New Faces for the Atwood Village Board
By Doris Elmore
Three Atwood residents were selected to be sworn in as new trustees on the Atwood Village Board. Village President Bill Fleming presented the names of Stacy Welch, Mikie Stirrett and Justin Rosenberry to the board at their regular meeting on Monday, May 8. Stacy was present and sworn in as a trustee. Stirrett and Rosenberry were unable to attend this meeting. They will become trustees at this meeting.
Fleming, Diane Eagan and Amanda Barbee were election winners. Fleming was sworn in by Scott Harris and Fleming swore in Eagan (trustee) and Barbee (Village Clerk & Village Clerk).
Additional appointments made were: Barbee, FOIA officer; Joe Duncan, Chief of Police; Jeff Mercer, Village Superintendent; Jamie Simpson, Village Treasurer; Daron Soard, Streets & Water & Sewer Employee; Ken Crossman, Village Attorney and Roy Elmore, Building Inspector. First State Bank was appointed as the village designated depository.
Expenditures were approved in the amount of $81,692.88. This included the invoice paid to Davis Construction for $32,346.
President Fleming told the board and audience that the board is continuing to pursue ordinance violations on buildings, inc. the former meat locker building. Fleming stated, “Multiple letters have been sent from the attorney’s office. The owner indicated that he had sold the property on contract. Upon contacting the Douglas County Clerk’s office, they informed the village that no sale had happened nor was pending at that time. The second letter was requesting that something be done on the property, information about the new owner be given or that an offer from the village for back taxes be considered. The duplicate to this letter was sent out about a week ago.”
Regarding Kel’s Place, two letters were mailed from the village attorney’s office. Communication from Kel indicated they had patched the roof and a new roof would be put on when the weather was nicer out. She was going to apply for TIF funding.
The board stopped issuing fines upon her response.
Two letters have been sent from the attorney’s office to 230 Cedar St., Atwood; waiting on a response.
The board is in hopes the June board meeting will be held at their new office where the Kirby office was once located. Fleming is hoping to plan a ribbon cutting and open house for the community to see the new facility at the June meeting as well.
Progress is being made on the Main Street Project. Ameren has completed their work on the replacement street lights and they are very attractive and provide a lot of light. Work is being done on leveling the downtown boulevards and fill and seed the areas. Flowers boxes have been filled by the Atwood Woman’s Club, with the village providing money to buy the flowers.
Fleming contacted the Atwood American Legion and the Atwood Fire Department officials to discuss possible polling places for Atwood residents who reside in Piatt County. No decision had been made at the time of this meeting.
President Fleming stated he wanted to clarify a decision made by the board at the April meeting. The board voted to proceed with oil and chipping village streets this year up to $50,000. Fleming said the board will delay this decision until after the bids have been received on the Main Street Repaving Project in order to determine which fund they will use to pay the oil and chipping from. If the repaving project happens this summer/fall, the board will use Business District Funds for the oil/chipping. If the repaving does not happen this year, Fleming said they will use MFT Funds for the oil/chipping. Either way, the oil/chipping will take place this year.
In regard to the coming fiscal year, Fleming stated, “This will be a crucial year for the village financially. In this fiscal year, we will be paying for the Kirby remodeling, Main Street repaving, oil/chipping of several roads and may likely have a large sewer plant project underway and increasing the staff in the Atwood Police Department.” Fleming continued, “We all must perform our due diligence before spending outside our normal operating expenses. This is a ‘catch-up’ year or a time to take a breath financially. I don’t want to imply that we are in a financial crisis, we are not. But we’ve implemented some major projects over the past 2 years and it’s time for extra good stewardship to replenish our resources.”
Approving the 2023-2024 budget was on the meeting agenda. Fleming stated, “I want to stress that even though the village budgeted these funds, that doesn’t mean we have to spend them or spend up to the budget. What we save now, will allow us to do bigger things down the road.” The board approved the 2023-2024 budget.
The board is still waiting to hear from the state on the grant for the park land purchase.
Trustee Diane Eagan gave a Sesquicentennial update. The committee has been promoting the Sesquicentennial on social media as well as flags/banners on Main Street. A Sesquicentennial bench has been purchased and engraved for placement in Rajah Park. The bench will be placed next to the area where the new time capsule will be buried at Rajah Park. She confirmed there will be three (3) food trucks for the kick-off event on June 11. The Youth League will serve beverages, popcorn and candy from the concession stand. Final details will be reported at the June meeting. The board approved the final funds of $2,000 for the 2023 Sesquicentennial Kick-Off event. She stated that any funds left in the Sesquicentennial account will be deposited into the Atwood Chamber of Commerce account.
The board also approved the annual donation request of $2,500 for the 29th annual Atwood Apple Dumpling Festival on August 18 & 19. The village monetary donation will be used towards entertainment expenses for this year’s festival.
The public meeting regarding village garbage service was held on Monday, May 22, at 6 p.m. A report on this meeting will appear in next week’s edition.