition to another $2.9M in carryovers, for a total of $6.8M. Among the items that Mr. Barlow and his staff have proposed for approval are the costs to the Metra Station totaling about $1M; police station repairs totaling $160K; pollution remediation for the former Kerry Young property on 1st and Ohio totaling $200K; $40K for a TIF financial consultant; $1.7M for Fire Station 1 renovations; 1st and Lake pollution remediation totaling $200K; alley improvements totaling $440K; $160K for the Village’s facade improvement program; and $340K for outside agencies (Bataan Day Memorial, Operation Uplift and the Maywood Public Library). A more precise tabulation of these proposed TIF expenditures will be presented in the future. VFP

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