By Kevin Beese
Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson came away with more than she expected when she held her first town hall meeting this past weekend.
Thompson, going on her second full month in office, walked away with a sense of residents’ concerns, but she always left with a commitment for $200,000 to help fix the village’s streets.
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin was at the meeting and said he will work to get county funds to help the village with road work. “I will try to get $200,000 for street repairs in the village,” Boykin, whose First District includes Broadview, said at Saturday’s town hall meeting at the Beverly Center.
Thompson said at Monday’s Village Board meeting that she is happy to get additional road money for the village. “We will build on our program or add streets,” Thompson said.
Boykin said he will also see if county money can be provided to help residents with their portion of the 50/50 program the village has to help homeowners eliminate flooding in their basements.
The 50/50 program covers part of the cost for installing a check value, providing flooding relief for many homeowners.
“You can only do so much. Water can only drain so fast,” said Village Clerk Kevin McGrier, a former village trustee. “That’s how you get flash floods. The water is going down slower than its coming in.”
McGrier noted that the check value keeps storm water stored in a separate vault and releases it slowly when the sewer system can better handle the water.
The cost for installing the value typically runs from $5,000 to $7,000. McGrier said, and the village picks up 50 percent of the cost, up to $2,500
“A lot of money has gone into the Deep Tunnel project (a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District effort to increase storm water storage), but there are still water worries,” Boykin said.”Every time it rains, residents are concerned flooding is going to happen. It is devastating. I am going to ask for county resources to help offset residents’ 50/50 costs.”
Kimberly Perkins, a resident of 15th Avenue, continued to have flooding in her basement. “I was skeptical of the 50/50 program, but it got the flooding controlled,” Perkins said. “It rains now and I sleep at night. There is not a drop of water. It’s been the best investment for me in 20 years of living there.”
Boykin said he continues to work to “make life a little bit better” for residents of the First District. He said he wants to ensure that in a $4.5 billion county budget, the First District gets its share of resources.
He noted that he did not support the tax proposals – a quarter-cent hike in the sales tax and a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages – that the County Board recently instituted.
“I voted against those crazy taxes,” Boykin said. “I did not vote ‘yes’ on the sales-tax increase or the beverage tax. I feel they hurt the residents of the First District. I think they’re a bad deal. You go to buy 64 ounces of grape juice (starting July 1) and they are going to add 64 cents onto it.”
Thompson said she is looking to work with other taxing bodies in the village to try to get summer jobs established for youth.
“I am asking each taxing body to put some money in their budget for youth jobs,” Thompson said. “We need to prioritize our investment and provide opportunities for our future leaders.”
Boykin said he has continued to push for a summer jobs program for the county Forest Preserve District as well. “One of the greatest funding sources, the county Forest Preserve Board, does not have a summer job program,” Boykin said.