Peru trustee Rigby seeks to continue cutting costs, avoid consolidation
Art Rigby has built a foundation on being frugal; he and his wife of 56 years have sent all five children of their children to college without amassing a mountain of debt.
“And our house, our car, everything is paid for," he said. "And we’ve been able to do this because we have been frugal. And I believe the government should be run the same way."
That's why Rigby says he deserves to be re-elected as a Peru Township trustee: He knows how to spend -- and how not to.
“I don’t like the way some of the politicians, or whomever, are managing our tax money,” Rigby told the Illinois Valley Times.
Rigby is a lifelong Peru resident, and before becoming a trustee four years ago, spent 14 years as a LaSalle County Board member.
“I’m carrying a real deep-seated interest in maintaining the township,” Rigby said.
After completing high school, Rigby took technical training courses and ended up working for and retiring from IBM as a customer service technician.
He believes his experience in dealing with people and time on the county board have proven to be assets to the township.
“Fourteen years on the LaSalle County Board has given me quite some experiences," Rigby said. "And I believe I am able to follow the rules, regulations and ways of saving money."
The salaries of the township supervisor, the road commissioner, the assessor’s office and the trustees were set four years ago by the previous township trustees, Rigby said. But this year, the trustees seized the opportunity to make some additional changes.
“Supervisor and highway commissioner salaries have been cut by 44.5 percent,” Rigby said. “(The) clerk’s salary has been cut by 54 percent. Trustee salaries have been cut by 52 percent. An average of all elected official salary cuts is 47 percent.”
Rigby also said that medical reimbursement for elected officers and employees was eliminated, and the threshold for eligibility to participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund was raised from 600 to 1,000 hours.
Taxes were also lowered. The town tax levy was cut by 13 percent, and the road tax was cut by 8 percent, Rigby said. He argued that if the City of Peru takes over the township as it is proposing, it will turn out to be more costly for township residents.
Looking at just the assessor’s office alone, there are 4,500 parcels of property in Peru Township, Rigby said. If the county were to do the assessments for those it would cost $180 times 4,500, which comes to $810,000 every four years.
“But we have our own township assessor, which is at about $42,000 a year," he said. "So we’ve cut quite a bit of the fat out of the Peru Township (budget), and I think Peru Township should stay intact as it is."
Rigby also said the township secretary, who earns $18 an hour, now works 20 hours a week instead of 40.
“Now any secretary in the city of Peru, which I don’t have the facts and figures at this point – we requested them, but I know darn well they are making more than $18 per hour,” Rigby said. “And they have retirement benefits, they have hospitalization – all these things we do not provide our secretary with, nor do we do that with any of the supervisors.”
Rigby said he hopes to continue fighting consolidation efforts because he strongly believes in township government.
“I think we are offering a good bang for the buck,” he said.
Organizations in this Story
1009 Peoria St
Peru, IL 61354-2665