Jim Phelps

Bourbonnais Police Chief Jim Phelps

BOURBONNAIS — At their meeting Monday, village trustees adopted a contract that will keep the police chief in his current role and took the next step toward the creation of a new business district.

With the approval of an ordinance, current Police Chief Jim Phelps will remain in the role upon his retirement next year.

The 56-year-old Phelps has been with the department for 31 years. In a recent interview, Phelps said his retirement was dictated by the current pension system.

After reaching the age of 55 and achieving 31 years of service, benefits could be reduced if he didn’t retire.

According to the ordinance, the agreement starts Jan. 11, and Phelps will serve as chief until April 30, which is the end of the current fiscal year. His salary is $131,550.

Starting Jan. 11, he will no longer be an employee of the village. Rather, he will serve as an independent contractor.

Phelps was named interim chief in October 2012, when Greg Kunce retired. Two months later, the village trustees removed “interim” from the title.

When Kunce was named chief in 2011, Phelps was promoted to deputy chief.

Main Street Business Plan

Trustees approved a resolution putting the village’s proposed Main Street Business Plan on public display.

The possible business district encompasses South Main Street from North Street and Main Street Northwest to Career Center Road.

The plan is similar to one adopted earlier this year for the North Convent Street corridor from Armour Road to Hilltop Drive. Trustees later adopted an ordinance to create the North Convent Business District.

In 2018, trustees adopted an ordinance creating the village’s first district, the Bourbonnais Business District. It encompasses an area north of Larry Power Road to the Bourbonnais Parkway and around the 318 exit of Interstate 57. The ordinance creating the district was adopted in July 2018.

The district is funded by a 1 percent sales tax, making it 7.25 percent. The tax only applies to businesses in the district and can only be used for projects in that district

State law allows for municipalities to create such business zones.

According to state guidelines, a study must find the current area is blighted by such things as inadequate or antiquated infrastructure, inadequate street layout, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, impedes the provision of housing accommodations or constitutes an economic or social liability, an economic under-utilization of the area, or a menace to the public health, safety, morals or welfare.


Jeff Bonty has worked for The Daily Journal since September 1986, starting in the sports department before moving to news reporting in 2002. He's a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue University. His email is jbonty@daily-journal.com.