SAUK VILLAGE | A trio of Sauk Village residents have taken it upon themselves to network and learn how to create a better local government.
Village Clerk Debbie Williams, her daughter Trustee Rosie Williams and Pat Couch, whom Rosie Williams describes as a very active senior member of the community, will attend the National Summit for Building One America on Thursday and Friday in Washington, D.C.
"I hope to learn ways to obtain the financial and economic help we need not only in Sauk Village but the south suburbs in general," Trustee Williams said. "Our collective goal is to find ways to work with our neighbors to help benefit the southern tip of Cook County."
The event for "inclusive suburbs and sustainable regions" is meant as a platform to discuss housing, education and infrastructure problems in metropolitan areas and its middle-class suburbs.
The bipartisan summit offers local officials a chance to network with local, state and national authorities, policy experts, scholars and members of Congress and the Obama administration. The plan is to establish relationships with people who can help the village in the future.
"I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly (in Sauk Village). There are many issues that Sauk Village is facing that are just getting worse over time," Debbie Williams said. "I look forward to learning more about opportunities that may be available to Sauk Village and to hear from others who may have overcome similar issues to the ones we are currently dealing with."
Debbie Williams said that with all of Sauk Village's financial issues, she knew the village wouldn't be able to pay for airfare, hotel rooms and registration for the event. So, they're absorbing a portion of the cost themselves.
The group also sought donations for the trip, which is expected to cost around $1,000 per person.
"We are very proud of that fact," Rosie Williams said. "Any monies we lack will be supplemented from our own pockets. This is something we feel is important and we are willing to do what we have to do to make this a reality."
Debbie Williams said all three are expected to offer the Sauk Village board a report when they return.
"As board members, we plan to put Sauk Village on the map. We know our citizens are devoted and deserve whatever services we can provide them," Rosie Williams said. "In recent years we have made many cuts to personnel, to services, to community services. I hope to be able to find ways to bring some of those back, whether that is through grants, fundraising or learning new ways to do things, I am interested in finding these things out."