Avoiding the property tax hike lever is almost always a good thing if you are a village administrator or council member. But costs rise and revenue needs to match those increases. And in a small town without Home Rule authority, the options for adding fees and such incremental revenue streams are limited.
So you take what is available to you and right now Forest Park is leaning hard on errant motorists. Parking tickets, moving violations, suspended licenses, red light cameras (total scam, in our view), long forgotten but unpaid parking tickets are all key revenue sources. If it has an internal combustion engine, Forest Park is looking to ding it.
We’re talking real money here. In the hundreds of thousands of dollars in added revenue. We’re not exactly complaining. But in the same way we’re not exactly complaining, we’re also not exactly buying Village Manager Tim Gillian’s suggestion that there is no link between the village’s need for revenue and stepped up enforcement of traffic related offenses. We get that there is a fine line here and that Gillian is walking it as best he can. So, no, we don’t think the administrator is handing down quotas or giving cops explicit directives with a goal of turning the cop shop into a profit center.
But these new found funds aren’t simply serendipitous either. And that’s OK, too.
Living Word’s gospel
Rev. Bill Winston brought his Living Word Christian Center to Forest Park 25 years ago. From small outposts on both Roosevelt Road and Madison Street, Winston has grown his congregation and its mission in dramatic and positive ways.
The most obvious is Living Word’s 1997 purchase of the moribund Forest Park Mall. Littered with vacancies and with a bad reputation owing to its troubled movie theatres, the one-time torpedo factory was a glaring flop. With a keen business sense, Winston retooled the north side of the mall into a power strip center and rebuilt the back into an expansive home for his expansive ministry. Beyond the 2,500 seat sanctuary, there is the Joseph Business School, media production facilities, and offices which house his growing staff.
Forest Park has been blessed to have this ministry in its community. And we wish Rev. Winston, his wife Veronica, and the congregation continued success.
Boykin’s strong start
Even given the low bar set by his predecessor as 1st District commissioner on the Cook County board, and it was a woefully low bar set by Earlean Collins, we are impressed by the early traction shown by Commissioner Richard Boykin.
With two key hires, Cory Foster, a notable legislative aide in Springfield, as chief of staff and Adam Salzman, an Oak Park village trustee, as policy director, Boykin makes clear that he intends to have impact. These hires reinforce Boykin’s plan to be active and visible from the West Side to the western edge of Proviso Township.
Watch Boykin as he continues to push his focus on complex issues of mental health and as he brings county resources to a district that Collins allowed to be ignored.