9-15 Pecatonica Village Board MtgBy Chris Johnson


PECATONICA – The shoes of former Pecatonica Village Clerk Cara Warkentien have been filled, as a new presence took control, in assuring the Village takes care of its fiscal and civic responsibilities.

Gwenn Shirley was sworn in during the Sept. 15 meeting of the Pecatonica Village Board.

With her right hand elevated, Shirley agreed to the contract terms and accepted the Oath of Office.

Prior to accepting the position, a compensation package had been discussed by Village President Dan Barber and his Board of Trustees.

The position won’t be compensated on a salary basis, according to information presented under the Village President’s section on the monthly Village Board Agenda.

An Ordinance allowing the change moved through Committee for consideration by Trustees.

The Village Clerk position, with notice of the former Village Clerk’s final day of activity, on Aug. 28, became vacant. Since then, the Village has maintained normal operation.

The plan was to pay the Village Clerk at an hourly rate, within a range of $14.47 and $19.23.

The Village would still offer comp-time, benefits and health insurance options.

Following Executive Session, Village Trustees agreed to pay the new Village Clerk at a rate of $15.00 per hour, effective, as of, Aug. 29.

The position would be classified under terms of a temporary, part-time employee for 30 hours a week.

All Trustees voted in favor of the plan, initially supported by Tricia Metz and seconded by Paula Hachmeister.

With an interview process completed and resumes reviewed, the candidate was selected and approved to act in the capacity of Municipal Assistant.

One of the first steps Shirley faced was note taking, as the annual discussion of the fiscal year budget resumed.

Finance Committee Liaison Zach Foster worked through each Committee’s expected allowance, with discussion focusing on the budgets for the Public Works, Public Safety and Administration Departments.

There will be less to work with this year, across the board, with declining dollars to work with, some within the range of tens-of-thousands of dollars.

The Public Safety Department had anticipated this shortfall, with the request for residents of the Village of Pecatonica to support a tax increase to maintain 24/7 protection.

The Administration Department also had a similar request for a tax increase.

Following referendum dismissal by residents, the Village’s Public Safety Department began making adjustments, in preparation for a diminished source of funding.

Discussion has surfaced with Village President Dan Barber and Trustees considering a new approach with a request for additional assistance from taxpayers in Pecatonica.

In additional action, a motion to discuss an Ordinance approving a dramatic increase in water rates, based on gallon usage, was tabled until a Public Hearing could be held, giving residents a chance to hear what faces them.

The current rate of $2.59, as a base rate, will increase to $5.03 in 2020, in this plan, based on zero gallons of water used.

Subsequently, the usage fee per 100 gallons, currently at $.49, would be expected to increase to $1.19, by 2020.

The Public Hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. in the Pecatonica High School Commons Area.

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