Board works on budget

PALATINE — Differences were set aside Tuesday evening as the Palatine town board gathered for a special meeting to discuss the 2019 budget. The special meeting was called due to the previous board meeting being cut short because of escalating tensions between board members.

Items discussed in the preliminary budget talks on Tuesday included raises for town employees excluding board members, fire company contracts, the highway department budget, and various building repairs.

Supervisor William MacLauchlin made a special case for giving highway superintendent Art Logan a raise, as that position has not had a salary increase in two years.

“We have a highway superintendent, who I think is doing a very good job for us, and he’s seen no raise in two years,” said MacLauchlin. “So I guess you’d say I’m lobbying for a raise for the highway superintendent. I realize it’s kind of a touchy issue, but it’s an issue that is the responsibility of the board.”

The board unanimously agreed to a preliminary 2.5 percent increase in budgetary funding for the highway superintendent, as well as various other town positions, including a 2.5 percent increase for the town clerk, deputy town clerk, bookkeepers, town assessors, and the dog control officer.

Additional preliminary increases were discussed for the town justice, who will have to undergo training sessions due to the recently passed “Raise the Age” law, and for the deputy highway supervisor who is currently paid with an annual stipend. For the town justice, the board is waiting to hear from the justice regarding the cost of training sessions before making a decision on a raise. As for the deputy highway superintendent, MacLauchlin suggested a $200 increase to be paid in quarterly installments, with a proposed mandate that the deputy highway superintendent attend board meetings. A formal resolution will be made at the next board meeting.

MacLauchlin emphasized that the numbers agreed upon were only to be used as a starting point and would come before the board again at a later time.

“This is informal. I’m not looking to make a resolution. I’m looking to fill a blank in the budget,” MacLauchlin said.

The board also agreed to allot a 2 percent increase over the historical rate in the renegotiation of fire company contracts, as new regulations on fire companies are likely to increase costs.

“Fire departments are being hit with a brand new mandate, which the Association of Towns indicated in one of their articles that it will cost them approximately $300 per fire fighter to comply with a regulation which is a passed law now,” MacLauchlin said. “I have no idea the details of it but, we are going to be impacted by that.”

A preliminary budget for the highway department was set at $200,000, but since Highway Superintendent Art Logan was not in attendance at Tuesday’s special meeting, MacLauchlin suggested that another special meeting could be called to discuss more thoroughly discuss the department’s budget.

Repairs and upgrades to town hall were discussed, with a resolution being passed to “allocate $1,000 to patch the roof,” and a resolution to purchase a $972 computer to replace an old computer. MacLauchlin also notified the board that an agreement had been made with the highway department to properly insulate a water line which “has froze every year for the last 12 years.”

Finally, a resolution was presented by Councilman Christopher Novak to table a discussion regarding the formation of a new committee.

“I would like to form a committee to review all aspects of public safety in the town of Palatine to look at ways of aiding our first responders, look at ways of attaining grants, aid and funding to enhance fire and rescue, to discuss and present to the board possible solutions,” Novak said.

The resolution was unanimously approved.