The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Board's Attempt To Seek A County Police Contract Fails; Fedler Blames Mayor

-by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

Oquawka -Some interesting discussion took place at the Oquawka board meeting earlier this month as board members talked about everything from allowing ATVs in town, to purchasing snow removal equipment, and issues with the buckled Main Street to the failed attempt of seeking a police contract proposal between the village and the county.

At one point, board member John Fedler blamed Mayor Moody, and said he had considered resigning over this issue.

Fedler had gained permission from the board to look into a possible contract between the village and the county for police protection in an attempt to save the village money.

Fedler explained that he met with the county board and Sheriff on three different occasions.

At the first meeting, he said, they were very receptive to the option but, like most of us, they had apprehension.

However, they were positive about working with us on whatever our mutual needs might be as well as talk of the possibility of having a contract.

The second meeting was in the courtroom with the entire county board and the Sheriff present along with our Village Mayor, Scott, Nancy, Bob and I.

We discussed the problems with the last contract and whether the county or the village wanted a contract like that again. A lot of different issues were discussed with pros and cons of having a contract with the county for police coverage.

At the conclusion of that meeting, the village was to come up with some key points of what we would like to see in a contract, and then meet again in a work session.

The county board was invited to our Public Safety meeting on August 27th.

We came together again at the Public Safety meeting. In attendance for the Village was the Mayor, Nancy, Bob, Leo and I and Keith. There were 3 members of the County Board present and the Sheriff, and a few citizens from the village.

Fedler said, "Once the discussion began on the contract, the work session passed squelching the idea of a contract basically not able to be had.

Fedler said, "those in attendance were there to express their opinions against having the contract and to support Keith."

It was again explained (as it has been on every occasion that this contract was discussed) that this has nothing to do with Keith's performance as a Police Chief, but everything to do with better options for management and cost effectiveness of the police department.

The meeting ended with no forward movement regarding the situation rather than we would reevaluate moving forward toward the contract."

Fedler said, "I was more than frustrated with the situation." "The Mayor made her opinions very clear, she was against it," Fedler said.

"The committee as a whole decided at that point that there was enough of an issue that there wasn't enough support as a whole board to gain permission to move forward."

Fedler explained, "This process was to be a fact finding process to provide the entire board with factual information on the best way to proceed to seek police protection.

At the end of the July Safety meeting, the Mayor asked me, "What happens if I lose," which I thought was an odd question. I informed everyone there, that this was not about me winning or loosing, but about finding viable options for police coverage.

Fedler went on, "Before the last Safety Board meeting I was informed that the Mayor had invited people to attend the meeting to express their displeasure about this option. Although a Safety Committee is a public forum, I believe it is inappropriate for the Mayor to campaign against the process as it was in the infant stages of fact finding."

In Fedler's opinion, he stated, "Nothing was able to be accomplished at the Safety Meeting due to this type of back room politics". Fedler went on to say, "After the meeting the Mayor asked Nancy if she thought I was mad because I lost,"

He said, "After the meeting I was angry, not because I lost, but because the village lost through the fact that this avenue could not be properly vented out, because of the Mayor's anger and fuss with her agenda."

Mayor Moody interjected, "I don't know where you are getting that. It is not true."

Fedler said, "I contemplated resigning my position because of this issue, but after a lot of thought and time into this I decided against that.

"I have decided I will not resign from the board because:. that is what we are here for, to deal with these kinds of issues. That is what everyone voted us in for, however, I am resigning from every single committee that I am on if this is the way it is going to be run."

The mayor said, "I don't know where you got your information, but I never talked to a soul or anybody's positively untrue."

It was asked of Fedler if this was all dead in the water and he replied, "No, I will still research options but as far as the contract is we are unable to let anything happen. I am still looking into options."

In other action, the board:

Heard Jeff's Street & Water Superintendent report for August: put the Culvert in, 8 water locates, patched pot holes, worked on water repair list, hauled 2 loads of gravel, put out 11 pink slips, had 2 water shut offs, pumped the water out of the pool, shut water off at that building, put no swimming signs at the river, reported said J&J Tree Service removed the trees in three locations, the tar and chip is done, has bids for two more trees, 2 bids for tires for the city pickup and said he had a piece of re-bar stuck in the dump truck tire and can get it recapped at Keister's for $250, a non recap runs $500, and found best machine for the money in Biggsville at Scott's Equipment.

Eldridge said Randy at Keister's Tire Center in Monmouth would take care of tires.

The board approved J&J Tree Service at $1200 to remove a tree on 3rd St and remove a tree at Cannon Park.

After discussing snow removal, a motion was approved made by Bundy to purchase the Skid Loader for $35,850, seconded by Eldridge from Scott Equipment. All voted yes except Lafferty and Kipurski who sustained from voting. It passed.

Keith DeJaynes gave his police activity report:

Criminal Arrest: 1 Domestic Battery, 1 Battery, 1 DUI

Assist: Ambulance 3,

County: 5

Domestic Calls:

2 Civil Disturbance: 1

Tavern Calls: 1

Ordinance Violations: 4

Golf Cart Inspections: 1

Traffic: 1 Speeding

1 No Valid Dr. License.

2 Stop Sign

Warnings: 4

Other calls: 39

Warrants: 3

Fuel: 121.9 Mileage: 1,132


Administration Fees: $250

DUI: $100.00

Fines Henderson Co $102.84

Warrant Fee: $70.00

Oquawka Fines: $200.0

During the Oquawka Fire Dept report by Troy Jern, the June Insurance test done every 10 years found their ISO rating is 7 in town 7x in the township. Nine is standard, he said.

Mick Olson village engineer has sent a description of a new fire district and an estimated cost in an attempt for attorneys to get the question of forming a Fire District on the November ballot.

Jern reported the need of batteries for their radios at $58 a piece. They have 25 radios but would like 10 batteries which will be for the fire department and Jeff would like two.

The Oquawka Fire Dept. fundraising group purchased the department a chain saw.

Sept. 26th they were selling pork chops and turkey legs during Heritage Trails.

Fire Assoc. dues are due.

Oct. 4-10 is National Fire Protect week and they will be going to the schools.

Oct. 25th, the firemen will have wiener roast. Normally Village pays half. Not sure what we are going to do about cider since Weirs are closed.

Fifty year old rescue truck "Engine 50" is 15 years old and having some problems with transmission etc. issues and needing a tune-up.

The unit was $1 and came from Gulfport. It is used to carry medical tools, camera, airpaks, and used in the winter time, too. Bundy told Jern, "I would not spend too much," not an overhaul but a tune-up.

Report for August is:

1 Water Rescue,

4 Merman Flak's

14 Medical crosses assistant

4 Public Service

1 fire call in Gladstone which turned out not to be a fire.

WIRC Susan Nash reported that her organization works closely with the Village and Village Engineer and explained services of grant finding, writing, and administration of grants.

They are available for everything from new warning systems, fire sirens, and sewer projects, and water systems, to anything for infrastructure in your village.

"We don't have all the answers, but we are astute on what grants are out there," she said.

They are part of a deer program where hunters donate, to give deer meat to the community food banks. She encouraged committees to talk now and get back to her to meet the necessary deadlines.

City Engineer Mick Olson said the MFT 2015 Project is completed.

In re-striping Schuyler St. there are no quotes at this time "I don't think we are ready for that yet. But to get ready, it will cost anywhere between $.70 to a dollar a foot. You got about 11,000 feet. You are looking up to $11K to do that.

Olson was asked if the construction firm wasn't responsible for redoing it again. "I've seen striping before and it lasts more than a year," a man said.

Bundy said on a walk-thru, they said they had striped it, but they were not responsible for the warranty on that.

As for the Fire Protection District, Olson's firm put a description together and said, "I don't know the process on it - maybe a year - but anyway our firm was asked to draw up a description and we handed that to them."

Olson will work with the village and the fire dept. to get that accomplished. "I think that will be a good thing if we can get that completed."

Olson said, "I talked to one individual that said her insurance has doubled just because she is not within a fire district. She pays twice the home owners insurance."

"There is going to be attorney fees, it is a long drawn out process. Our part was the description of the district for the attorney."

Attorney Doyle explained the process. The only way the board will have to pay for this is if the Fire District fails.

In a motion by Ray, 2nd by Fedler to allow the Oquawka Mayor to sign off on BBC on the legal description fees depending on the passing of the Fire Protection District. All approved.

The Engineer said the other thing brought up for discussion last month was the consideration of allowing UTVS, Side-by-Sides, ATVs on Main Street. So he brought a couple options for them to consider if they wanted to go that route.

"The simpliest approach is amending the Golf Course Ordinance #846, the 2 page one," Olson said, "and defining ATV and ROHV (off-highway vehicles) and basically applying that to neighborhood vehicle and golf carts adding that description and keeping it in the existing Ordinance if that is desirable.

"The other two pages (Olson had handed them) are the same thing. The ones with the strike outs in it. That is the Golf Course Ordinance per baitem, and we went through and struck out that part of the ordinance and put in the new part, and then there is a clean copy of if assuming there is no changes.

This will be an entirely new ordinance if that is a more desirable option.

Bundy asked, "Does it say anywhere in there that the ATVs have to have headlights and all of that?"

Olson explains, "That is the two different options. The first would follow the ordinance that is in place which means they would be a liable vehicle and they would have to follow all laws in the Village Ordinance that are in place, stop signs, seat belts, 2 people per bench seats, headlights, everything exactly.

"Now the other ordinance...there are a few things that we did modify. Like turn signal and horns on an ATV are somewhat uncommon and impractical and may be rare, so that is an example of things we did.

"We seen in another Ordinance where a safety flag was added on ATVs rather than an orange plaquer 7 ft above ground etc.. "

Olson continued: "I think Snowmobiles are allowed already but I don't know anything about snowmobiles."

It was mentioned how they are used in lots of ways: clean sidewalks, streets and used through floods.

Enforcement, fines, and leaving it like the golf course ordinance. I personally am in favor of higher and cash on the spot, Olson said, and using a changing color for the registration stickers each year.

Olson said it's the best way to simplify policing the registration stickers, and having January 1st as the due date each year, and purchasing within 30 days prior. He also said he liked the higher fines of $250.

Eldridge replied, "after the second offense they lose their privileges and the fine doesn't matter. He would leave it as is at $100.

Lafferty says there is a lot of retired people here that would use this.

Attorney Andy Doyle said, "We have control as a village of issuing that license that allows them on the street, but you can also include an option that if you get one violation of any kind you can pull their certificate, or two violations or three or whatever you want to put in it. It is outside of a fine, but it puts a little more responsibility on that guy that purchases that certificate.

The benefit of people driving them (ATVs) to Oquawka and spending money in town was discussed. It will also encourage townships to open up roads for ATVs..

Olson said he and his friends drive all over - 5 to 6 different towns. It could happen here.

Ron James said the Oquawka Township has already passed an ordinance that allows off road vehicles on township roads.

A meeting was planned for 23rd of September at 6:00 pm at the Oquawka Township building to work out the details.

Susan Meyers reported on the Schuyler Street Stroll activities during Heritage Trails.

In other business the board approved:

Bruce Ruberg asked for stop signs or a bus stop warning sign put at the alley for a special needs child who will be getting on the bus near the Memorial park.

The board went into closed session at 9:34 on motion by Fedler, seconded by Eldridge to discuss the new village attorney. No action was taken upon returning to open session where the meeting was adjourned.

The next meeting is this Monday, October 5th at 7 p.m.