The Village of Dolton Held a Meeting on November 15 Where They Discussed and Considered a Host of Items and Presentations

The Village of Dolton Held a Meeting on November 15 Where They Discussed and Considered a Host of Items and Presentations 
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The Village of Dolton Held a Meeting on November 15 Where They Discussed and Considered a Host of Items and Presentations (Dolton, IL) –

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Some of the presentations included:

  • A presentation by Jesse Elam of the Cook County Department of Transportation about two projects the village has in the Chicago Region Environmental Transportation and Efficiency (CREATE) program. The program came in an effort to modernize the region’s rail network to maintain and improve its economic competitiveness. The nearly $5 billion program consists of 70 projects, increasing capacity and reliability for freight train tracks, separating freight and commuter trains at six key junctions and eliminating 25 road and rail grade crossings. Dolton’s projects consist of upgrading outdated signal designs and tracks, re-configuring connections that come through the village and constructing a third main line. The next step is to finalize funding agreements with the federal government and begin construction. Mayor Henyard said she’s excited for the work slated for the village. “I welcome you, I can’t wait to start this project and I can’t wait to see it come into fruition,” she said.

  • Al Kindle, special assistant to the Cook County Board President, went on to present a new Metra program called Fair Transit, which offers free assistance with economic development and other services to the village and it’s residents. There has been $30 million allocated to the pilot program to offer up to a 50% fare reduction on Metra’s Electric and Rock Island lines as well as improved frequency on Pace Route 352 Halsted. The pilot started in January 2021 and will end in 2023, when the county with conduct an evaluation on its findings. “Part of the thing we want to do is reduce the number of vehicles that are commuting back and forth to work as well as reducing emissions and increasing our economic viability in the Southland,” Kindle said.

  • A presentation of a CEDA Low Income Home Energy Assistance(LIHEAP) program to pay up to $1,500 for resident water bills who meet certain poverty level guidelines. The goal of the program is to prevent disconnections, restore drinking water and wastewater services to households, and reduce arrears. Water bill payments must be made directly to the village. Eligible residents must meet the federal poverty income guidelines. Those guidelines will be made available by the village or those interested can contact CEDA for more information. The program can only be applied for one time. Complete a pre-application online at cedaorg.net/liheap/pre-app.

Trustee Kiana Belcher

Trustee Kiana Belcher brought forth three resolutions to discuss with the board, which led to moments of tense disagreement with Henyard. One item aimed to separate the warrant list and payroll for them to be approved before being issued. “We approve (payroll) after we’ve already been paid, so if somebody is getting paid that has not been appropriately hired or with consent of the board or shouldn’t be paid, we should be able to view that before paying it out.”

Henyard said trustees can contact village staff before payroll happens to rectify the issue. Belcher said she hasn’t been able to obtain a lot of that information. That speaks to an issue trustees have voiced in the past of staff allegedly not sharing information at Henyard’s directive, an allegation Henyard has denied.

Trustee Steave reminded Henyard that the trustees previously passed an ordinance for the village’s finance director to share information with them, which contextualizes why Belcher raised the issue.

“He said at a board meeting that he was instructed not to give it to us, so we have (access now) but I understand what Trustee Belcher is trying to do because she’s trying to get ahead of it because some of the spending is out of control,” Steave said.

Henyard still wondered what the issue was if trustees knew the date payroll was due, noting they could ask staff questions about it before them.

“If payroll is batched on Wednesday, call them on Wednesday, meet with Cris on Wednesday about whatever payroll is in question,” Henyard said.

Trustee Jason House said payroll reports are always sent to the board after they’ve been processed. If that information can be given before being processed that would be a good solution, he added.

Belcher also presented an item for invoices that are paid with credit card to be issued with an electronic statement list before trustees vote on them. The item came after the last board meeting, when Belcher asked Henyard about a credit card charge for $300 connected to a hotel for the Illinois Municipal League conference. Henyard said she’d look into where that charge came from because at the moment, she didn’t know. Attaching invoices for credit card statements for the board’s review would help them dive into the details of what’s been purchased, Belcher said. Cristiano Miroballi, the village’s finance director, said he’d be willing to do that but the information could already be viewed using some of the village’s current systems.

Resolution

The board also discussed a resolution related to a background check policy — retroactive to May 7 — brought forth by House. He said residents are concerned about the way background checks have been handled in the village and there needs to be an effort in “correcting the things that might’ve slipped through the cracks.” Henyard said she “personally doesn’t go backwards.”

“The past is the past, the present and the future is what we look forward to,” she said. “Those that have been hired, whether it’s been through me, the village, the previous administration already have a job. I would never in my life go and tear up anyone’s life as it relates to anything you think or assume is going to be a background that comes back. Because the way y’all did that one individual as it relates to their background or whatever they did, is inhumane and you guys kind of tore apart someone’s life. I think people should look at that and handle things differently.”

She said she’s asked for a legal opinion on the issue at a future board meeting. House said his statement isn’t specific to an individual but to concerns brought to him by residents. The policy also is about fixing mistakes the village has made, he added.

“There’s a big concern not specific to the individual but with the position as well,” he said. “My stance lies more around ‘we made a mistake’ and to say ‘okay we’re not going to go backwards and fix that mistake,’ is not a stance I would encourage to take.”

The Village of Dolton Held a Meeting on November 15 Where They Discussed and Considered a Host of Items and Presentations 

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