By Doris Elmore
The end of the fiscal year for the Village of Atwood brought many items for discussion at the board meeting on Monday, April 25.
After months of study, the board adopted a new Leak Adjustment Policy, effective May 1. The following are the qualifications for water leak adjustments for the village.
1. It is the customer’s responsibility to keep his/her plumbing system in good working order.
2. No customer shall receive more than one leak adjustment in a 12-month period.
3. Adjustments on water bills will NOT be made on the following:
a. Residential customers who do not have their own water meter.
b. Premises left or abandoned with reasonable care for the plumbing system.
c. Leaks on irrigation systems or irrigation lines, leaks in water features such as fountains. Filling of swimming pools or leaks in swimming pools and watering of lawns and gardens.
d. Negligent acts such as leaving water running
4. The Village of Atwood shall not be obligated to make an adjustment of any bills not submitted for adjustment within 90 days from the billing date.
5. Customers must present proof that a leak has been repaired before an adjustment will be made. (ie. Copy of invoice for materials or bill from plumber)
6. Any approved adjustment will be shared 50/50 with the customer.
During the Village President’s Report, Bill Fleming told the board the highway sign for Stan Harris as 2022 Ansar Potentate has been received and is installed on Rt. 36 as you enter the village limits from the east and west.
Fleming reported that due to the limited staffing in the department that reviews and administers the OSLAD & LWCF Grants, the village was asked to submit photos and detailed descriptions of the land they are pursuing to purchase to expand the village park to the west. This has been taken care of and the board is waiting for a response.
The attorneys for the former Kirby building and the directors of the title company are going back and forth on whether or not some requirements of HUD have been resolved.
Fleming stated that there are several locations throughout the village where Ameren has replaced power poles and transferred their lines to the new poles. The old poles are still standing because Mediacom has not transferred their lines to the new poles. Fleming said he has scheduled a meeting with Mediacom engineer to look over these locations so the lines can be transferred and old poles removed.
As a part of the board’s plans to renovate/beautify the downtown boulevards, Fleming is going to ask Mediacom to relocate their overhead lines that run on the west side of the business district and cross Main Street on Central Street.
Eight properties within the village have been found to be abandoned or seem to present ordinance violations. Letters will be prepared by the village attorney to send to the owners of these properties to inform them of the issues and to request clean-up or a suitable resolution.
Chris Stoltz, chairman of the Police Committee, made a motion to re-locate the Atwood Police Department back to the Sav-Mor Building. She stated that Police Chief Rob Bross graciously relinquished the building when Sav-Mor came to Atwood and were interested in the building on Main Street. The building was the property of the village at that time and remains village property. Diane Eagan seconded the motion. The board vote was 4 yes and 2 no.
Sav-Mor had remodeled the building to suit their needs and now it needs remodeled to fit the needs of the police department. The board approved a motion to accept the bid of Davis Construction for $10,925 for remodeling. The work will include: take down suspended ceiling, frame storage closet and 4’ wall, hang and finish drywall, paint and install baseboard and door casing on the new walls, reconfigure ceiling tile and grid work and install 36” solid core flush door.
President Fleming reported the Federal Highway Administration has announced new guidance and increased funding to help state and local governments carry out projects that create safer, more walkable streets. The 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law nearly doubled funding for the Transportation Alternatives to $1.44 billion from FY 2022-2026.
The program can be used for a variety of projects including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails, safe routes to school projects and road safety assessments. Fleming asked Ryan Staley of Farnsworth Company to check further into these funds and the requirements to see if it would be something the board should consider for the sidewalk project to Dollar General.
The board passed Ordinance No. 22-0-3 authorizing the allocation of the Village of Atwood’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds pertaining to the coronavirus local fiscal recovery fund.
The continuation of the Main Street paving project will proceed following a motion passed by the board on Monday night. The current balance on the note for the Main Street paving project done a few years ago is $188,000 and is paid off in 2027. The village payment per year is $36,275. The yearly payment is made from the $76,000 in sales tax revenue.
A preliminary estimate cost is $330,000 for the remainder two block area. The board would like to keep the two loans separate so when the first loan is paid off in 2027, it will be done. It will cost $160,000 to finance this project on a second loan. The village already has $176,000 in MFT money to use for the project. Allen Kilber made a motion, seconded by Scott Harris to proceed with this project. Motion passed. All curbing and some sidewalks will be taken out and replaced, as well as new curbing installed on the north side of the bank.
The motion was made by Allen Kilber, seconded by Scott Harris, to proceed with this project. Fleming said the interest will remain the same with both loans.
One bid was received for sale of the former high school concession stand land. The bid of $4,010 was accepted from Harris Companies.
Beverly Obert was in attendance regarding the Atwood Woman’s Club and money to buy flowers for the downtown flower pots this year. The board thanked the Woman’s Club for taking care of this project and granted $200 to buy flowers. They told Obert the flowers really beautify Main Street.
Clean-Up Day was set for Saturday, May 7 and to get four dumpsters at $410 each.
The board voted to donate $2,500 to the Atwood Chamber of Commerce for the 2022 Apple Dumpling Festival.
The Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement between the Village of Atwood and Piatt County Forest Preserve District was accepted. Piatt County pays Atwood $3,000 per year on upkeep of the preserve side of the park.
The board approved $70,542.17 for expenditures.
Stoltz reported Chief Bross is driving the new police car. Bross stated in his report that he sent the equipment that was placed in the car to the insurance company for reimbursement. Bross invited all board members to look over the new squad car and equipment.
He reported he had been busy recently with cases involving two child sex abuse complaints, trespassing, domestic battery and an unlawful possession of a firearm.
He is trying to get clarification for the COPS 2022 staffing grant.
Bross said he had three applications for full time and one application for part-time officer. Preliminary background checks are being conducted now.
The board agreed to advertise for additional summer help. They want Mike Howell to paint the fire hydrants in town and have other help to paint different objects in the park, plus any additional help needed during the summer. Mike painted all the posts for street & stop signs in town last summer.
New board committees were approved by the board. A separate article will appear in next week’s issue.
Following executive session, Amanda Barbee was hired to fill the unexpired term of Nancy Wierman. This term will be up in 2025. A more detailed article on Amanda will follow in the near future. Nancy will retire July 1.
The board voted to continue with employee salaries as previously approved.