New administration to handle town hall debate
GENEVA TOWNSHIP Joe Kopecky is a month from taking office as the town of Geneva's next chairman, but the town board on Tuesday gave him plenty to consider when he officially steps back into his old shoes.
The board tabled a good chunk of its agenda Tuesday, including the future of the town hall reconstruction and nearly two-dozen pier requests from the Lake Como Beach Property Owners Association that drew several residents to the monthly meeting.
These items will be discussed May 9 at Kopecky's first meeting as town chairman in nearly five years. Kopecky beat Chairman Dan Lauderdale in last week's election to regain a seat he held from 1996-2006.
One of the most controversial issues ahead of Kopecky is the town hall, which recently was repaired after a fire in February badly damaged a corner of the building. A state inspector found several problems with the structure, and that is keeping the town from making any additional improvements.
Lauderdale said the state has not threatened citations yet, but he had already planned to move forward with installing or replacing about 25 exit signs throughout the building at a cost of $26 each. However, the board voted to table that issue until next month.
Geneva's town hall building has been the center of controversy for at least two years. Some residents want a new one built, while others argue the cost is too great.
An ad-hoc committee was created in 2008 to investigate borrowing up to $2 million to acquire land and build a new town hall. Lauderdale supported a new building, but it's unclear how the project will play out now that Kopecky is taking his place.
Kopecky also will deal with placement of a new tornado siren in the township, another issue tabled Monday.
The board did make one significant decision: Unanimously approving the contract of new police Chief Steven Hurley.
Hurley officially assumed the role nearly a month ago but had been working without a contract.
The township will pay Hurley $73,000 annually under the five-year agreement and will reap more than $20,000 in savings by not supplementing him with medical coverage or enrolling him in the state retirement program. The contract awards Hurley pay raises of 1 percent every two years.