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Elmwood budget session 'extremely difficult'

ELMWOOD--The Elmwood Village Board continued to battle their budget woes earlier this month.

Board Member Brian Buck presented options set forth by the public works and finance committees, who met jointly to address long-range planning.

The first goal, said Buck, was to ensure financial stability and security, and breaking the trend of "robbing Peter to pay Paul every year."

Among expenses considered for reduction or outright elimination was part-time staff. Buck indicated neighboring municipalities do not provide vacation and health insurance to their part-timers like Elmwood does. He pointed to two full-time staff whom he says "are severely underpaid," and might consider taking other, more lucrative employment elsewhere.

Board Member Trish Knops asked if the current part-timers could be grandfathered in, so they could retire with the benefits they'd earned after many years of employment. Buck reminded the board they couldn't afford the current budget and critical full-time staff made much less than in local villages like Spring Valley.

He recommends giving critical full-time staff a two-dollar-an-hour wage increase after the annual audit. He mentioned the possibility of modifying vacation and insurance benefits once again, but other options may be considered.

"This last budget season was extremely difficult," said Buck. "We can't afford the part-time employees anymore. Other villages have solutions and work with full-time staff only. We need to make sure our two full-time employees stay here; they can leave and find jobs that pay $6 more an hour." Seasonal help might be a solution.

For more please read the March 27 print version of the Herald.