Five state representatives and one state senator will be present at the City Council meeting Tuesday to discuss a resolution the council recently passed supporting part of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposals to create “empowerment zones.”
If implemented, the city would not have to follow the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act when bidding for projects such as construction.
According to the act, workers paid with public funds must receive a wage of no less than the prevailing hourly rate in the area.
The resolution was called “Supporting Local Government Empowerment,” and it also states the community should be the ones who decide whether employees should or should not be forced to join a union or pay dues if they are employed.
The representatives that will be attending are Rep. Reggie Phillips from the 110th district containing Eastern, Rep. Jeanne Ives from the 42nd district, Rep. Keith Wheeler from the 50th district, Rep. Mark Batinick from the 97th district, and Rep. Dan Brady from the 105th district. The one senator attending is Kyle McCarter.
“We firmly believe this is the right thing to do because of the state of the economic condition Illinois is in,” Phillips said. “Each one of us will speak in turn to encourage the City Council and mayor to stand for the right thing in opposition from so many.”
Phillips said he was told people who opposed the resolution were going to be at the meeting.
“Typically on this side of the fence when we don’t show up, our voice is never heard,” Phillips said.
One of the reasons he supports the resolution and Rauner’s proposals is because of what he felt was a lack of competitiveness Illinois has with other states.
“My great-grandmother used to say the proof is in the pudding,” he said. “How do we fare with other states in economic, business and cost factors? Add them all up, and we’re dead last.”
These other states include Wisconsin and Indiana, which also implemented right-to-work zones.
Cities that are considering the right-to-work zones in resolutions on Tuesday are Naperville, Campton Hills, Vernon Hills and Wauconda.
People who oppose the resolution are expected to be at the meeting to voice their opinions as well.
City Clerk Deborah Muller said she has received a number of emails and calls from people who are concerned about the resolution.
“I am anticipating more participation than the last meeting,” she said. “There were some questions in regard to speaking at the meeting.”
Those who want to speak at the meeting have a three-minute time limit, though they will not be timed.
“If they thought about what they’re going to say and put it together in a factual statement, it would generally take about three minutes,” Muller said. “The mayor and council are very approachable; if they run a few minutes over they’re not going to stop them. But we don’t want 99 people saying the same thing.”
Muller said since the representatives will be speaking at the meeting, they will comply with the three-minute rule.
Amending the city budget for the year will also be discussed. The comptroller will review elements of the proposed budget.
“With unexpected expenses, what we try to do is make sure funds are coming from the right department, if funds need to be moved,” Muller said. “When we do a budget, it’s basically kind of anticipating what expenses we will have.”
They will also discuss granting tourism funds to different events, such as the IHSA State Track Meets, and Red, White and Blue days.
The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]