Waives $14,000 mowing lien against Stemme Street parcel
Brenda Masters-Stout, an accountant with Flemming-Tawfall Certified Public Accountants, fields questions from the Wilsonville Board of Trustees regarding the village audit that was delivered and accepted in November.With the clock ticking down on Village President Annetta Veres tenure as Village President, the Wilsonville Board of Trustees on Monday night accepted City Treasurer Gina Frensko’s proposal to assume duties as the village’s water bill preparer at a cost of $350 per quarter and agreed to waive a sizable mowing lien against a parcel of property recently purchased by a neighboring resident.
Veres announced her resignation, effective March 5, during a special meeting of the board on Jan. 15. Veres said her resignation was necessitated by her and her husband’s plans to move to Florida due to her husband’s career change. Veres’ husband, John Veres, resigned as a Wilsonville trustee in November. Jeff Rhodes was seated on the board to take John Veres’ seat in December.
Rhodes also has been named Mayor Pro Tem and is set to step in the Village President’s role in April after President Veres steps down.
After serving four and one-half years as Village President, Veres told the BenGil Post her decision to resign was “very emotional” and “very bittersweet.”
“It’s been an honor to serve my community,” she said. “I appreciate the outpouring of support” from the community following the announcement of her resignation.
On a motion by Bob Carr, seconded by David Day, the board unanimously agreed to hire City Treasurer Gina Frensko to prepare the village’s monthly water bills at a cost of $350 per quarter. Previously, Veres prepared water bills for a stipend of $225 per quarter.
“My proposal would be to up that to $350,” Frensko told the board, “which would include me coming in two or three times a week to check the mail and return phone calls.” Frensko said she also would administer shut-off orders in addition to preparing water bills each month. “It involves a lot more time than people think it does,” she said.
The board also voted unanimously to accept Frensko’s recommendation to pay village employees every two weeks rather than weekly. The move not only will cut down on the amount of time devoted to processing payroll but also will cut the cost of checks in half, President Veres noted.
Veres said she had talked to city employees about the change and reported that most had no significant objection. One employee objected to the change, she said, but the others “were okay with it.”
MOWING LIEN WAIVED
The board voted unanimously to waive a $14,375 mowing lien against a parcel of property on Illinois Route 138 at Stemme Street after hearing from a couple who recently purchased the parcel for back taxes. The parcel, the site of a former gas station, is located across the street from Shady Oak Park.
Joel Seib, who recently purchased the parcel with his wife, Heather, told the board the couple was unaware of the lien when they bid to purchase the property.
“Once we purchased the property, that’s when we were notified that there was a lien,” he said. He said they purchased the property to expand their own property, which is located adjacent to the parcel. “We were looking to expand our property and take that property off the city’s hands.”
He asked the village to release the lien “and just let us start taking care of it.”
“That property is not worth $14,000 to anyone,” he said.
“I’m okay with dropping it,” said Trustee Roland Rife after hearing Seib’s explanation. The measure was approved unanimously on a motion by Carr, seconded by Day.
“Thank you so much,” Seib said after the vote.
AMEREN GAS LINE BID
On a motion by Keith Mohr, seconded by Rife, the panel unanimously accepted a bid of $7,569 from Ameren to install a 720-foot gas line extension to reach a gas-powered generator to be located at the Liberty Street Lift Station. The bid provides for Ameren to reimburse the village up to $7,385 for future tap-ons to the line. A second option was $70 less but excluded the ability for the village to recoup any of the cost.
The measure is contingent upon Ameren securing an easement from Bob Wilhoit, who owns the property between the lift station and an existing gas line.
Earlier in the meeting, Wilhoit appeared before the board to ask about the project.
Veres told Wilhoit that Ameren planned to use an existing easement the village has with Wilhoit for a water line, but Wilhoit noted the easement on his property is exclusive to the village, not Ameren.
“You have an easement for water,” Wilhoit noted. “Ameren should contact me for an easement for the gas line. I don’t think it will be a problem.”
The undeveloped Wilhoit property, located on the village’s southeast side, apparently is for sale. Wilhoit asked for clarification about the village’s ordinances on discharging a firearm within the city limits, which would “determine whether or not anyone can go hunting” on the property. He also asked the city to clarify whether or not bowhunting would be permissible.
Noting that some city residents already keep horses within the city limits, Wilhoit asked about the legality of a new owner keeping horses on the property.
Veres said the new owners would have to approach the board to get approval for keeping horses in the village limits.
Brenda Masters-Stout, an accountant with Flemming-Tawfall Certified Public Accountants, appeared before the board to answer questions about the village’s annual audit, which was presented to the board in November by Dave Fullington.
Masters-Stout addressed an apparent discrepancy regarding proceeds from cashing a $13,000 certificate of deposit last April. Trustees had wondered about why the audit did not show that the proceeds from cashing out the CD were reinvested in a new CD in May.
Masters-Stout pointed out that the audit covered only the past fiscal year, which ended on April 30. The reinvestment will be shown in the next audit covering the current fiscal year, she said.
The accountant also reported that she recently met with Veres and Frensko to work on updating the village’s accounting system to Quickbooks.
LITTLE FREE LIBRARY
The board voted unanimously to participate in an expansion of the Community Unit School District 7’s Literacy Program’s “Little Free Library” project, tentatively agreeing to locate a Little Free Library near the entrance of the Village Hall.
Reading from a letter from Suzi Tiburzi, Literacy Specialist at Ben-Gil Elementary School, President Veres reported that the program previously placed Little Free Libraries in Gillespie and Benld.
“They have been very successful so we are hoping to place them in outlying communities as well,” Tiburzi wrote. Renovated newspaper vending machines are being used to house books and residents are encouraged to take a book to read while leaving a book for someone else to borrow. The objective of the program is to foster literacy community-wide, according to Tiburzi’s letter.
PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEE BENEFITS ORDINANCE
On the recommendation of the Illinois Municipal League (the village’s insurer) and Village Attorney Kevin Polo, the board adopted an ordinance establishing protocol and procedures for assessing and determining claims made under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act.
“When your insurance company and your attorney both tell you to do something, we probably better do it,” Carr commented.
In other action, the board:
- Agreed to have Bertels Equipment service village equipment prior to the spring mowing and maintenance season.
- Agreed to purchase a leaf blower from Bertels Equipment to replace a blower that is no longer capable of being serviced. The cost of the machine is $190, less a municipal discount.
- Tabled payment of $200 for membership in the West Central Law Enforcement Commission pending clarification. The dues are based on the number of part-time police officers employed by the municipalities but Carr questioned whether the village is liable for paying for part-time officers who are also employed in other communities. “Before we pay this, we’ll ask the police chief if we have to pay for them if they’re already covered by another town,” Veres noted.
- Heard a report from Veres indicating that the village has received an insurance check to replace damaged siding on the Wilsonville Community Center. She said the work won’t be able to take place until spring but she wanted the board to be aware of the project. “I’m probably not going to be here,” she said, “but I wanted that to be on everyone’s radar.”