City aldermen take no action on pay raise issue

Lisa Depies

At their Oct. 14 meeting, Geneseo aldermen discussed the compensation they receive for serving in public office in comparison to that of other communities and ultimately decided to take no action.

Geneseo aldermen are paid $1,800 annually in addition to an extra $20 per board meeting. The mayor is paid $4,800 annually along with?the $20 per board meeting fee.

A list of compensation provided in comparable cities was presented to the board. For aldermen, compensation ranges from $6,000 per year plus $25 for meetings in Spring Valley to $975 a year in Morisson.

Of the 15 communities surveyed, the average pay for aldermen was approximately $869.

Mayoral compensation ranges from $22,495 in Rochelle to $2,640 in Chillicothe, with the average at $3,007.

Geneseo last evaluated its compensation rate in 1993. “This was suppose to be looked at every five years, but we’re past that by quite a bit,” said alderman Wayne Ludwig.

“Most of us view this as community service,” said alderman Keith Kennett. “I’m comfortable with how it is now.”

Alderman Ed Deener said with the current state of the economy, “Our income flow (as a city) is not going to be what we originally planned. Any of you who are doing this for the money need to re-evaluate.”

“We have the facts in front of us. We’ve considered it. Let’s just move on without doing anything on it,” said alderman Curt Spensley.

According to state statutes, salaries may not be increased or decreased during any term of office, and they must be established six months prior to general municipal elections.

Since Geneseo aldermen serve staggered terms, the board was unclear when such a change would take effect, should one be approved. The council directed city attorney Virgil Thurman to look into details on the situation.

Also at the city council meeting, aldermen:

• Granted a development permit to Geneseo Lodging LLC for the construction of a Holiday Inn Express &?Suites Hotel, to be built at the site of the former Deck Motel. Project developer Chris Anderson told the board he anticipates construction to be finished “in the summer of next year.”

• Agreed to replace the sidewalk between First Congregational Church and Center Street in the north portion of the City Park. The project is not to exceed a cost of $13,000.

• Approved a request from C&S Antique Mall to place a wagon sign in front of the business at 704 W. Main St.

• Approved hiring American Legal Publishing Corp. to codify ordinances for Geneseo.

• Expanded the hours alcohol may be served at Lee’s Lanes on the days of Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in conjunction with a state bowling tournament sponsored by the Moose Lodge. The expanded hours will be from 9 a.m. to midnight. Normal hours of operation for a Class A liquor license holder on Sundays are from noon to midnight.

• Learned concrete bases for the city’s wind towers are scheduled to be poured in mid-November. The towers themselves should be operational in January or February.

• Approved establishing a $20 pickup fee for any cat impounded at the Geneseo Animal Shelter. The city has a $20 fee for impounded dogs, but has not had a cat fee.