Suzanne Wells Presents During Bement Village’s August Meeting

During Bement’s regularly scheduled meeting with masks and social distancing measures in place, Suzanne Wells, a current candidate for Piatt County Circuit Court Judge made an appearance.

By CHRISTY JANKOWSKI
Staff Writer

During Bement’s regularly scheduled meeting with masks and social distancing measures in place, Suzanne Wells, a current candidate for Piatt County Circuit Court Judge made an appearance. “I am a candidate for Piatt County Circuit Judge, and I have been going around to all the village board meetings in Piatt county, and sitting here and watching what you do is impressive. The Mayor’s and the Village Boards in all the small towns in our county are doing a tremendous amount of work.” Adding, “Just a tremendous amount of work throughout your community and I am not sure most people understand how much work goes into it.”

Wells has served as an attorney for 32 years and worked on the board for Willow Tree Missions in Monticello. Willow Tree serves women and children in domestic abuse situations by providing clients their needs. Wells said of one case she worked on, “I work with families that are involved in the DCFS system. I remember one time I had a parent and I was able to tell her that her children were able to come home on the next court date, and I remember thinking she was going to be really excited about it. But, she cried. She said you don’t understand, I have nothing
I have an apartment and they have confirmed it, but I don’t have a kitchen table. I don’t have a bed. I don’t have dishes. I have nothing. And one call to Willow Tree Missions she had everything, including car seats to get those kids home.”

Wells mentioned she is also passionate about drug treatment, and becoming a judge would be the natural progression of her career. She joked that she would present herself at a social excursion, but due to COVID that is impossible. “So, I wanted to introduce myself…in a pandemic, I can’t introduce myself at a fish fry, which is the best one because of your desserts. Just don’t tell Monticello.”

Village President Pat Tieman offered his support and thanked her for stopping by.

Fehr-Graham Proposes Looking Into IEPA Program

Larry Johnson from Fehr-Graham Engineering presented a map showing the location of areas of low pressure with highlights where he saw the most need for work with the water mains throughout Bement. He proposed the village look into the IEPA program which at this time several other small municipalities are taking advantage of. The program is a lengthy process with paperwork, but acts almost as a grant with 50% loan forgiveness. “Took the liberty for this meeting by making a copy of your water main map. I have highlighted (concerns).”
Johnson stated the project he was proposing would cost around $800,000. “So if you take the 400,000 that remain and do it at a 1% 30 year loan it terms into about a debt payment of $1,300 a month to be distributed overall…so it is certainly affordable.” Adding, “The urgency is on your side. Do you want to start a project like this? It would take probably a year of preparing budgets and planning documents to apply for the project .” He mentioned the board would probably need to adjust water rates for the project, but the project itself would take around two years before completion starting with planning documents, the bidding process, and the construction.

“Every community has a list of things they would like to do if they can just afford it and I think this might be a way to make things affordable. This would be just one water project. Maybe you have other water projects you want to pursue. I was just trying to make a point for instance this might be something that would fit with your needs.”

Tieman stated, “we know at some point the mains are going to have to be replaced.” adding that the village will review the information with their water and sewer committee.

The project would include 6,000 feet of new piping, in two sections of the village. One being by 105 into Bement from Cerro Gordo, and the other on the opposite side of Bement leading out on route 105.

Board Approves Paying off Loan and Other News:

The board approved paying off a loan with the State Bank of Bement avoiding additional interest. $151,686.76 was paid off, the additional interest was costing the village $1,999.25 per year. Board Member, stated, “We could use that money we are paying in interest in other things.”

In July, Eric Shangraw, Municipal Marketing Manager from Areal Disposal, Inc. from Clinton, was present to request a rate increase for garbage service from $13/month to $14/month. Village Clerk Kay stated, “The last increase was in 2012. Bement has two haulers…Area Disposal and United Waste Services out of Decatur. Their customers will see this rate increase also. The increase goes into effect October 1, 2020..” The rate increase was unanimously approved.

Ordinance 794 “An Ordinance to Prohibit Dumping on Certain Village Owned Property” was approved. There is a sign by the dump site dictating the dimensions as to what can be dumped, but the village wanted to make certain it was clear, so adopted the ordinance. Anything dumped cannot be larger than 16 inches in diameter or longer than 10 feet, including shrubbery, tree stumps, etc. The ordinance also dictates, “Ordinance shall be fined not less than $250.00 nor more than $500.00 for each offense. A separate, additional offense shall be deemed to be committed on each day during or on which a violation continues after the violator has been given notice by the Village to remove the property

The board held the meeting for the second time in person since the COVID closures and guidelines began in mid-March. Everyone was semi socially distanced, and the majority were wearing masks. Each board member was present.

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