The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Oquawka Village Board Meeting
by Jeff Tee
The Oquawka Village Board held their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 6th.
All trustees, Village President, Village Clerk, Village Attorney, and a large audience were present.
McDonough Telephone Company has been issued a permit to bring their fiber optic cable to Oquawka. It was noted that if you want their service, you should contact them to ask for it or sign the online petition on their website.
Village Attorney Andy Youngquist said he has received new language from the Oquawka Fire Protection District's Attorney that they want to incorporate into the purchase agreement. He said he didn't have any problem with the new language but was unclear if the board wanted to include the antique fire truck in the deal. Trustee Nancy Bundy said she thought she was the only one that wanted to give it to them so it was not included. Tee suggested they discuss it at the next work session and asked Youngquist to email OFPD's attorney to let them know he had presented the new language to the board and they would discuss it at the next work session. Youngquist agreed to do that.
Brian Collier said he had talked with Doran Jones, a local excavating contractor, and was told the entire septic system at the fire station is on the property contained in the purchase agreement and therefore no granted easement was necessary. Collier went on to say that Jones told him that he had installed the system along with former village employees. Youngquist will contact Jones to see if he can get that in writing to be entered into the purchase agreement.
Trustee Shawn Lain asked if there was any word on the large walnut tree that was under investigation for being cut down illegally. Youngquist said he was waiting on an estimate from a local tree buyer.
STREET & WATER
Streets Supervisor Jeff Petersen noted they had hauled 163 loads of mud from the harbor dredging so far. It was noted that they would dredge till noon the next day before getting the excavator ready to be returned to REXCO Rentals.
Trustee Tammy Bundy asked that the plastic and sandbags along the levee that are left over from the flood be removed so that Ron Tharp can take a look at it and start reshaping the levee at his convenience.
Nancy Bundy presented some suggestions from the street and water committee pertaining to the semi-truck parking area. Idling trucks are causing a nuisance in the area. There was a lot of discussion between the board and the audience on the subject. Audience member Mike Lain explained newer trucks start automatically to charge batteries when they become drained by things like refrigerators and e-logs. Some of the ideas discussed were a parking permit, requiring trucks to park facing south in order to keep help with the noise problem, and penalties for not following the rules. Youngquist will draft a new ordinance and present it to board members before the next work session so it can be discussed and then voted on at the next regular meeting.
Tee asked if the seal coating at the harbor was still able to be done this year. Mick Olson stated it was slated to be done at the end of August.
Lain asked the board if they would consider giving the three volunteers who ran the long arm excavator for the harbor dredging a $50 gift certificate to show appreciation for their help.
Motion by Ray to give $50 gift cards to three volunteers. Second by Collier.
Collier: Yes Ray: Yes Tee: Yes N Bundy: Yes Lain: Yes T Bundy: Yes Motion Carried.
Lain stated he had a meeting with Illinois Department of Transportation on Friday, August 2nd to discuss Highway 164 going south out of Oquawka. The road floods during high water and leaves residents between the low spot and the Covered Bridge stranded. IDOT informed Lain they are going to replace the existing valve and may even raise the road where the flooding problem occurs.
Lain noted CGB Hauled the Rip Rap for the harbor at no charge to the village.
PARKS & RECREATION
Wednesday, August 14 will be the last day for the Oquawka Pool before it closes for the season. Pool manager Destinee Cornic is planning on an end of the year fundraiser party from 2-6 p.m. There will be a dunk tank with several board members participating. Food and games will be provided for a free will donation.
A gravel parking area and a portable toilet to be added at Norma Jean Park were discussed. Nancy Bundy presented a few estimates for message boards to be placed at the park with information on how to reserve the shelter house and available dates. The shelter has been getting a lot of use and the board is becoming worried that without reservations, there could be conflicting parties in the future. After some discussion on pricing, a motion was made by Tee and seconded by Collier to purchase a message board for $698.
Bundy: Yes Lain: No Bundy: Yes Collier: Yes Ray: Yes Tee: Yes Motion Carried.
Lain asked if the village has been collecting rural fire association dues. Chris Petersen answered the village stopped collecting dues a couple years ago when the Oquawka Fire Protection District (OFPD) went into effect and started collecting taxes. Lain asked Hal Jern, who was there representing the fire department, if they charged for calls outside of the village. Hal answered it is all paid by the fire protection district now. Lain said the village doesn't see that money. Hal answered the people in town pay district tax as well as people in the country. Lain said the board, who was paying for fuel in trucks and insurance was not getting any money from that. Lain said he didn't feel it was right for the citizens of this village to have to pay for fires outside of the village. Lain then asked Youngquist what the village was bound to with having to abolish the fire department. Youngquist answered the state fire marshal has to take action. He said as far as he knows the fire marshal has not authorized the fire protection district to begin operations and when it does that, they will direct the village department to cease operation. Tee mentioned that they are getting the new draft agreement at the end of this meeting and if all parties agree to it, they could vote on it in September.
Lain said he felt at that point they needed a plan of action because this has been going on for 18 months and he didn't think it was going to end anytime soon. He said we're ripping our village off, stealing from them by taking our fuel and paying for outside fires.
Tee said the village has addressed all of the districts concerns and she was hopeful they would accept the agreement.
Village President Eldridge said we have to remember that we must have fire service from the volunteers that we have and that we appreciate them.
Youngquist, addressing some statements by several people saying there isn't yet a fire protection district, said he wanted to clarify. He said there is a fire protection district and it's called the Oquawka Fire Protection District. He said it's a taxing body and anybody that lives in this town knows it's a taxing body because there's a line on your property taxes that says so. He went on to say that what they don't do is provide fire protection at this time.
A new ordinance needs to be adopted to be in compliance with new E911 rules. After some discussion on specifics, Nancy Bundy made a motion to make it mandatory that house numbers be installed in a conspicuous place on the building and be at least 4 inches high. Seconded by Collier.
Bundy: Yes Lain: Yes Bundy: Yes Collier: yes Ray: Yes Tee: Yes Motion carried.
After some discussion on the current ATV ordinance which impedes outside vehicles that would like to come to town, a motion was made by Ray to do away with the current inspection and sticker system, allow up to 1200cc engine size, and do away with all current time restrictions.
All other rules will remain in place including the requirement of head lights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, horn, rear view mirror, insurance, and vehicles will be prohibited on Schuyler street, to go into effect immediately. Seconded by Lain. Bundy, Lain, Bundy, Collier, Ray, Tee all voted: Yes Motion carried.