An explosive pre-election agenda item for the Elgin committee of the whole passed through the City Council Wednesday night with only one objector.
Councilman John Prigge again voted against funding a portion of the rent for Senior Services Associates to expand beyond its current lease at 101 S. Grove St., in downtown Elgin.
“In these times I really believe taxpayers want us to address needs and not wants,” Prigge said.
Mayor Ed Schock and Councilmen John Steffen and Mike Warren disagreed with defining the expansion as a want.
Steffen said waiting lists for the organization’s programming show an inability to address a critical need in the community that will only become more important with an aging population.
Schock said the need, made more time-sensitive by the vacant space adjacent to Senior Services Associates, is also agreeable because the cost is minimal.
“Sometimes we take more time debating a $30,000 expenditure than a $30 million expenditure,” Schock said. “I think we’d be making a huge mistake to pass on this now.”
Bette Schoenholtz, executive director of Senior Services Associates, said accommodating the community has been more difficult in recent years. The open space next door will allow the organization to expand, but avoid hiring more office staff or purchasing duplicate office equipment.
Councilman Richard Dunne, who voted against the proposal at the March 23 committee of the whole meeting, said his concerns about the landlord getting the space up to code were addressed by the police and fire departments. He voted in favor of the proposal along with the majority of councilmen.
The city already budgeted $10,700 in a Purchase of Service agreement with Senior Services Associates for 2011. Based on Wednesday’s vote, Elgin will increase that amount to almost $25,000. Elgin Township is also poised to contribute to the organization’s expansion. Trustees will vote to take final action on its own $833-per-month contribution in May.
Also at the council meeting, members voted to table the vote concerning an agreement with Carlucci Hospitality to run Porter’s Pub at Bowes Creek Country Club. The proposal was approved during the committee of the whole meeting but will wait for final approval until staff has the opportunity to follow up on concerns that were not discussed Wednesday.