Mr. Everything of Summit retires
Paul Sawyer ends long career on Jan. 11
By Steve Metsch
When asked what he did for the village of Summit, Paul Sawyer smiled and replied “everything.”
The do-it-all Sawyer, whose final day with the public works department will be Friday, Jan. 11, was honored by the village board at its Monday night meeting.
Mayor Sergio Rodriguez presented Sawyer with a plaque thanking him for 31 years of service. Sawyer is in his 32ndyear working for Summit.
“It gives us great honor and pleasure to celebrate Paul’s career. He’s someone who always looked out for the residents and would be out there on water main breaks late at night, working on weekends, doing whatever was needed to be done,” Rodriguez said.
“He will be missed,” the mayor added, handing Sawyer the plaque as the room erupted in applause. Many of Sawyer’s family and friend attended.
Paul Sawyer, third from left, poses with village officials after Monday night’s meeting of the Summit Village Board. Photo by Steve Metsch.
“First of all,” Sawyer said, “I’d like to thank God for making all of this possible. I’d like to thank the village for having me for 32 years.”
He called late mayor Joe Strzelczyk “my best friend of all.” He thanked Bill Mundy, building and public works director, “for everything he did for me.”
And he also thanked Ald. Marvel Parker.
“I’d call her all the time, even when she was on vacation. Marvel, I just want to tell you thank you for everything you did for me,” Sawyer said.
And when Sawyer says he did everything, he means it.
“I started on the garbage truck, was promoted to meter read, fixed water main breaks, everything,” Sawyer said after the meeting.
Mundy, his boss in public works, agreed: “Paul did do a bit of everything.”
“He also served 10 years as a part-time officer for the police department, and helped with baseball in town,” Mundy said.
Sawyer, 55, said he is retiring “for health reasons.” He has lived in Summit his entire life.
Asked what he’s enjoyed about working in his hometown, he said “everything.”
“I liked working with the residents, helping them, and all of that,” said Sawyer, who spent many Little League baseball seasons as an umpire.
Paul Sawyer, 55, will be busy in retirement with his six-month-old son Jackson. Photo by Steve Metsch.
In other business Monday night, the village board, using its home rule powers, voted unanimously to nearly double the gasoline tax.
Summit is increasing the gas tax from 3 cents to 5 cents per gallon.
“It’s still lower than Chicago, and it’s a commuter tax,” Rodriguez said.
“Would you rather see that on your property tax or pay $30 (more per year), at the most, if you fill up every single week?” the mayor asked.
“Again, it’s a commuter tax. You’ve got people filling up after coming off the highway. They’re not going to drive into Chicago, where gas costs more, to fill up,” he said.
It’s been two years since the village raised its gas tax, he said.
Rodriguez expects the extra 2 cents per gallon to raise about $250,000 more which, by law, must be used for road repairs.
The board also “cleaned up” the code regarding taxes charged by restaurants.
“It’s 1 percent at places that prepare food. It used to be no tax if there’s no place to sit down. But now if they are preparing food, they will have to pay this 1 percent,” Rodriguez said.
“It’s not going to raise too much more, maybe another $5,000 (per year),” Rodriguez said.
The board approved using funds from a state grant received last year to demolish a burned-out building at 7641 W. 61stPlace, and a boarded-up building at 7330 W. 59thSt.
The cost will be $19,500 and $25,500, respectively. The grant is for $250,000, Rodriguez said.
And the board approved paying J.B. Final Touch, Inc., $15,900 to remodel four bathrooms at the Village Municipal Center, 7321 W. 59thSt.
The village’s next meeting will not be on a Monday night.
Because the Martin Luther King Day is on Monday, Jan. 21, the board will instead meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22.
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