Washington Park on the verge of shutting down, mayor says

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WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. – Leaders of a Metro East village are pointing the finger at one another amid financial turmoil.

The Village of Washington Park, Illinois, is on the verge of shutting down because the board of trustees refuses to vote on and pass a tax levy and budget.

Mayor Leonard Moore blames the board for the village’s dire straits. But the board of trustees puts the onus on Moore, saying it’s his fault.

“During that time, I asked for a motion to accept it. To have a vote on it. None of the trustees responded. They were there, but they wasn’t there,” Moore said. “They weren’t responding to anything. I called a special meeting two days after Christmas… No trustees showed up. So, I called another special meeting on Dec. 30. Only two trustees showed up.”

If the village shuts down, city employees will not get paid. The mayor says the streetlights may possibly be cut off, and the police and public works departments would be in jeopardy.

“Not having a police force. What that would force me to do is reach out, ask for emergency assistance from the state surrounding police areas to keep us safe here in the village,” he said. “Employees, staff, sent home. We are talking about a serious issue. I just can’t understand why the trustees aren’t doing their job.”

The mayor alleges that the board of trustees has neglected its duties and the citizens of Washington Park. The board of trustees has different thoughts.

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“There are things in that budget that we think that should not be there,” Trustee Mary McKinney said. “He’s spending money like it’s his money.”

A few members of the board state they will not vote until the mayor provides a detailed, itemized list for the budget.

“The mayor waited until the 19th hour to try to budget together and try to pass it,” Trustee Geneva Dotson said. “With the budget, he just has overall figures, like the salary of $80,000. We need to understand who is receiving the salary. 

“I’ve requested multiple times for him to provide us a line-item budget. And he has continued to refuse to do that.”

The board wants the state to investigate where the city dollars are going. Meanwhile, Mayor Moore is meeting with the village attorney to see how the city can move forward if the board of trustees continues its absence.

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