The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Some heated discussion prior to dispute's end at Oquawka Village Board meeting

By Sally Day for the Quill

In a discussion which started at last month's board meeting, it was noted that the village does own the property East of the Village Hub. This was brought up at the May 5, 2014 meeting of the board. They were to decide if the Hub's dumpster should be moved off of village property and if the alley should be used for deliveries and other vehicles instead of driving West along property that is not an alley.

These decisions were made by the Hub's owners, Ron and Sue Bigger. In referring to the dumpster, Sue asked, "The dumpster and the Hub have been there for 35 years and it is just now causing a stench?" Ron and Sue both agreed that the only person who had a problem with the dumpster's location was Lewis Ohler, who was also present at the meeting.

"I will get it (the dumpster) off of city property," Ron stated, "it will be closer to his screened-in porch." He added, "Go ahead and wash your siding. If you get on our property, you will get nailed."

Sue addressed the board then saying, "I am done in October and I am going to put in something that y'all are going to love."

In a completely unrelated discussion, pertaining to the Junk Ordinance, it was asked why Police Chief Keith DeJaynes was handing out warnings for the ordinance. It was asked if this shouldn't be a job for the Zoning Officer, Bill Moody. Board member Scott Ray said, "The junk ordinance is not part of zoning." It was noted that the job of the Zoning Officer was to issue permits, measure property, etc. Ron Bigger said, "This guy (Chief DeJaynes) was hired to be your hit man." This referred to the fact that Chief DeJaynes handed our ten warnings regarding the junk ordinance this last month.

Of the approximately 20 guests, some thought they were being singled out for the junk ordinance. They thought the board should concentrate on those locations where a person first drives into town.

Village Attorney, Andy Doyle told those present that it was his recommendation that the village look at ten properties and when these are cleaned up to go onto the next ten properties. "We are going about it systematically," said Doyle.

Later in the evening, this subject came up again and Rick Bundy asked the board some questions. He asked where the commercial and residential sections in the village are located. He was told that the commercial section was one block on either side of Schuyler Street. Bundy then asked, "Who determines who gets the warnings?" He was told that Chief DeJaynes made that determination. Bundy also asked about cars which were operable, but not licensed. Attorney Doyle will look into that question. Tarping junk was also questioned.

Cheryl Corzatt, Treasurer and Water Department Clerk spoke to the board, asking if when she resigns will they continue to require three signatures on each check, and that her name needs to be removed from that list. The board agreed they do want three signatures. Corzatt's last day will be on or about May 15. Erin Murphy has been selected for the position.

Jeff Peterson, Street and Water Superintendent gave his report, stating that there had been no major water leaks during April and they have been going through the water repair list. He further stated that they had pumped out the pool and power washed the same. There will be a hydrant flush at the end of the month. He also spoke about removing some trees.

Peterson mentioned that Ron Tharp had asked if the water line could be extended east of town. A discussion ensued regarding whether a business needs to ask to be annexed into the village, and will they lose water pressure if the line is extended.

Police Chief Keith DeJaynes gave his report for April, which included the following: Criminal Calls - 1 DUI, 2 Battery; Agency Assists - 3 County Assists, 5 Ambulance Assists; Domestic - 2 Domestic Calls; Tavern Calls - 1 Tavern Call; Ordinance - 10 Junk Violations; 2 Golf Cart Inspections; Traffic - 8 Speeding Tickets, 1 Stop Sign Tickets, 3 Warnings, 3 Suspended Driver License; Other Calls - 27; Warrants - 1; Fuel - 132.2 Gallons; Mileage - 1,278; Fines - $872.98.

Board member Troy Jern, who serves the village as Fire Chief gave the Fire Department Report, which included some discussion of the Fire Department Association and some storm damage which had occurred recently. Chief Jern is to turn the necessary damages to the village's insurance company. The board also agreed to add the 1972 Firetruck to the village's insurance. This would be liability only. The vote was as follows: John Fedler, yes, Scott Ray, yes; Jason Howard, yes; Troy Jern, abstain; Robert Eldridge, yes; and Nancy Bundy, yes.

The board listened to Jared Fluhr about an update on the Schuyler Street Project. He noted that Lavediere Construction had made a great deal of progress on the project. He noted that Schuyler Street should be opened up by next Monday or Tuesday and should be completed by May 30, except for the paperwork. The board decided not to add river rock in front of Fisher's, it will remain grass; to get bids from the village for the sidewalk and asphalt at the Diner; to use asphalt at Moore's; and to use asphalt in the alleys. The board also agreed to pay Application #5 in the amount of $291,682.76.

Also addressing the board was Dan Bigger on behalf of the tractor pull held during the summer. He said he had generated a plan for the tractor pull to widen the track and to ascertain a time when the tractor pull has been completed, so the Police Chief will know when the grounds are to be emptied. Monies made during this project help the FFA members to attend their National Meeting.

In other business, the board: