The Swansea Police Department has plans to hire one new police officer as soon as possible to help fill the shoes of two officers who are retiring this year.
"We are getting pretty short-handed," Police Chief Michael Arnold said. "It's not a quick and easy process to get someone hired and on the streets."
Village trustees gave Arnold permission to proceed with hiring one new officer from the village's current police officer eligibility list.
Arnold said he would prefer to hire two new officers as officer Ron Thompson retired Oct. 15 and another officer Terry Schmidt has plans to retire on Dec. 14.
However, Mayor Jim Rauckman said he couldn't support two new officers.
Trustee Susan O'Malley said the village has the funds to cover the costs associated with one new officer.
Arnold said he is hopeful one of the five individuals on the village's current eligibility list, which expires in July, would be able to attend the 10-week police academy at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville in January.
At the Village board meeting last week, Swansea trustees approved refinancing $3 million in bonds used to construct Fire Station No. 2 at a lower interest rate.
However, the bonds can't be refinanced until December of next year, but Village Treasurer Michael Leopold said he wanted to get the process started in January.
"It's going to save us a lot of money," Leopold said, noting the village will save on average 2 and a half percent.
The bonds will be refinanced through Bernardi Securities Inc. in Fairview Heights at a cost not to exceed $16,000. Bernardi Securities was one of four firms interviewed by a selection committee consisting of the village treasurer, the budget officer, village administrator and village accounting specialist.
In addition, Swansea trustees approved the following:
* A contract with Kassen Excavating in Damiansville for the Schae-Fries Drive sanitary sewer project at a cost of $73,160.
* An agreement with Thouvenot, Wade and Moerchen Inc. in Swansea for a topographic survey and preliminary engineering services for preparation of a grant application for improvements to the No. 3 Schae-Fries Drive addition to Melvin Price Memorial Park at a cost of $49,500.
* The services of Eilering Architecture in Swansea for preparation of documents necessary for submittal of a grant application for improvements to the Thompson Center, preliminarily at no cost to the village.
* Appointment of Deputy Police Chief Craig Coughlin to serve as deputy village clerk. Currently, Village Administrator John Openlander serves as deputy village clerk. However, Openlander has resigned his position, and his last day with the village was Friday. Coughlin was appointed interim administrator.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or email@example.com.