Germantown village board approves raises

Nick Stroman

For the first time in eight years, the mayor and board of trustees in Germantown Hills will be receiving a pay increase, but not as much as previously proposed.

Last month, village attorney Greg Bell was instructed to draft an ordinance increasing the mayor’s annual salary to $5,000 and trustees’ per-meeting pay to $75.

At its meeting Thursday, Bell had to throw out that original ordinance as the board approved paying the mayor $4,000 annually and trustees $65 per meeting.

Three motions had to be approved by the board: the mayor’s increase, the trustees’ increase and an attorney-drafted village ordinance authorizing both increases.

The increases would apply for the 2009 and 2011 elections as well.

Each time, the vote was 4-2 with trustees John Ford and Mike Gaetz casting the no votes.

Trustee Terry Quinn proposed the reworked figures.

“I think the amounts are justified with the value of the dollar, inflation and bringing us more in line with communities around us,” Quinn said.

Ford and Gaetz both said they liked the original proposal, and the new figures actually did not keep them in line with what is happening in other municipalities throughout central Illinois.

Quinn said he came up with the new numbers to discourage people wanting to get involved in village government for financial reasons.

“It doesn’t matter to me, but no one has been beating the doors down to come do this work,” trustee Jim Booth said.

“I’m so glad we got those no’s out of the way,” Ford added after votes were taken.

The trustees’ pay will only apply to regular and special board meetings, and act as incentive to attend further meetings as a board representative.

Thursday was the first meeting in which trustees presented their board representative reports on topics such as personnel and sewer.

A motion to approve changes to the mayor and trustee duties was deferred because Booth and trustee Greg Neaveill said they did not have time to review the attorney’s proposed resolution.

In other action and discussion, the board:

• approved to pay Darin Steffen and 3-D Construction, Inc. the remaining 10 percent for the entire Motor Fuel Tax project.

The payment was held for 30 days while Steffen and his crew completed a reseal job on Holland Road.

Hundreds of phone calls and more than 30 complaints came into village hall in August just days after the seal coating project began due to damage to vehicles, driveways and roads.

Some board members commented they were not pleased with the look of the reseal job, but wondered if the promised 100 percent warranty from Steffen covered just structural functionality or applied to aesthetics as well.

The board also approved sending a letter and invoice to engineers Shive-Hattery asking for their agreed contribution to the reseal job on Holland Road, minus engineer fees.

• heard results from planning commissioner Joann Quinn about a recent road study conducted by the Illinois Department of Transportation to possibly lower the in-town speed limit on Route 116 to 45 mph.

The commissioner said IDOT officials told her they would not be able to lower the speed because it is an open area and it would make it more dangerous to lower it, causing drivers to travel at different rates of speed.

“When I mentioned the school situation and students, he told me their studies indicate lowering the speed limit doesn’t make pedestrians any safer,” she added.

She said when she mentioned other communities like East Peoria and Metamora being approved to lower their in-town speeds, IDOT told her it was because the communities met the requirements of having curbs and gutters.

Johnson said he would like to speak with the Woodford County Sheriff’s Department and get their thoughts about future speed limit enforcements in the village.

The mayor added the results of the traffic enforcements could then be taken back to IDOT for further consideration of speed limit reductions.