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Antioch, Avon town boards cut, freeze salaries

Sam Yingling

Sam Yingling

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Updated: November 13, 2012 1:16AM

Two area township boards have voted to rein-in spending on salaries for their elected officials.

The Avon Township Board this week voted unanimously to cut the salaries of township elected officials, while the Antioch Township Board recently approved a four-year pay freeze.

During its regular monthly meeting on Monday, the Avon Township board also mandated that elected officials contribute 10 percent toward their health care costs — an expense currently picked up in full by taxpayers.

Most Avon Township elected officials have since 2009 voluntarily returned annual pay increases approved under the previous administration.

Avon Supervisor Sam Yingling, who is challenging state Rep. Sandy Cole in the 62nd House District, said the vote should come as no surprise.

“In 2009, we ran on a platform of returning pay raises and also reducing salaries by the end of the term,” he said. “This is the final campaign promise we needed to fulfill.”

New health care premiums will go into effect in 2013, along with the new lowered pay rates, which will revert back to 2008 levels. During each of the three years after 2013, salaries will decrease by 3 percent.

The first year’s reductions are as follows: Supervisor, 16 percent; clerk and trustees, 12 percent; assessor 27 percent; and highway commissioner, 16 percent.

“In these difficult times, elected officials need to lead by example,” said Yingling, who has also pushed for property tax reform and consolidation of government services. “It’s our hope other government entities will follow suit and take a microscope to the salaries being paid out.”

Yingling, who initially asked for an across-the-board 30 percent reduction, said the vote was a compromise.

“I’m extremely proud that, through listening and dialogue, we reached a unanimous agreement,” he said. “The taxpayers are the winners.”

In Antioch Township, the board voted to freeze the following annual salaries: $77,482 assessor; $92,240 highway commissioner; $64,545, supervisor; $24,597 clerk; $250 per meeting for trustees.

“Antioch Township is in the black and we will continue to be, but that doesn’t mean we can increase salaries,” said Supervisor Stephen Smouse. “With the economy the way it is, a lot of people haven’t gotten raises in four or five years. We didn’t feel it was right.”

Smouse, who said the board hopes to lower the next levy by 2.5 percent, acknowledged that raises, typically between 2 and 3 percent, are “miniscule” in terms of taxation.

“But it’s the principle of the thing,” he said.

Township salaries are coming under increased scrutiny in Illinois, home to more taxing bodies than any other state.

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