JOLIET – City Manager Jim Hock said he will begin looking for money to put more snow plows on Joliet roads after delivering a report on the recent snowstorm and hearing feedback from the City Council at its meeting Tuesday.
“We did adopt the budget this year with four additional personnel,” Hock told the council at one point, noting that the city is in the process of beefing up its snow crews for next winter.
But some council members said they want the city to begin hiring 11 more workers and the trucks to go with them – a number suggested by staff to meet the needs of the Feb. 1 snowstorm, which was the fifth worst in local history.
“We now need to move to the next phase and decide how we are going to buy those trucks and whether we’re going to hire those employees over one, two or three years,” Councilman Larry Hug said.
The cost for 11 more workers will be nearly $1 million annually, while the equipment is expected to cost $2.9 million, according to the report.
There seemed to be little enthusiasm on the council for hiring outside contractors to help plow city streets. But Hock said the city since the snowstorm has put together a list of contractors willing to do the work.
“There are some advantages to using the contractors in the subdivisions,” Hock said. “One is that while we’re out on the main routes, the contractors can be in the subdivisions.”
The council heard from resident Tom Hug, brother of Councilman Hug. Tom Hug said some people were stuck in their homes in his subdivision for five days because of the storm and cast some blame on the council.
“The fighting amongst all of you has got to stop,” Hug said. “All you do is spend your time pointing your fingers at one another. Shame on you.”
Rialto appointment tabled
The council tabled Mayor Tom Giarrante’s attempt to appoint Nicholas Macris, a former administrator at University of St. Francis and former manager at Exelon Corp., to the Rialto Square Theatre board.
Councilman Jim McFarland said he wanted the appointment tabled until after the April election for mayor. The council voted 7-2 to table.
Mary Beth Gannon from the Rialto Belongs to the People, who has campaigned for the position, thanked the council for tabling Giarrante’s selection and suggested she is a better choice.
Senior Services money
Hock told the council that he is working on a way to provide some assistance to the Senior Services Center of Will County, which has asked Joliet for $100,000 amid a financial crisis that threatens its future.
Saddle Creek Logistics
The council approved a 50 percent abatement on property taxes for five years to bring Saddle Creek Logistics, which would employ 200 workers, to Joliet. The company is moving out of its Elwood facility and is considering other locations as well.