Wilsonville village trustees on Tuesday night agreed to retain Anne Clough, Carrollton, to represent the village and offer advice regarding a proposed 40-year contract with the City of Gillespie to provide water via the Litchfield Water Department.
Following a recent meeting with representatives of its satellite water customers, the City of Gillespie drafted a proposal under which Gillespie would buy water from the Litchfield Water Department and distribute it via existing infrastructure to its satellite customers. Gillespie City Attorney Kevin Polo, who also serves as Village Attorney for Wilsonville, recently told the Gillespie council that the arrangement would allow satellite customers such as Wilsonville, Benld, Eagarville, Sawyerville and Mt. Clare to buy Litchfield water for less than the individual communities could buy it directly from Litchfield. The transmission line to bring Litchfield water to Gillespie would be paid for over a period of 40 years, meaning the communities would be required to sign a 40-year contract to participate.
Village President Jeff Rhodes said he was presented with a proposed 40-year contract to buy Litchfield water via Gillespie.
“I told them I wasn’t going to sign a contract for 40 years and I definitely wasn’t going to sign a contract that had Litchfield’s name all over it,” Rhodes said. “The contract should be between us and Gillespie; Litchfield shouldn’t have anything to do with it.”
Polo, who attended the Wilsonville meeting to administer oaths of office to Rhodes, along with newly elected and re-elected trustees, said he was precluded from representing the village in the matter because of the conflict of interest arising from his representation of Gillespie. “When I came on as village attorney, I had to file a conflict of interest statement,” Polo said, indicating that in the event of a conflict, his priority would be his representation of the City of Gillespie.
“We need to appoint a different attorney,” Rhodes said, adding that his recommendation was to retain Clough. He said Clough previously served as City Attorney for the village and has had experience with long-term contracts. Most recently, Wilsonville retained her to codify the village ordinance book.
Rhodes said Clough previously served as City Attorney for the village and has had experience with long-term contracts.
Newly seated Trustee William Molinar asked whether the Illinois Alluvial Regional Water Co. represented an option for the village to explore as a possible source for water. Carlinville, Dorchester and Bunker Hill are among the partners involved with the water company, which proposes tapping water from an extensive Illinois River Valley aquifer to supply water to its partners.
Rhodes said the company “is not a good option for us.”
Trustee Dustin Calcari commented that current partners have been required to borrow money to invest in the company with no guarantee that it will actually result in a viable water system.
The board voted to retain Clough on a motion by Trustee David Day, seconded by Trustee Keith Mohr. Newly seated Trustee Stanley Katich voted “present.”
VILLAGE PRESIDENT, TRUSTEES SWORN IN
Immediately after Rhodes convened Tuesday night’s meeting, Polo administered the oath of office for Rhodes, newly elected trustees Molinar and Katich, and re-elected trustees Day and Calcari. Rhodes noted that without swearing in the new members, there would not have been a quorum present to continue with the meeting.
Board members unanimously approved Rhodes’ re-appointment of Gina Frensko, Benld, as City Treasurer and Kenny Kallal, Carrollton, as Chief of Police. Molinar, however, vote “no” and Katich voted “present” when Rhodes asked for approval of his appointment of Calcari as Village President Pro-Tem. Calcari, Day and Mohr voted to approve the appointment, though Calcari said he would acquiesce if another member wanted to serve as President Pro-Tem. Former Trustee Joe Wood, who chose not to seek election in April, previously served as President Pro-Tem.
Upon being seated, Molinar immediately asked to discuss issues related to his long-standing desire to access property he owns on the west side of the village to build houses for himself and his family members. He said he had been served with a copy of a subdivision ordinance which requires subdivision developers to install sidewalks, pave streets and install curbing.
“Why did I get this delivered to my house about putting in a subdivision when all I wanted was to get access to my property?” he asked.
Polo said the development Molinar had planned would not qualify as a subdivision and would not be subject to the subdivision rules.
Molinar said he battled with the board for nearly two years trying to get access to the property via Elm Street. That request was denied when village officials discovered that a garage encroached on the undeveloped right-of-way by four feet. The board eventually gave permission for Molinar to develop Hill Street as an alternative access even though Molinar proposed developing a 16-foot roadway on the 30-foot right-of-way and repositioning the road to avoid the garage.
“I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere,” he said.
Molinar’s comments prompted Ryan Montorro, who owns rental properties in Wilsonville, to complain about what he claimed was selective enforcement of housing ordinances and selective treatment of city residents. As in past visits to the board, Montorro claimed he was required to pay for housing inspections before new tenants move into his properties when other landlords are able to rent their properties without inspection. He also claimed the city had given culverts and rock to some residents while he was required to pay for his own culverts and rock needs.
“If we’re going to have these ordinances, let’s enforce them all,” he said.
“If we’re going to have these ordinances, let’s enforce them all,” he said.
Montorro criticized Trustee Calcari, saying Calcari had dumped mulch in an alley behind his residence, failed to obtain a building permit to construct a deck and is allowed to park on the street in violation of village ordinance. “Does he get special treatment because he’s on the board?” Montorro demanded. Calcari did not respond to the allegations.
Rhodes said he has asked Chief of Police Kallal to enforce city ordinances. He said Kallal recently issued 10 citations for ordinance violations and intends to issue another five in the near future.
Before the meeting adjourned, Montorro asked about a resident who has reportedly built a ramp that crosses the sidewalk to reach the street, and Katich brought up another resident who has placed loose bricks on a city sidewalk. Polo said both circumstances are violations of city ordinances but that taking court action could take several months. As an alternative, he recommended having the Chief of Police contact the property owners to voluntarily address the issues and pursuing court actions only if they fail to remedy the situations.
Later in the meeting, Molinar asked Rhodes to contact the Department of Transportation to address the issue of water standing alongside the highway following rainstorms. He also asked to address a storage trailer at the Community Center that he said is unsightly. “If we’re going to clean up the town, we can start with ourselves,” he said.
BUDGET, APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE
On Rhodes recommendation, the board adopted a budget for the fiscal year starting this month capping expenditures $279,500. It is only the second time Wilsonville has had a formal budget in place. Rhodes presented the village’s first budget last year shortly after being appointed as Village President following the departure of former President Annetta Veres.
The new budget limits expenditures to no more than $74,000 from the General Fund, $46,000 for the Police Department, $18,500 in motor fuel tax expenditures, $41,000 for city property expenses, $100,000 for the Water Department and $45,500 for sewer expenses.
“This will be the second year for a budget for Wilsonville,” Rhodes said. “We were under budget on everything last year.”
He said he and Trustee Day developed last year’s budget by reviewing expenditures over the previous four years and averaging those expenditures for each category of expenditures. For this year’s document, he said he slightly increased line items for maintenance, water and sewer.
Board members also unanimously voted to submit the village’s annual property tax levy to the Macoupin County Clerk’s Office. The total levy request is $16,900. A total of $3,900 is levied for corporate purposes, $3,880 for fire protection, $1,370 for police protection, $1,900 for the annual audit and $5,900 for tort liability insurance.
On a motion by Day, seconded by Mohr, the board voted unanimously to hire Loy, Miller & Talley CPAs to perform the annual audit at a cost of $4,425—about $2,000 less than the village paid a previous vendor for the audit work.
The board tabled a measure to seek bids for repairing roofs on a pavilion at Shady Oak Park and a building at the sewage lagoons after Trustee Molinar volunteered to inspect the structures to see if the work could be done by the city.
On a motion by Day, the board authorized the Village President to spend up to $150 to buy newspaper advertising space to advertise the village’s upcoming Fourth of July and Village Centennial Celebration for three consecutive weeks prior to the event. In addition to a fireworks display, the event will feature a band, food, bingo, children’s activities, and corn hole and washers tournaments. In addition to the newspaper advertising, the village plans to promote the event on social media and with printed fliers.
Board members voted unanimously to accept a low bid of $2,700 from Ruff ’n Tuff Tree Service, Hettick, to remove five trees on city property that are threatening private property and safety if they were to fall. The bid includes stump removal for three of the five trees.
Board members also approved placing a dumpster with a chain and lock at the Community Center at a cost of $46 per month.