The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Banta offers assistance to help others improve their properties in Oquawka

By Sally Day, The Quill

Beginning his discussion about property improvements, Stan Banta complimented the board on their dedication to the community, and the great sacrifice they have made to their beliefs in Oquawka.

A part-time resident, due to his admitted "allergies to snow and cold," Banta went on to explain his love for Oquawka, during the April 2, 2012 meeting of Oquawka Village Board.

He noted that he has enjoyed living in this town all of his life and and has gladly made an investment of both time and effort.

Banta said, there are portions of town which are an embarrassment, due to their uncleanliness and need of paint and more.

He added, that there is no fuel or food in this pool (the water between two locks).

"We have something here I would like to save," said Banta.

Visitor and resident, Ron Bigger said to Banta, "You are very opinionated and expect us to live up to your expectations. I know I am the bad (expletive) in this town, but I want to live however I want."

Banta assured Bigger he simply wants a chance to volunteer his time and effort to help clean up.

Bigger said, "Not everyone wants to "clean up."

"When I had my fire," Banta explained, "people were there to support me. People I didn't even know. During the flood, people came from 200 miles away to support people here."

He addressed the board, saying, "We need a committee to work with you people on this." He added, "We need incentives to make properties look better."

He explained one of the problems was, when people improve their properties their taxes go up.

Visitor Sue Bigger said, "I have a choice to side my restaurant or paint it. If I side it, my taxes will go up, if I paint it, they won't." Board member Nancy Bundy said, "You don't get taxed for cleaning up."

Village Treasurer Bernice Miller interjected, "Stan has brought his message here on a positive note."

In the end, both Banta and Ron Bigger agreed to help and volunteer, and the board agreed to look into this further.

During a discussion of the bills, early in the evening, board member Troy Jern asked Police Chief Todd Miller if his department had or wanted cell phones. Chief Miller responded they did not, but they could use them.

Visitor Ron Bigger noted, "If I pay for a cell phone for the police department, then I want to be able to call it."

Chief Miller disagreed, stating, he wanted the phones to enable the board members to be able to reach him for official business. The board tabled this discussion.

Village Treasurer and Utility Billing Clerk Bernice "Toot" Miller thanked the board and other village employees for their assistance with the water bills.

"For the first time in years," said Miller, "there are no delinquent water bills."

Following an hour long Executive Session, board members agreed to increase part time hours for the Police Department, to 1000 per year, based on a 32 hour work week, in keeping with seven day a week coverage. This increase will be established between June 1 and September 30.

In additional police business, the board agreed to purchase envelopes and notices for Village Citations, at a cost of $250 for 500 total.

Oquawka Police Chief Todd Miller informed the board that there had been a total of 83 calls in March 2012 and 11 arrests.

In other business, the board:

Members absent were: Jeff Robbins and Jason Howard.