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updated: 7/25/2013 7:30 PM

Pingree Grove village president vetoes salt barn

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Pingree Grove Village President Greg Marston vetoed a decision by village board members to spend money toward the construction of a new salt storage barn, but the board still can override that with a "supermajority" vote, officials said.

The village board voted 3-2 on July 15 to spend $54,754 for engineering services for the construction of the salt barn at Reinking Road and Highland Avenue, near the current temporary salt barn.

Trustees Steve Wiedmeyer, Bob Spieker and Chuck Pearson voted in favor; trustees Ray LaMarca and Bernie Thomas voted against. Trustee Brian Paszkiewicz was absent.

Marston sent a letter to trustees on Monday in which he vetoed the expense because he thinks it's "prudent" to complete the village's five-year capital plan first.

The $200,000 expense to build the new salt barn is part of this year's budget, but the money might be better used to pay off the loan that financed construction of the police station, which would save the village $900,000 in interest payments, he said.

"My expectation would be that spending $200,000 (for the salt barn) on limited financial resources wouldn't be anywhere the top of our list," he said.

Village Administrator Ken Lopez said staff hoped the salt barn would be built before the end of the construction season. The current facility was built three or four years ago, and was intended to be temporary.

"Every year we do spend some dollars to maintain it, putting new covers, making sure the structure is structurally sound," he said.

"I think the public streets department would be pleased to have a new one. At the same time, I do understand the financial concerns."

The village board can override Marston's veto with four votes, Lopez said.

Trustee Pearson said he wants more information before deciding what to do. "I can't argue with what Mr. Marston is saying," he said.

Still, Pearson said he wants to know if there any environmental concerns about salt runoff at the current salt barn, which is also too small for the village's needs. "It's eroding the soil behind the building," he said.

Marson said village staff is looking into that issue. The board will discuss the five-year capital plan at a special committee of the whole meting July 30. Trustees Thomas, Spieker, Paszkiewicz, and LaMarca did not return calls seeking comment.

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