Citing ‘fiscal responsibility,’ Oak Park trustees vote down $190K furniture purchase – Chicago Tribune
A plan to purchase $190,000 worth of new furniture for the Oak Park Village Hall was voted down by village trustees last week.
During the Sept. 5 meeting, trustees voted 4-3 against the contract with Forward Space LLC. The contract, if approved, would have paid for new carpet, new furniture and related coordination and design services for the second-floor workspaces at village hall.
“While I’m sympathetic to the fact there’s a disparity from the new stuff on the first floor versus the second floor, the furniture I saw, while not perfect, does have useful life remaining,” Trustee Dan Moroney said. “I would like to see us live with what we have. I think it’s a good idea for all taxing bodies to live with what you have.”
According to village staff, the proposal was part of a multi-year effort to update carpeting, painting and workspace furnishings within village hall. The Oak Park Village Hall currently has 50 offices and 30 workstations, officials said.
Trustee Deno Andrews first raised his concerns over the proposed purchase last month, and he still had those concerns before the vote.
“There’s certainly furniture that needs to be updated, but when I look at a $190,000 expenditure, I just don’t see the level of value at this point given our fiscal financial position,” Andrews said. “I don’t think the furniture is going to last as long as it will take to pay it off. I sat in some chairs today that were part of last year’s project, and I just don’t see those lasting 30 years. At least 80 percent of what I looked at today would be updating what we want instead of what we need.”
Trustees Moroney, Andrews, Andrea Button and Simone Boutet voted against the contract, while Trustees Bob Tucker and Jim Taglia and Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb voted yes.
According to village spokesman David Powers, the vote ended the next phase of the village hall remodeling project, and he said village staff had not been given a direction about whether to bring back an alternative proposal.
In voicing his opposition to the plan, Andrews again stressed the village’s need to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer money.
“I want us to have furniture that works, and I want to have good workspaces,” Andrews said. “I just think there’s a complete disconnect of want versus need. This is about fiscal responsibility. This (type of spending) will never stop unless somebody stops it.”