Other cuts possible; police increases off-limits
by Susan O’Neill
The Sugar Grove Village Board on April 21 approved the coming fiscal year’s $4.3 million budget that includes a $37,000 deficit despite staff cuts.
The board and other village officials have made substantial cuts to expenses in an attempt to balance the general fund budget, including letting three village employees go and freezing any raises for non-union employees this year.
The village has also asked the Sugar Grove police union to waive the two raises it negotiated for officers at the beginning of this year. The first annual raise, to take effect Friday, May 1, is a 3.25 percent increase for the 12 covered patrol officers. A second increase, set to go into effect on Aug. 1, is for $2,589 for each individual, which will vary by percent based on the current annual salary of the officer.
The union contract was the first between the police officers and the village.
The two increases will total approximately 8 percent per officer, said Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger. The total amount comes to the approximate amount of the deficit, $37,000. According to Eichelberger, at the time the village was still holding out hope that it would receive the concession from the union.
As of press time, the village had not received a response.
â€œWe’re here at April 29, and it’s fair to say they’re not interested in that proposition,â€ Eichelberger said.
Keith Karlson, the attorney for the Metropolitan Association of Police, the union representing the Sugar Grove police officers, pointed out that Village President Sean Michels said during his campaign for re-election that the village was running at a surplus, and was doing well.
â€œThe MAP expects the village to uphold its end of the bargain that it negotiated less than six months ago,â€ Karlson said.
The board has tentatively scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, May 12, to discuss further potential cuts in order to balance the budget. Eichelberger said it will be up to the board to decide whether or not to balance the budget, and if so, what cuts will be made to accomplish it.
He said that so far, the village has not come up with options that do not involve some impact on other personnel. This may or may not include additional layoffs, he said.