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  • Megann Horstead

Returning officials, Howard are sworn in


The New Lenox Village Board of Trustees welcomed returning members and one newcomer at its May 8 meeting.

Voting records from the Will County Clerk’s office show Annette Bowden receiving 2,227 votes; David Smith with 2,069; Jasen Howard with 1,958; and Douglas Finnegan with 2,499.

Bowden, Smith and newcomer Howard were elected to full terms. Finnegan took an uncontested race for an unexpired two-year seat.

Village officials took the oath of office, and Mayor Tim Baldermann shook hands with each newly elected trustee.

Bowden took time to welcome Howard to the board.

“I’m sure you’re going to learn a lot from us, and we’re going to learn a lot from you,” she said. “As long as the community comes first, that’s all that we really care about.”

Howard noted the bar set by New Lenox officials and said he wants to help the Village in achieving continued success.

Also during that meeting, New Lenox officials said goodbye to trustee Emily Johnson.

“She brought something to our board that we thought was kind of missing,” Baldermann said. “She did a wonderful job as a village trustee.”

Johnson wanted to thank the mayor and the board for entrusting confidence in her to serve as a trustee.

“Serving this community for the past three months, here, has truly been an honor,” Johnson said. “It was not a spot I ever would’ve anticipated myself stepping into, but I’m so glad I did. It was such a journey, and I’ve learned so much. I’m so proud to be a resident of New Lenox and had the opportunity to work with this board.”

Johnson added that she knows the Village will have continued success with trustee-elect Howard serving on the board.

Smith congratulated Johnson for her service to the Village.

“It was very good to work with her—very smart lady,” he said. “She was a wonderful trustee. She will be missed.”

Howard expressed similar sentiments.

“I want to thank Ms. Johnson for her service to the community,” he said. “She’s done a great job the past [few months.]”

Contracts for Metra train station engineering, architectural services approved

Plans to construct a new Metra train station continue to chug along for the Village of New Lenox.

In a pair of 5-0-1 votes, the board approved contracts for engineering and architectural services for the site in question. Trustee Keith Madsen abstained from voting.

To this point, work performed by Christopher B. Burke Engineering is preliminary, much like the efforts of Tria Architecture. In both instances, Village officials are looking to bring the projects to bid for the future construction of a train station.

“The goal would be to be able to get it up and approved next year,” Village Administrator Kurt Carroll said. “I’ve asked both firms to give us a very aggressive time schedule. If things change with Metra—although Metra worked very well with both these firms because of the past history of doing oversights—it would not be out of the realm of question for them to ask for additional compensation if Metra’s schedule changes from what we’ve [discussed.]”

The Village’s annual comprehensive budget for the 2018 fiscal year includes payments to Tria Architecture for $139,850 and Christopher B. Burke Engineering for $304,686.

“We did modify—in essence, modify—the contract slightly from before,” Carroll said of the latter contract. “We hope to save… a number of the lights from the existing station. Unfortunately, when we went out there staff has informed us of the problems that we’ve had, and that many of them are dated. Unfortunately, I think we’re going to have to do a bit more aggressive work with that. So, that’s the only modification in the proposal from [Christopher B.] Burke Engineering that they’ve anticipated.”

Village officials are also looking to iron out details on whether the new train station will be manned or unmanned. That decision is to be made by Metra.

Smith noted that a host of train stations have become unmanned and said what happens if in a year’s time the Village decides it doesn’t want a facility that is manned. The installation cost might not be necessary in the long run, he said.

It is the intent and desire of the board and Village staff to use an unmanned station. Such a measure would leave the Village with a cost savings.

Metra maintains that installation of a manned facility is in the works to correspond with the station’s proposed size.

Trustee David Butterfield was absent from the meeting.

Round it up

A brief recap of Village Board action from the May 8 regular meeting of the New Lenox Village Board:

  • Consideration of contract proposals for Ferro Water Tower rehabilitation, antenna removal and rehabilitation inspection were tabled until the board’s May 22 meeting.

  • Board action approves a measure allowing the Village to use Motor Fuel Tax funds in the amount of $662,000 to pay for maintenance operations.

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