Homewood honors Hammock after retirement

  Homewood Mayor Richard 
  Hofeld, left, congratulates 
  Harry Hammock on his 
  retirement after 35 years 
  of service to the village. 

  (Photo by Quincy Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)
 
The Homewood village board honored retiring public works employee Harry Hammock as he finished his 35-year career with the village.

Harry Hammock started working for Homewood in 1982 as a mechanic specializing in heavy trucks, police cars and public works vehicles. He transferred to the utility division in 2001 and was promoted to utility supervisor in 2014. He holds numerous certifications from the Illinois Environmental Protecction Agency.

“In 1982, November, I got married to my wife Debbie and four months later I got a job here at the village of Homewood in March of ‘83. I didn’t know I was going to be on a lucky streak that continued for 35 years,” Hammock said after trustees passed a resolution honoring him. 

“I’ve had the honor to work with some of the best public works people, guys and girls, that you could imagine. There’s not a doubt in my mind they’re the best in the south suburbs, or even in Illinois,” he said.

Hammock completed the water meter replacement program — a $1.2 million project —  over a three-year period from 2014 to 2017. 

“Harry’s had to miss being with his family during those special times, such as birthdays, holidays, baseball games and family events,” Director of Public Works John Schaefer said. “Harry’s been serving the village of Homewood by repairing water main breaks in the frigid cold, responding to sewer issues and flooding, keeping lift stations and water pumping stations running during major power outages, snow plowing and much, much more. Harry, I can’t thank you enough.” 

Hammock also researched and earned grants to convert Homewood’s street lights from high-pressure sodium to LED. 

That project began in 2004 and finished recently. 

“It uses 30 to 40 percent less power, less electric consumption,” Hammock told The Chronicle in November about the conversion project. “They don’t wear out. Usually, they have a life that is four or five times the length of a high-pressure sodium bulb.”

Mayor Richard Hofeld said Hammock typified the village’s Public Works D,epartment.

“I’m going to miss you. You know that,” Hofeld said. “The town will miss you.”

Before the meeting, a public hearing was held to present the 2018-2019 budget. Finance Director Dennis Bubenik spoke to the board about the second year of a two-year budget.

“Throughout the decade of the 2010’s the federal budget has turned into a series of spending resolutions sometimes as short as two weeks and sometimes six months. So there really is not a budget process,” Bubenik said. “The state situation seems to have evolved into a budget passed on no particular timetable, with no agreement due to vetoes and overrides, items never decided over multiple budgets while other items are passed overnight without review.”

Unlike state and federal governments, Homewood has a stable budget and process, he said.

The village board was presented with a draft of the budget in February, Bubenilk said. 

Homewood divides its $39.4 million budget by giving about 40 percent to the police department, 23 percent to the fire department, 26 percent to public works and 11 percent to village hall. 

The village has very little debt, Bubenik said.

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