The Will County Board is expected to vote Thursday on a variety of pay raise proposals put forth by the County Board's Executive Committee last week. Reviewing what we reported after that committee meeting: the proposals include reinstating the 500 dollar per year raise for County Board members, but having the pay increases put off until 2016. So that year County Board salaries would go from the currently frozen 23-thousand dollars to 24-thousand-500, and then to 25-thousand in 2017.
The stipend for the County Board Speaker, who is currently Herb Brooks, would go up from one-thousand to five-thousand dollars; while the stipend for the Board's Democrat and Republican leaders would stay at one-thousand dollars.
The three county officials up for election this year would see pay increases, with the other positions perhaps being taken care of later. The treasurer and county clerk would see their pay increase from just above 93-thousand to 97-thousand-500 in 2016, and then 99-thousand in 2017.
The Will County Sheriff, however, would see an increase immediately after this year's election: from the current amount of around 110-thousand dollars, up to 120-thousand dollars. Again, those votes are expected at Thursday morning's County Board meeting.
4-16 7:30 PM
Lockport Mayor Steve Streit (right) greets guests at the State of the City Address Wednesday at Broken Arrow Golf Course.
The new Mayor of Lockport spent over an hour touting accomplishments the city has made in the first year of his tenure.
Steve Streit gave his first State of the City address at Broken Arrow Golf Course Wednesday morning. He said he had four areas of focus: laying a foundation, planning infrastructure improvements, planned economic growth and livability.
Streit steps into his first political office with a marketing and design background. During his speech, he focused on numerous initiatives aimed at boosting Lockport's image and encouraging development.
Streit says the days of waiting around are over.
“The number one thing I can say is that we're not going sit back like spiders in a web and hope someone flies into us,” says Streit. “If we're going to see this city grow, if we're going to get the retail that we want, we have to make sure to put our face out there in a positive light.”
Streit also touched on the poor infrastructure in Lockport. He says there are between 30 and 60 million dollars worth of improvements that need to be made, and after years of neglect, it's time to pay the piper.
"We can't just ignore these problems," says Streit. "That's why we have people working on our capital improvement plan so we can look at how to address this, get a real handle on what the true cost is because we don't even know! Thirty to 60 million dollars is a pretty big spread. We want to narrow that number down, know exactly what it is that we need to do...so we can make this happen."
To view the entire two-year Lockport Forecast Plan, click here.
On Wednesday, Patrick Mudron officially announced his candidacy for the District 2 seat of the Joliet City Council. That seat is currently held Bob O'Dekirk who has announced his candidacy for Mayor of Joliet. Mudron is the President of the Joliet Park District Foundation and is currently a partner of the Mudron Kane Insurance Agency based out of Joliet. Mudron graduated from Joliet Catholic High School and the University of Notre Dame while lettering in football and wrestling at both schools. The District 2 election will be in April of 2015.
The Will County State's Attorney's office reports that a Romeoville man will face four-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. An online investigation last fall showed that 26 year old Richard Gilsdorf had downloaded child pornagraphy on his computer. He also pleaded guilty to producing child pornagraphy and aggravated criminal sexual assault, in exchange for the dropping of six other charges. A video on the computer had shown him molesting a 14 year old boy. The defense stated that Gilsdorf himself was abused as a child.
4-16 7:30 PM
The effort continues on the "House side" down in Springfield to get more disaster aid passed for those who were victims of the surprise 'tornados and storms" that struck the area last November. As State Senator Sue Rezin explains, there were lots of victims, in communities such as Washington, Diamond, and Coal City; that were often labled as "do not quite qualify for FEMA aid."
In addition to helping with recovery from last November's storm, this legislation would help bring assistance after FUTURE STORMS that fall under FEMA standards as well. Senate Bill 231 was passed a while back, with bi-partisan support. NOW, it's a matter of getting it through the House, with SIMILAR SUPPORT on BOTH SIDES of the aisle.
Rezin says, the outcome will hopefully be 'swift' and 'positive,' due to the amount of support for this issue.
4-15 10:45 AM
For Will County farmers, the simple question is WHAT NOW?? With the long wait for springtime weather that could lead to planting season, NOW we have these back-to-back nights below freezing. Will County Farm Bureau leader Mark Schneidewind says JUST A FEW have dared plant some corn so far.....and ONE OTHER THING's been planted just a bit.....Oats.
Schniedwind says it's not that the ground is still frozen solid, but it COULD use a little help, such as many days in a row of 60s and 70s high temperatures.
And while corn planting will obviously be completed very late, the soybeans still have time for a NORMAL start. But right now it's a matter of START THE CORN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE......and Schneidewind believes lots of efforts will be made to GET OUT IN THE FIELDS NEXT WEEK........NO MATTER WHAT.
4-15 11 AM
The Mokena Village Board has chosen Homefield, a division of downstate power company Ameren, for a new three year "electric aggregation contract." With the previous three year deal with Integrys about to expire, new bids were taken for those who wish to have an "alternate eletricity supplier" other than ComEd. Assistant Village Administrator Kirk Zoellner says that the situation IS DIFFERENT this time around. While the deal with Integrys came in at about four-point-five-five cents per kilowatt hour; THIS DEAL comes in at, overall, six-point-eight-seven cents. Zoellner says the average household will save about 50 dollars per year by going with Homefield rather than ComEd.
4-15 10:30 AM
The Promenade lifestyle mall in Bolingbrook is now under new management, with Starwood Capital announcing that they've aquired it from Forest City. Bolingbrook mayor Roger Claar says, this looks VERY GOOD to him. He believes that Starwood will use their massive assets to take the Promenade "to the next level."
Claar says he'll be meeting with the Starwood leadership team real soon. As far as why it happened, Claar says it looks like Forest City, our of Cleveland, simply had some other expenses to take care of. Claar says it was a simply case of, "When you need cash, you sell assets."
The deal was closed over the weekend.
4-14 12 Noon
The full Will County Board WILL BE VOTING on a variety of salary increase proposals during next Thursday's meeting.
The Executive Committee of the Will County Board has passed variety of salary increases, MOST OF WHICH would be deferred to 2016. County Board members' salaries were frozen at 23-thousand dollars about a half-decade ago. In a motion put forth by Steve Wilhelmi, the old 500 dollar a year increases in County Board salaries will continue immediately, with no actual increase SEEN until 2016. The salaries would go up to 24-thousand-500 at the time, and then an even 25-thousand in 2017.
The full County Board will ALSO vote on the STIPEND given to the COUNTY BOARD SPEAKER being increased from one-thousand to five-thousand dollars. Herb Brooks is the current speaker. The stipend for the Democrat and Republican leaders on the County Board would remain at one-thousand dollars. THEN, a vote was taken to increase the salaries of elected county officials. At first, it was on ALL elected official salaries controlled by the county, which excludes the States Attorney and Regional Schools Superintendent, whose salaries are set by the state. Therefore, at first, ALL the other county elected officials would have received raises. But then, after strong suggestion from board member Jim Moustis, it was changed to ONLY APPLY to the three offices up for election this year. County Clerk, Treasurer, and Sheriff. The others would have to be considered down the road. So here's how it goes, the proposal has the clerk and treasurer salaries going from the current level of just above 93-thousand dollars, to 97-thousand-500 in 2016 and 99-thousand in 2017.
The Sheriff's salary increase, on the otherhand, will take place immediately after this year's election. Going from about 110-thousand to 120-thousand. Many County Board members, including Wilhelmi, said THIS MOVE IS VERY JUSTIFIED, due to how large Will County has become; and due to the fact that some deputy chiefs are now making more than the sheriff himself.
Once again, this will all come before the entire Will County Board at next Thursday's meeting.
4-10 1:30 PM