Wauconda dispatchers get more pay
Wauconda's 911 dispatchers still don't know if their workplace is going to be shuttered and the service outsourced -- but they're about to get more money in their paychecks.
The village board on Tuesday approved 2-percent raises for dispatchers and police record clerks. Those employees are represented by the same labor union.
The labor agreement covers the contract year that began May 1, 2014, and ends April 30.
The deal is retroactive, so the 10 employees it covers will receive nearly $1,200 in additional back pay, Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner said. It'll be a lump-sum payment and taxable, he said.
The agreement had been in the works since September, officials said. It was approved without objection.
"It took way too long," Trustee Ken Arnswald told the Daily Herald. "I'm glad we got it done."
The 911 center at the police department was renovated and modernized in 2011.
Voters were promised dispatch services wouldn't be outsourced if they approved a tax increase for the fire protection district in 2010. That measure passed.
Even so, officials began discussing outsourcing the 911 center in 2013 after Mayor Frank Bart took office.
Bart is the only elected official who has publicly criticized the 911 center as being too costly to be sustainable.
Outsourcing to Lake Zurich could save Wauconda about $2.1 million over five years, Maxeiner said last year during a public presentation that drew hundreds of residents.
If the 911 center closes, 10 full-time and two part-time jobs would be eliminated.
The community has overwhelmingly opposed outsourcing, staging protests and filling board meetings to voice its displeasure. The issue has since taken a back burner at village hall.
The Wauconda Fire Protection District and the Tower Lakes and Lakemoor police departments pay Wauconda to handle their 911 calls. Those agencies would be affected if the center shuts down, too.
Although he supported the contract and wants to keep Wauconda's dispatch center open, Arnswald called a larger, centralized dispatch system in Lake County "inevitable."
"It's going to happen," he said.
Arnswald also voiced concern about how Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed cuts to towns' shares of income-tax revenue is going to affect Wauconda's ability to pay its employees.
"What are we going to pay them with?" Arnswald said.