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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Trustee George Brewton Moves to Table MWRD Project Agenda Items

The Village of Robbins regular council meeting ended without a resolution for the MWRD flood control project

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Erica Chiang
Erica Chiang
Chief Editor of the Southland Journal

Trustee George Brewton Moves to Table MWRD Project Agenda Items (Robbins, IL) — With a quorum established, Mayor Darren Bryant called the Village of Robbins regular council meeting to order at around 7:10 PM. The Mayor and all trustees were present, along with the village clerk, administrator, deputy clerk, legislative assistant, finance director, and executive assistant.

The first several items on the agenda were run through fairly quickly, with approval of minutes from the October 26 and 31 meetings, a couple communications and announcements read by Clerk Sharon Dyson, and a quick Mayor’s report. Marlo Kemp, the village’s Finance Director presented the Treasurer’s report, which provided a run-down of the village’s account balances.

Committee Reports

Standing committee reports consisted of Trustee Collier asking that residents watch where they are parking to avoid blocking water meters. He said that the blocked meters result in the inability to properly read the meters, which then causes incorrect water billing. Trustee Robinson provided the public safety report, where she sang the praises of the license plate readers. She said that the newly-installed cameras have resulted in a lot of great information for the Robbins Police Department and have helped in fighting some of the crime that has been plaguing the village. David Sheppard, the village’s Chief of Police, backed Robinson up, saying the information provided by the cameras have been instrumental in gaining traction in active police investigations. In one instance, he stated that the plate reader cameras caught the license plate number of a vehicle involved in a crime, and the vehicle was able to be located with several key pieces of evidence being retrieved from it, including a driver’s license.

New Business

The trustees approved a motion to accept an offer by Municode to provide codification services to the village for their ordinances. The trustees previously discussed the offer by Municode at a past meeting, where the sentiment was that the service was necessary and important to get the village’s ordinances organized. The project will cost the village $12,950.

Mayor Bryant announced that the he would like to alter the wording on the village seal. The current seal reads “We learn by doing,” which was changed by the previous administration. The mayor said he changed the seal to have it say, “Achievement through community spirit.” This was the wording before the previous administration changed it. The item will be voted on at a later meeting.

The trustees discussed and approved an engagement letter for a forensic audit from Benford, Brown & Associates, a CPA firm with offices in Chicago and Bolingbrook. They approved a total of $20,000 to be expended to conduct this audit, with a check-in at $10,000. The hourly charge for this audit will be $200. The topic of a forensic audit has been a hot-button issue since Bryant took office.

A five-year contract was also approved by the trustees for the village to purchase body cameras, tasers, and an evidence.com subscription from Axon. The contract would cost $59,000 per year and would provide the products and cloud services for 28 police officers. Chief Sheppard stated to the board that HB 3653 mandates that all officers are equipped with body cameras by 2025, and that there are grants made available each spring for police departments to apply for that can help offset the cost, although the funds are not guaranteed. He also mentioned that although the village has 14 officers on staff, they have applications for several more that he is going through.

MWRD Project

The final two agenda items were tabled by a motion by Trustee Brewton as several of the trustees had reservations about a proposed project by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. An attorney for the village spoke up, urging the village trustees to make a decision as soon as possible, however the trustees had concerns about some of the language in the project proposal, which they say included technicalities regarding engineering that were difficult to understand. The project would aim to prevent flooding along Midlothian Creek.

The first item tabled was a resolution approving an amendment to the intergovernmental agreement between the village and the MWRD for acquisition of land, and the second was a resolution approving an agreement between the Cook County Land Bank and the village for the purchase and sale of land. The village attorney said that moving on the land acquisition agreements too slowly will likely lead to delays, citing the holiday season that typically sees a slow-down in the process of transferring property. If the property is not transferred by the end of the year, the offer by MWRD will expire.

Citizens spoke out for several minutes about the project, with some admonishing the board for not having enough information to make the decision. One citizen asked why several of the board members were still confused when they were board members with the project was originally brought to the table in 2016. The citizens and trustees discussed bringing an engineer on board to help decipher the language and plans. The trustees assured the citizens that they were working diligently ensure the village was not taken advantage of. Mayor Bryant also stated that he was able to get language included that provided the village ownership of any limestone and dolomite that was recovered in the course of the completing the project. As the meeting went into closed session, citizens slowly ambled out of the room, still expressing discontent with the handling of the project.

The full Village of Robbins council meeting video can be found here:

Trustee George Brewton Moves to Table MWRD Project Agenda Items

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