* Keep in mind when reading this that payroll is about 25 percent or so of construction costs. But some of the smaller projects that these tiny towns do (Fairfield’s population is 5,421) have higher payroll costs.
From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service…
The mayor of a southern Illinois community says taxpayers could save upwards to 30 percent on construction projects if his village was able to put out projects to be competitively bid. Fairfield Mayor Chuck Griswold says he’s done a lot of things to double reserves for the village, but more could be done like saving on publicly funded construction projects by circumventing the state mandated prevailing wage laws. Leading Democrats in the General Assembly, like Speaker Michael Madigan, say they are unwilling to allow giving the option of opting out of prevailing wage to local communities like Fairfield. Griswold says Madigan is out of touch.
“He doesn’t understand. We’re not even on his radar, candidly, down here in southern Illinois and I think the only time we got on the radar was when we wanted fracking rules put in place.”
However, Griswold doesn’t think certain collective bargaining issues are onerous for his village at the moment. Governor Bruce Rauner has been pushing for a property tax freeze coupled with giving local communities the option to opt out of prevailing wage and collective bargaining issues, something leading Democrats contend will lower the standard of living for working class families.
Meanwhile Griswold says the state owes Fairfield upwards to $30,000 in unpaid bills for several different facilities being used by state departments. Griswold says he supports what the Governor is doing and will keep accepting IOUs in the meantime.
“We’ll allow them to not pay their utilities, we’ll keep their utilities on. We won’t shut off the state garage. I think we have an IDNR office here and a Conservation office and we’re not going to shut off their utilities. We’re going to support Governor Rauner by hanging in there with him.”