With arrests up, the police/fire committee of the Chillicothe City Council is recommending the hiring of a ninth officer.


With arrests up, the police/fire committee of the Chillicothe City Council is recommending the hiring of a ninth officer.

“Our police force is a little light, and we’d like to get it where it needs to be in light of this information provided,” said Chris Boyer, chairman of the police/fire committee.

Aldermen received information about arrest numbers in recent years and the staffing levels of neighboring communities close to Chillicothe’s size, a population of 6,000 in the 2000 census.

Peoria Heights, population 6,635, has 15 officers; Bartonville, population of 6,300, 11 officers; Creve Coeur, population, 5,500, eight officers; and Farmington, population 2,600, five officers.

Chillicothe Police Chief Steve Maurer said the department is at the same staffing level it was at in 1979, even with more subdivisions added to the city.

“If you’re trying to attract people to Chillicothe, a lot of it has to do with the services you offer,” said Maurer.

He said the department not only needs one more officer, but also needs a detective and a school liaison.

“We are very busy right now. Unfortunately, we’ve had some major, high-profile crimes over the last few years, and that’s a sign of the times.”

Maurer said he would continue to ask for the new officer position each year.

“I think we owe it to the taxpayers, more than anything,” Maurer said.

The special committee looking into elected officials' salaries made the following recommendations:

• mayor — currently $110 per regular and special meeting, proposed $200 per regular meeting and $100 special meeting

• liquor commissioner (also the mayor) — remain at $25 per month

• city clerk — currently $520 per month and special meeting $75, proposed $600 per month and $75 special meeting

• city treasurer — currently $245 per month and $75 special meeting if required to attend, proposed $275 per month and $75 special meeting

• aldermen — currently $75 for both regular and special meetings, proposed $150 regular meeting and $75 special meeting

The aldermen approved for city attorney Mike Seghetti to prepare an ordinance to impose the new fees.

Mayor Gary Fyke said the fees had not been raised for 12 years.

Alderman Jim Thornton also noted that the raises will not take effect until after the next election.

In other items, the council:

• heard city clerk Sharon Crabel say she asked alderman Carl Spencer to have the judicial committee review the city’s ordinance about vendors and special event notices after some problems occurred with its ordinance’s language

• heard alderman Troy Childers ask Spencer about the judicial committee’s decision about time limits for the boat docks. Spencer said the committee discussed it previously, but ran out of time to get it on the agenda. The item is on the agenda for the committee’s meeting for today.

• heard alderman Denny Gould say he understands children are playing in the city’s detention basins in Sycamore Trail. Sometimes the area has enough water for a child to drown, he said. The issue was referred to the public works committee and city engineer Ken Coulter.

• heard Gould also ask if the city could have a special burn day for downed tree limbs after the storm. The public works committee will work with the fire department on the issue, Fyke said.

• heard Childers say the property maintenance committee received one complaint and has ongoing litigation with two properties in town. The owners have done some work, Childers said, so officials have increased their deadline by 30 days.

• approved paying $20,630.75 to Riverside Chevrolet Oldsmobile for a 2009 Chevy Impala and $8,792 to Supreme Radio for a radio, lightbar and transfer of a computer in the car. Maurer said he would like to see officers who live in Chillicothe be able to take a squad car home for increased visibility in the community.

• approved paying $780 for Maurer to attend the Midwest Security & Police Conference in Rosemont Aug. 12-13. At his last conference, Maurer found out about the grant for a squad-car camera. He said he hoped this time to get more information about the purchase of a portable radar sign.

• approved an ordinance for John Gajdik to purchase a city-owned 1993 Chevy truck, seized in a drug bust, for $2,325

• referred to the Chillicothe Plan Commission an addition to the zoning section of C-2 General Retail District and CB-1 Central Business District about retail operations of furniture stores

• approved three ordinances: adopting the Illinois cable and video customer protection law, imposing a cable/video service provider fee and amending city code about excavations

• approved surfacing streets in the Plaza Tax Increment Financing District for $10,000, and $3,600 for the Central Business TIF to be added to the contract previously awarded to Advanced Asphalt Co. for streets already approved

• and approved a Project Facelift application for Hubert Mattox, 915 N. Second St., for $3,800. Left in the program, which aids downtown businesses owners in refurbishing their storefronts, is $6,050.