The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
By: Dessa Rodeffer, Publisher-Owner
Oquawka was able to move through several issues in an hour's time at their first meeting of 2016 due to the lack of interruptions in the room Tuesday, January 8th. Only a handful were in attendance, mostly the board.
Top two issues were delinuqent water bills and water deposit fee, and the ongoing "bump" in the Schuyler Street Improvement project.
Attorney Youngquist said he is prepared to start a process to make a formal statement to Lavidiere Construction, Inc. and the bonding company that they intend to default on the contract. The problem resulted around the final walk-thru of the downtown Schuyler Street improvements when part of the road that was built buckled and no one will take responsibility for it.
Youngquist is in hopes that the bonding company can get the parties to come to some sort of an agreement to settle the issue.
The bonding company also has the option of saying they are not going to allow this claim and not pay on the bond. If that's the case the village will go out and hire another contractor with the retainage moneys and fix the problem and have Lavidiere sue the city. It is hoped they will come to some sort of an agreement,
Younquist said it makes sense to go through MSA since they know the problem and project better than anyone else. They would be best to manage the project, he said. Younquist hopes to have an answer by the February meeting.
Treasurer and Water Department Clerk Chris Peterson said her predecessor had talked to the board about raising the deposit on water customers when they start. It has been $50 for quite awhile back when the minimum water charge was $8.50. That $50 doesn't even cover the cost of a 2 month delinquent bill and barely covers the minimum charge with the infrastructure and minimum water rate, she said. "Now, when we are doing shut-off notices, it is after three month delinquencies. This past month was 42 accounts, the biggest we have had so far. All but two have paid up after the evil red stamp appeared on their bill", Peterson said.
Most bills run upwards to $80 or more, many over $100 after 3 months and their $50 deposit doesn't cover that.
Peterson suggested three solutions. 1-Raise the deposit to $75; 2-Shorten time from three to two months before shutting it off, 3-or both.
A dozen or so have left town leaving a good bill that the $50 deposit doesn't even touch.
The board decided to make adjustments in the ordinance at next month's meeting which would raise the water deposit to $75, shorten the delinquent time to two months (instead of three) plus increase the 10% late fee after 3 months to a flat $15 after being delinquent the second month.
Those having wells on their property have not been paying the infrastructure fee. It was suggested to go to the Health Dept. and find the approved wells and bill them.
In other reports the board:
Police activities for the Village of Oquawka in December 2015 were as follows:
Meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.