The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Oquawka Discusses Bumps, Buildings, And The 4th of July
by Dessa Rodeffer , Quill Publisher/Owner
The Oquawka Board met Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. with all members present and some lively discussion on the many issues set before them.
After the initial business including newly sworn in Robert "Bob" Lafferty who was appointed to replace Troy Jern who had resigned, Mayor Moody placed the new members on the Village committees as follows:
RECREATION: Mayor Sandra Fullerton-Moody, Robert Eldridge, Nancy Bundy, and Leo Kuberski.
FINANCE: Scott Ray, Robert Eldridge, Bob Lafferty
WATER & STREETS: Scott Ray, Robert Eldridge, Leo Kuberski.
PUBLIC SAFETY (POLICE): John Fedler, Scott Ray, Bob Lafferty.
FLOOD COMMITTEE; Nancy Bundy, Scott Ray, and John Fedler.
Clerk Sandy Huff brought up Clean-Up Day and the possibility of having it twice a year rather than once. At a cost of $6100, the board felt once a year was enough unless they wanted to look into others doing it at a lower cost. The Clerk set next year’s date for May 20, 2016.
Attorney Andy Doyle brought up the Ordinances that needed past. One, Ordinance #866 was passed for the “Closing of the Streets for Social Functions” during the Tractor Pull and the Catfish Cookoff during July 3rd and 4th festivities. The second Ordinance #867, allowing alcohol, was unanimously approved for Liquor Control during the Catfish Cookoff.
Under Water and Streets, the report was given which included a price for renting a boom lift to trim and cut trees at $1320 for a week. The board was uncomfortable with the dangers of cutting trees by city workers and opted for experienced tree trimmers to do the work to avoid possible accidents or without possibly dropping a tree on a house, etc. The board asked to get bids for the tree work so they didn’t need to worry about falling.
Also culvert work that was needed in an alley behind Benny Hays house was approved.
The possibility of not leasing the old Oquawka City Hall to The Current brought some discussion. They have rented the building for 8 years now, Lynn Zeilstra said, of The Current.
At a previous meeting, it was brought up that the building leased now by The Current was in need of several repairs. There was plaster falling off and hot water heater needing repair, and several other things.
The Public Safety Committee wondered if the cost may entail too much expense at this time, and entertained the possibility of just not leasing the building at this time due to the costs of repairs. The Current’s lease is up September 5th.
Ron Bigger wondered why they were even entertaining not leasing the building feeling the city is worried about expenses but they would be losing monthly income and another building would be sitting idle. Zeilstra of The Current said several people have been in there and looked at it, but you haven’t heard her complain. “There is nothing wrong with the building. And any minor maintenance, Jim, my husband has done.” But in looking at this, you have $6,000 there.”
Eldridge said “ the last time we discussed this I thought it was going to cost a lot to fix up, and I thought that concern came from you bringing up plaster falling in or the walls coming in.”
Lyn replied, “Some plaster fell in and that is when I put Elvis over it, and Ron (Bigger) looked at the building today.”
Ron said, “I don’t see a big issue there, What I do see is you are taking away money the village can actually use. And you can’t sit there and say you don’t need the money.”
Eldridge assured everyone, this was just a suggestion.
Guest, Bigger, wondered why they don’t just sell the building to them and get it back on the tax records. It is suppose to be a business district not a park district, he said, then he added, “you have to be reasonable too. It’s an old building.”
“Yes,” Eldridge said, “I understand that.”
Eldridge had explained they were just entertaining options at this point, and concluded with, “Thank you,” to Bigger after hearing Bigger’s thoughts.
Bundy was wondering, “Why are we wanting to move the police from here to down there?”
She was told, “If we’re going to spend that much money remodeling, why do that, when we have a building already for them to move into? We don’t have enough heat back there and enough air conditioning back there. We don’t have finished walls back there, ceilings back there, things like that.”
If we spend $10,000 money there, but instead, move them down there (to City Hall) we are saving money by doing that? There are other questions, like, are we still storing the cars up here, and things like that, (that) we need to look into.”
“Again, nothing has been decided,” Eldridge said.
Bigger said, “You guys are not being reasonable. This is something that you shouldn’t even be looking at, but you are going to. Evidently, you got it in your head you’re going to get them out of there and you are going to do what you’re going to do. I don’t know what the agenda is, but there is one. It’s very obvious.”
A board member said, “There is no agenda here, Ron.
Ron said, “There is somewhat…
He was cut off by the board member saying, “You are putting words in my mouth, and I don’t like that,” of which Ron denied.
Ron was told, “All this was is a suggestion to the board that we look into it. If they say “no” as a board as a whole, then we don’t look into it.”
New board member Leo Kuberski suggested having them pay more rent if the city fixes it up, or leave it the same if they wanted to fix it themselves. “I’d rather look at it that way.”
After some more discussion among board members, Bigger asked if the speaker system works, saying they couldn’t hear. The board continued discussing which committee would be handling the discussion about the future of the old city hall. They decided that the Public Safety Committee would continue with the issue.
Another guest said, “You people speak up. “We come here because we care about the city and we can’t hear a da-- word you’re saying”, and then he slammed the door as he left the building.
Ron Bigger continued with the complaint, saying the Mayor didn’t have her speaker to her mouth “and you can’t hear anything.” “It’s like you are intentionally not wanting us to hear,” he said.
Lafferty said, there is a seat right here up front.” pointing to the mostly empty front row.
Ron said, “So the people in the back, don’t! How much did you pay for this sound system, huh, I’d love to see that!.”
Lafferty said, “Come on Ron, just sit down and be quiet for awhile”, as others pointed at their watch reminding the Mayor about the 5 minute limit for guests to speak.
Bigger said, “I don’t want to put words in your mouth Bob, you’re already in it.” Of which Lafferty mumbled, “You’re a pain.” Bigger’s hearing seemed to improve as he replied, “I am your pain Bob, you’re a servant now. You’re a public servant, just like everybody else…
Deputy DeJaynes interrupted, “Ron! knock it off. You want to go to jail, I’ll arrest you for disorderly conduct.” Then he ordered Bigger, “Out the door, Now!”
Bigger said, “You’re going to drag me out of a public meeting?” DeJaynes said “Let’s go.”
Bigger said, “Good enough,” as he got up. “You people have got a lot to learn!” he said, on his way out.
After another door slam, Bundy said, “Now back to work on the agenda. I would like to see it on paper what it would take to fix it up this, verses that, because I really am not wanting to push somebody out of a building. I really don’t like that at all. They’ve been there forever, yet I think we need a police department.”
“To be honest with you, I’d rather see ya tear this crap down here, an eye sore, and do something with that.” Bundy went on saying that she hated that building.
“I’d like to see it on paper either way, what we are going to save. I think we need to investigate it a little more and I think we need to do it within the next month. We have to give them time….. weigh our options….that’s my opinion.”
It will be discussed at the Public Safety meeting, the last Thursday of the month which will be at 6:30 p.m.. on June 25th. It was reminded that all committee meetings are open to the public.
In other business:
Kenny John, Zoning officer, handed in his report saying he had nothing further to report then the 7 that were listed.
PARKS & RECREATIONS
Bundy reported 30 at the pool opening day. and the door had been kicked in and it was broken into.
And the Village needs to make sure there is enough deputies for the Catfish cook off and fireworks.
And asked if they should sign a multi-year agreement and asked if they wanted to continue with fireworks?
The agreement saves 15% if you sign for the insurance over three years as it locks in the rate. This is the third year.
It goes up every year. There is time yet to decide.
IFO Insurance people gave the fire dept. a top rating. It was learned they extended the rating from 5 miles to 10 miles out.
Insurance for the TRACTOR PULL is taken care of by John Johnson. We are not sure if the bleachers are covered yet.
WATER & STREETS
CITY ENGINEER - MICK OLSON:
Cost estimates for dust control up there by the tractor pull area on gravel where the semi’s park was obtained from a company out of Wataga. Olson said the company will spray the semi area with tree sap for $600-$700 (67 cents a gallon needing approximately 1,000 gallons). Other options go up from there.
It will need to be done a couple times a year. To seal coat is $2,500 and you are probably going to get a lot of damage. (The engineer also included information for parking area across from the diner.)
Semi parking was discussed asking about a fee to help.
It was reminded there was an Ordinance where truckers parking their semi’s there was to pay and obtain a sticker to park there. It’s been 3 or 4 years a resident inquired about fixing the dust control. $2500 is a lot without revenue, Leo pointed out. It was suggested truckers check with Husband Trucking about parking there.
The board decided to check with Billy Husband to see if he would allow parking there. The next Water & Street Committee meeting will be Thursday, June 18th at 6:30 p.m. where they will discuss it.. Open to the public.
Olson also reported about the 3rd Street road repair where testing was done by the Engineer. Olson said all looked pretty good.
After the new Schuyler Street Main Street buckled May 1st at 3rd Street, the board was wondering the status. “It’s a pretty good speed bump on main street, one board member said, as they asked when it was going to be fixed by Laverdiere Construction, Inc. out of Macomb. The break happened a month ago and the warranty was through May 31st when payment was to be complete.
“As now $100,000 is being retained by the city until the walk-through is complete. You would think they would have an incentive to finish,” Attorney Andy Doyle said. “The determination of who is at fault, the MSA Engineers out of Davenport, IA or Laverdiere’s plus IDOT has been brought into it too, so that is probably the hold up.” It seems they may be feeling, it is just one of those normal things that happen.
Jenna Link, Water Superintendent reported, it is time for the annual Water Report which will be published in the local newspaper. The middle of May a squirrel took out the transformer again, that supplies the basic power to the well which requires water customers to boil their water, etc. which is a hassle for restaurants and stations as well for boiling water for coffee and soda, and serving water, etc.
There is a warning system inside the building but the Water Supt. is in and out in about 5 minutes so a power outage can go undetected for some time. The board agreed to look into inquiring about the cost of having the alarm sent to her phone to speed up the process, if this is a possibility.
Link said when they first put in that automated panel, it brought in more problems since that night. When it surged that night of May 10th and it blew out, it went into their automated system that turns the well on and off so they’ve been having some trouble with it tripping.
They had to replace some relays on Friday, she said. Link was in there twice a day because she doesn’t sleep well wondering if they have enough water.
Scott Ray, said, “A generator isn’t a guarantee if if it surges,” he explained, because it’s a 3 phase system and you still have power to the building. I don’t know if there is a system that picks just that up. That is something the board could look into. In 2008, It was put in and at that time it would have been an additional fee of $3500. She was asked to get a new quote and they would bring it up at the Street and Water Committee meeting June 18th.A motion by Ray, seconded by Lafferty to approve the Annual Consumer Confidence Water Supply Report was approved by all board members.
POLICEVillage Of Oquawka
Police Activities -
Criminal Arrest: 1-Domestic Battery, 2-Violation Order of Protection, 1-Aggravated Domestic Battery, 3-Criminal Trespass to Private Property
Agency Assist: 4-County Assist, 2-Ambulance Assist
Domestic: 2-Domestic Calls
Civil Disturbances: 3
Tavern Calls: 4
Golf Cart Inspections: 3
5-Speeding, 3-Seat Belt, 1-Illegal Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor, 1-Failure to Report An Accident, 5-Warning Tickets, 1-Aggravated Home Invasion, 2-Attempted Break-ins, 1-Swimming Pool Door Kicked in Broke Lock
Other Calls: 51
Oquawka Police Dept. Chief - K.A. DeJaynes
Ron James, owner of James Insurance, noted that the health insurance that was to be made affective June 1st has passed, so changes of the employees health insurance will have to be moved after he receives the last city employee’s information.
At 8:02 pm, the Oquawka board adjourned their regular monthly meeting. Board meetings are the first Monday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the Oquawka Village Hall on Schuyler Street.
An insurance quote for Fireworks was put together for the board, and the liquor liability insurance for the 4th of July has been turned in.
James said the renewal in August will be coming due and there will be an audit to see if there are any changes in payroll which he will check into.
You might want to take it easy driving downtown Oquawka as the village awaits for Laverdiere Construction to fix an eruption in the new Schuyler Street project that happened May 1st, just 30 days shy of its final walk-through and final payment. Also, the future of the old Oquawka Village Hall (pictured) is being discussed with the possibility as the Oquawka Police Department office.