Village OKs participating in land bank program

2013-07-23T21:34:00Z 2013-07-24T01:07:55Z Village OKs participating in land bank programGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent
July 23, 2013 9:34 pm  • 

SAUK VILLAGE | The Village Board approved a resolution Tuesday for an intergovernmental agreement to include the village in a land program overseen by the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association.

The association works with area municipalities to operate the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority, an organization created to help communities work together to redevelop vacant, foreclosed and other underused parcels of commercial and residential property.

Trustees gave their support without opposition, or much in the way of discussion.

Other communities already participating in the Land Bank include Park Forest, Blue Island and Oak Forest, although the association says it is willing to work with all 42 member municipalities in the area.

The land bank receives some assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In other business, village Clerk Debbie Williams defended against what she called misleading reports about her recent trip to Washington, D.C., for the Building One America conference.

Williams attended the conference and gave a presentation to the gathering about the conditions endured in Sauk Village with regards to tainted well water, and the efforts the village is taking to find a permanent solution to the problem.

But critics have used Facebook to say Williams’ trip was paid for by companies that do business with village government.

Trustees Derrick Burgess and Lynda Washington tried questioning Williams about the trip, only to have her say she viewed it as a “personal” trip that was not paid for with village funds.

“It was a personal trip, and I will not answer your questions,” Williams said, adding she was advised by attorneys from Odelson & Sterk — the village’s law firm — she did not have to disclose details.

Village President David Hanks said he’d like to know more specifically what details Williams would have to disclose for taking the trip. But he said he does not see anything wrong with her going to Washington.

“I encourage everyone to go to events and represent the village,” Hanks said. “We should take our blinders off and see the larger world. We should meet with our legislators to make sure that Sauk Village’s interests are represented.”

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