The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Bill Tobias named "2012 Oquawka Citizen of the Year"

By Sally Day, the Quill

Oquawka Chief Hal Jern announced the recipient of the "2012 Citizen of the Year Award" at the June 3, 2013 meeting of the Oquawka Village Board. He was proud to tell the board that Bill Tobias had received the honor. Chief Jern explained how Tobias was a proud family man, loved his community and how much Tobias had given back to the community over the years. Tobias has been on the Oquawka Fire Department for 45 years, on the Ambulance Crew for 35 years and on the Henderson County Sheriff's Auxiliary for 40 years. The board gave him a standing ovation and congratulated him on the honor.

Representing the Fire Department, Tobias talked to the board about forming a tax district for the fire department. "We are currently a rural association now," he said, referring to the properties outside of the city limits. "We provide protection for the rural area,"Tobias noted. "The only places around that aren't a tax district are Keithsburg and Oquawka," he continued. He explained how over the years the payment to the rural association has not been fair, and how everyone needs to pay. "We have never failed to answer a call, whether a member or not," he concluded. There are many steps to take before this is completed.

Laviediere Construction of Macomb, was awarded the contract for the improvement of Schuyler Street at a cost of $2,037,748.02. Board members asked questions of Jason Fluhr, MSA Engineer, about the financing of the project. They were told the engineers were comfortable with the financial aspect of the improvements.

Board members agreed to have the Mayor and the City Attorney, Mike Neff, to execute the necessary documents to proceed with the project. This included: 1) Self-evaluation for structural and non-architectural barriers, 2) right of way certificate, and 3) legal service agreement.

Police Officer, Dusty Chandler gave his report for the month, which included 77 service calls and 14 arrests. One of the arrests was for a felony. Chandler is temporarily serving as part-time officer and was in charge of the police report as Brad Mowen, former Police Chief has recently resigned. Chandler also told the board he has taken a temporary position in Mercer County. He feels this may materialize into a full time position. The board is currently looking for a full time Police Chief for Oquawka. The village will be taking applications for the Police Chief position; the deadline being June 21, 2013. A special meeting will be held on Thursday, June 27 at 7 p.m. In the Village Hall, to interview and hire for this position.

Village Clerk, Sandy Huff, asked the board to reconsider making liquor license monies due all at once, rather than splitting them into a few months payment. Liquor licenses cost $1200 annually, except for the Eagle's Club, which is not-for-profit entity, and is a $600 annual fee. They are due each June 30. The board passed the measure.

Jeff Peterson, Street and Water Superintendent, gave a report on the actions of his department. This is Peterson's first month in this position. He was recently hired following the unexpected recent passing of Keith Henry.

The board thanked the maintenance workers and all volunteers for their efforts in the clean up of the recent flooding. Mayor Moody reminded everyone there was probably more flooding to come in the months ahead.

A discussion about driving golf carts on Oquawka Streets was held with board members and Attorney Neff. The board decided to use Homer, Illinois as their guideline for the ordinances to be passed. The board agreed for Attorney Neff to work on the ordinances and bring them back to next months meeting.

Jenna Link, Oquawka Certified Water Operator was also present for the meeting. She passed out the Oquawka Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, which showed no violations. The board approved the report. She told board members that an EPA survey had been performed on April 23 and their were a few suggestions. The EPA would like to see an emergency power back up for the well; also consider a permanent flood plan for the well; and to install a chlorine leak detection device. The board will look into this.

In other business, the Board:

Left to right: Oquawka Fire Chief Hal Jern, 2012 Citizen of the Year Bill Tobias, and Mayor Sandra Moody