© 2024 Peoria Public Radio
A joint service of Bradley University and Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Washington public works employees' new contract includes one-time $6,000 payment

Mayor Gary Manier takes notes as City Administrator Jim Snider speaks during a Washington City Council meeting in December.
Steve Stein
Mayor Gary Manier takes notes as City Administrator Jim Snider speaks during a Washington City Council meeting in December.

The city of Washington and its public works employees' union have a new three-year contract agreement.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve the contract, which was ratified previously by union members. The contract went into effect May 1 and will continue through April 30, 2027.

"It took only one bargaining session to get the contract done," said City Administrator Jim Snider.

Members of Local 231 of the Laborers' International Union of North America will receive 3% pay increases each year of the contract and a one-time payment of $6,000 "to offset the impact of the generational inflation spike over the last two years," Snider said.

The 23 union members also will receive a $30 per month gym membership reimbursement at Anytime Fitness in Washington and an increase in their life insurance policies from $20,000 to $50,000.

Watch for lane closures near the U.S. Route 24 and Nofsinger Road intersection

Snider told council Monday that message boards have been placed near the U.S. Route 24 and Nofsinger Road intersection informing motorists of lane closures that will begin Thursday, weather permitting, for median reconstruction.

The inside lanes of eastbound and westbound U.S. Route 24 will be closed. Traffic on Nofsinger will not be able to go through the intersection or turn left onto eastbound U.S. 24. Traffic on eastbound U.S. Route 24 will not be able to turn left onto Nofsinger.

The troublesome and often dangerous intersection is being realigned, thanks in large part to a $4 million federal Community Project grant.

Here's a map of upcoming lane closures near the U.S. Route 24 and Nofsinger Road intersection, site of a multi-million-dollar realignment project.
City of Washington
Here's a map of upcoming lane closures near the U.S. Route 24 and Nofsinger Road intersection, site of a multi-million-dollar realignment project.

Council won't talk about chickens

In other actions Monday, the council:

  • Failed to approve a motion by council member Bobby Martin III to discuss allowing residents to have chickens in the city. The vote was 4-4, with Mayor Gary Manier breaking the tie.
  • Approved a motion by Martin to discuss "how residents can have their voices heard and channel their energy" to convince the state to move up its tentatively scheduled 2029-30 fiscal year project to repair pothole-plagued U.S. Business Route 24, the main east-west route through the city. The council's discussion will take place at next Monday's committee of the whole meeting. Martin compared the condition of U.S. Business Route 24 in the city to the roads he encountered in Baghdad, Iraq when he was deployed there during his military career.
  • Approved an intergovernmental agreement with Tazewell County to receive a recycling grant of $25,796 for the 2024 calendar year. The annual grant is normally used to fund the city's Christmas tree recycling and glass recycling programs, and offset labor and equipment costs for the city's twice-a-year brush pick-up program. The city received a $24,839 county recycling grant for the 2023 calendar year. This year's grant is about a 4% increase.
  • Approved the appointment of Washington attorney Brian Heller as the city's first hearing officer for troublesome code enforcement issues. Heller also is the code enforcement hearing officer for East Peoria and Tazewell County. Heller's first hearing date for Washington cases is May 16 "and he has a full docket," Snider said.
  • Approved the rezoning of three city-owned parcels totaling nearly four acres at 200 N. Wilmor Road, the site of the Washington Fire Station, from R-1 (single- and two-family residential) to C-1 (local retail) to facilitate the construction of the police department's new evidence storage building. The building, tentatively scheduled for completion in April 2025, will be west of the fire station. The police department has stored evidence for several years in a building at 101-103 Jefferson St. it shares with the city's public works department.
  • Approved the re-appointment of former city treasurer Ellen Dingledine to the Police Pension Board for a two-year term. Dingledine was appointed to the board in 2021 to fill an unexpired term after she decided not to run for re-election as city treasurer, and re-appointed in 2022.

Washington wins state award for Hilldale Avenue reconstruction project

Here are highlights of city staff members' reports to the council Monday:

  • The city received the 2024 Public Works Project of the Year award for transportation projects of less than $5 million from the American Public Works Association -- Illinois Chapter at the chapter's annual awards banquet last week in Peoria. The award was for the Hilldale Avenue reconstruction project. City Engineer Dennis Carr and Engineering Technician Ross Fuller oversaw the project for the city. They were recognized in the award presentation along with project consulting engineer Hutchison Engineering of Peoria and project contractor Stark Excavating of Bloomington.
  • Renovation work is expected to begin soon at the former Knights of Columbus building at 120 Walnut St. Developers of the Grist Mill restaurant being constructed on the downtown square are converting the former K of C building into a wedding and banquet venue. Completion of the renovation work is tentatively scheduled for September.
  • A tourism grant of $1,250 was awarded to the Washington BRIDGE Education Foundation for its fourth annual Paint the Path fundraiser on June 1. The foundation helps Washington Community High School students pursue their passions in post-graduate studies.
  • Washington police officers and U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents executed a search warrant at a residence in the city and arrested an adult on federal child exploitation charges.
  • A motorist was ticketed for driving 62 miles per hour in a 30 MPH zone at North Main and Easy streets.
  • Washington residents who are Illinois American Water customers began receiving Washington water last week. The sale of city water to Illinois American Water was approved by the council in 2022.
Steve Stein is an award-winning news and sports writer and editor. Most recently, he covered Tazewell County communities for the Peoria Journal Star for 18 years.