Trustees say public works staffing a budget priority
Village will set 2009-10 spending before end of July
by Martha Quetsch
Elburnâ€”Before the Elburn Village Board passes a new annual budget later this month, trustee Jeff Walter wants to make sure it allocates money for more public works department employees.
â€œThe department is seriously understaffed,â€ Walter said.
Walter said more staff is required for the many projects the department needs to tackle, including significant sewer maintenance, sidewalk and street repairs, and road restriping.
â€œThese are extremely important,â€ Walter said.
Trustee Gordon Dierschow agreed.
â€œThe Public Works Department definitely needs help. We have some serious problems that have to be taken care of,â€ Dierschow said.
Elburn Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven recently asked village officials to include $83,692 in the new budget for two new laborers.
Dierschow also wants the village budget to designate money for additional part-time police officers.
Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith asked the village to allocate money in the new budget for three additional part-time police positions; the officers would be paid an average of $20 hour with no overtime or benefits, he said. Smith also wants to hire another full-time officer who would be paid between $46,362 and $53,670.
Hiring additional staff will be a challenge for the village since its revenue has declined because of the drop in building permit fees and utility connection fees it has collected in recent months. Because of revenue constraints, Walter said he is glad that village staff are not seeking raises for 2009-10.
â€œI think it’s a very prudent move this year,â€ Walter said.
Dierschow said sales tax from the new Walgreen’s, set to open soon at Route 47 and Route 38, could help cover the cost of more employees. He said keeping expenses down in other areas will help, as well. Dierschow wants the budget to include only the most crucial public works projects this year, including repairing sidewalks that pose safety risks.
â€œWe could forgo all but the most treacherous,â€ Dierschow said.