The Wilsonville Board of Trustees on Tuesday night voted to install a new roof on an equipment building at the village’s sewage treatment lagoons, set hours for Trick or Treating and hired a new water meter reader. But the lion’s share of the meeting was devoted to dealing with ordinance violations and complaints about the village’s Chief of Police Kenneth Kallal of Carrollton.
Kallal was hired in June 2018, taking the place of former Chief of Police Wayne Watkins, who resigned.
Kallal, who was not present during the meeting, came under fire almost immediately after the meeting was called to order. Though voting to pay all bills as presented, Trustee Stanley Katich voice objections to two paychecks issued to Kallal. “I think he’s doing a pretty shabby job,” Katich said.
“I’m with Stanley,” said resident Sharon Borgini during the public comment period. “I don’t think that cop has done anything since you hired him. I think he does a shabby job and should be fired.”
Village President Jeff Rhodes said Kallal was hired only to enforce village ordinances. Criminal enforcement and traffic enforcement falls to the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department. Rhodes said there is no schedule and that Kallal comes to the village when he can.
“He’s doing this more or less as a favor to me,” Rhodes told the board. “We can’t find anyone else. No one wants the job for $15 an hour. Unless you guys know of someone willing to do it for what we can pay, we’re stuck with what we’ve got. We’re lucky to have somebody.”
Two of eight individuals to whom Kallal had recently issued ordinance warnings appeared before the board for an ordinance hearing. Up to 24 properties have been identified as harboring public nuisance situations, but Rhodes said Kallal was parsing the number of warnings issued at any one time to avoid having a large crowd of residents appear at once.
George Wendler, one of the two residents appearing for the hearing, complained that Kallal was driving his personal vehicle and was not wearing a uniform when he arrived to issue a warning to Wendler for having a derelict vehicle at his residence. Wendler said Kallal identified himself and briefly displayed a badge but did not give him time to read it.
Rhodes said there is no uniform for Kallal but that Kallal does have t-shirts identifying him as the ordinance enforcement officer. He said he would ask Kallal to wear an identifying shirt in future interactions with residents.
After hearing from Wendler, the board agreed to give him until the end of September to have the unlicensed Durango moved from his property. Wendler said he is on disability and expects to receive a disability payment on Friday, Sept. 27.
“I need to the end of the month, but I’ll get that Durango out of there,” Wendler said.
“I’m good with that,” said Trustee Bill Molinar.
The board also gave Christ Chapman 60 days to clean up trash and debris on his property. Chapman said he takes a number of medications, some of which have side effects that prevent him for working for long periods of time in the sun. He said Kallal had told him that he could avoid an ordinance citation as long as he was showing progress toward cleaning up his property.
“I’m not asking for favoritism,” Chapman said. “I just need more time.”
“My opinion is you should not have let it get that way to start with,” Katich commented.
“What are you proposing?” Rhodes asked Chapman.
“Give me more time,” said Chapman, adding that 60 days should be sufficient.
The other six residents who received warnings apparently agreed to abate nuisances on their properties within the five days the warning gave them.
On a motion by Roland Rife, seconded by Molinar, the board voted to install a metal roof on the equipment shed at the village’s sewage treatment lagoons and to patch four or five holes in the roof on the bingo stand at Shady Oak Park. Bob Bruhn Construction, Mount Olive, was the only contractor submitting bids for the projects.
Bruhn offered to install new shingles on the lagoon structure for $1,750 or install a metal roof for $3,200. To patch the holes at the Shady Oak location, he offered a bid not to exceed $1,000 depending upon the amount of underlayment he has to replace.
Rhodes noted the city recently received a sizable donation for civic improvements from which the Shady Oak project could be paid without having to expend tax dollars.
Molinar said he and Katich recently cut back trees that were overhanging the bingo stand and contributing to roof damage. He said patching the holes should be sufficient for stabilizing the roof and avoiding further damage.
“Why not fix the holes and put new shingles over the whole thing?” Rife asked. But Molinar said the remaining shingles on the building are not curled and should last several more years. Patching the holes, he said, should stop any further wood rot.
“I think we should repair the holes instead of letting it rot out,” Molinar said.
Without further discussion, Rife moved to install a metal roof on the lagoon building on the theory it would last longer than shingles and to patch the holes at Shady Oak Park.
METER READER, HALLOWEEN DATES & CITY CLEAN UP
On a motion by Molinar, seconded by David Day, the board voted to formally hire Justin Thornhill as a water meter reader and other maintenance duties as needed. Rhodes said he hired Thornhill after the previous meter reader abruptly resigned. He said Thornhill was able to read all the meters in town in a matter of one day.
On a motion by Rife, seconded by Dustin Calcarri, the board set Trick or Treating hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, and Thursday, Oct. 31.
The board also set a community clean-up day for Saturday, Oct. 12. On that day, the city will provide three 30-yard dumpsters for residents to use to dispose of household refuse. The dumpsters will be available starting at 7 a.m. and will remain available until they are filled. The program will not accept electronics, paint, tires or batteries.
Trustee Katich asked to see a copy of the village housing inspector’s checklist after the inspector approved a house in the 300 block of School Street for occupancy.
“I think the inspection is kind of hokey,” Katich said. “That place looks like an unfinished house to me.”
Rhodes seemed to agree but said the inspector told him the structure was in compliance with standards required for occupancy.
Molinar suggested that the village could take action to make the inspector’s checklist more restrictive. “Just because it meets the building code doesn’t mean its meets what we want,” Molinar said. “I think we should talk to the inspector about what we want. I want to see what he goes by to say a house is okay for someone to move in and have the water turned on.”
Village Attorney Kevin Polo briefly appeared before the council to discuss the status of properties some board members have expressed concerns about. An abandoned residence on Washington Street, he said, is scheduled to be sold by the county for back taxes this fall. He said such properties usually find a buyer, but sometimes take two years to sell.
Molinar said he doubted the house would find a buyer, given that the minimum bid for the property is $860. “Nobody is going to buy that,” he said.
Polo said he succeeded in getting the owner to sign for a certified letter regarding a derelict property in Schmidt Street. “That’s the first step,” he said. “Now, we can send out a process server” to initiate proceedings to declare the property a public nuisance.
Molinar said there are other properties in Wilsonville that need to be torn down or repaired. “We’ve got these properties that are falling in on themselves,” he said. “I think we need to do something about it.”
Polo said he can send letters to the owners of such properties, along with a notice for them to abate the nuisance within five days.
A resident from the 200 block of Short Street complained about an over-population of cats in her neighborhood. She said a lady in the neighborhood has a number of cats that have not been spayed or neutered and is allowing them to breed.
“We get a new litter every two weeks,” she said.
She said she called the Macoupin County Animal Control Agency and was told a request to trap and remove cats had to come from the Village President. In the meantime, Molinar advised her to start trapping cats with a live trap to remove them.