By Michael Romain
Wednesday, MAYWOOD — According to Mayor Edwenna Perkins, the loan that the Village Board offered the Maywood Public Library District in the wake of the financial crisis that resulted in the library’s closing for two weeks, has been turned down by the Library’s Board of Directors. Mayor Perkins said that she learned of the Library’s decision through a letter she got on last Friday. She hasn’t communicated with the Library Board since receiving the letter, which explains that the Board turned down the loan because it did not want to take on anymore debt.
The proposed loan–of not more than $150,000 to be expensed in no more than $30,000 monthly increments–would have come out of the general operating fund and was to be offset by a $500,000 capital grant the Village received from the State. The Village’s loan, in addition to a $150,000 loan from Seaway Bank, was supposed to ensure the Library’s financial solvency for another several months, at least until it receives about $400,000 in property tax receipts that will come due as part of the expiration of the St. Charles TIF this year. The Library would have paid back the Village loan with the money it received from the expiring TIF fund.
As the Village Board discussed extending the loan, there were signs that the Library Board might at least be reluctant to accept the offer. The money came with several strings attached.
The Board would have had the option of placing a second lien (after Seaway Bank’s lien) on the land adjacent, and owned by, the Library and/or placing a lien on the Library’s portion of the personal property tax. In addition to the liens, the Village would’ve also required the library to issue regular financial reports to the Village Board, similar to how outside contractors must regularly report their expenses. There was also some discussion about the Village having much more oversight with respect to the Library’s day-to-day operations, such as the creation of programming, among other conditions.
As of yet, there is no word on whether or not the Library’s refusal to accept the Village loan will substantially impact its current financial situation or its ability to stay open in the immediate future. It’s also unknown whether or not the Library has recourse to any alternative sources of funding outside of the proposed loan from the Village. As of press time, a Library representative could not be reached for comment.
Rep. Chris Welch (D-7th), who secured the $500,000 capital grant for the Village and convened a temporary Library Board Advisory Committee dedicated to generating solutions to the Library’s financial crisis, said that he was surprised when he heard about the Library’s decision.
“I was surprised to learn that the library [Board] rejected the loan agreement with the Village” he said. “I’m sure they have their reasons. I hope that the elected officials at the Maywood Library and the Village sit down and work through any issues. They cannot allow that library to close again.” More as this story develops. VFP