Palatine Township officials spar over road budget

Palatine Township board members have agreed to hold a second vote on a previously approved road budget for 2019-20 - a decision that came after the supervisor and highway commissioner clashed over the spending plan.

Last month, the township board approved a $1.78 million proposed budget presented by Highway Commissioner Aaron Del Mar. The budget, which Del Mar noted is down about $107,500 from the current spending plan, will run from April 1 through March 31, 2020.

However, Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson contended at a meeting Monday night that a road district budget line item for salaries appeared different after the February vote, and that the entire document should up for approval again next month.

She also raised concerns about a $45,000 contingency fund similar to the 2018-19 budget. Del Mar said that amount is well below the 5 percent of a budget recommended as a best practice for road districts.

"What I understood what we were voting on was not what was voted on, let's put it that way," Langlotz-Johnson said before the township board voted 3-2 to reconsider the road district budget in April.

Del Mar, speaking via a video link from where he's vacationing, defended his budget in response to Langlotz-Johnson's criticism and agreed to make any necessary clarifications. He said the $490,000 for the six road district workers' salaries did not change and that $25,000 set aside for 3 percent raises matches what all township employees are to receive.

"You're going to vote for (budget) reconsideration because she didn't read the documentation?" said Del Mar, referring to Langlotz-Johnson. "You already voted on it. My budget hasn't changed. I didn't pull a fast one."

While Langlotz-Johnson alleged the road district employees really are in line for 10 percent raises, Del Mar said her budget interpretation is inaccurate.

Langlotz-Johnson also implied gender inequality appears when the salaries for the male employees of the road district are compared to women in other Palatine Township departments.

"It is ridiculous that we are one way for a bunch of men at the road district, which is how I feel," Langlotz-Johnson said.

Del Mar said the road employees, who receive an average $76,000 annually, have specialized skills such as handling asphalt work.

Township trustees Bill Pohlman and Susan Kern joined Langlotz-Johnson in the 3-2 vote to reconsider the road budget. Trustees Ray Kincaid and Andy-John Kalkounos dissented.

The road district maintains streets in unincorporated areas within the 36-square-mile township.

Aaron Del Mar
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