The Wilsonville Board of Trustees on Monday night ratified Village President Annetta Veres appointment of former Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Jeff Rhodes as an interim trustee to fill a position vacated by the resignation of John Veres.
The board also unanimously approved an $87,340 appropriations ordinance and a $16,950 properrty tax levy for fiscal 2018.
Trustee Veres announced last month that he planned to leave the board. He attended Monday night’s meeting long enough to submit his formal letter of resignation, which was accepted on a motion by Trustee Roland Rife, seconded by Trustee Keith Mohr.
“Due to a personal career opportunity, I will not be able to fulfill my duties as village trustee,” Veres said in his letter. Veres reportedly has accepted a position that will require extensive travel.
Immediately after accepting Veres resignation, the board accepted President Veres’ appointment of Rhodes to fill the vacancy on the board.
Rhodes has lived in Wilsonville for three years. He is retired after working 24 and one half years for the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department, serving his final few years as chief deputy. Prior to joining the Sheriff’s Department, he worked four and one half years for the Staunton City Police Department.
With his extensive background in law enforcement, Rhodes will chair the Personnel and Public Safety Committee, which oversees the local police department.
APPROPRIATIONS AND LEVY
Both the appropriation ordinance and tax levy ordinance, covering the fiscal year starting May 1, 2018, and ending April 30, 2019, are identical to last year’s ordinances.
The appropriation ordinance, which sets the maximum amount the village is authorized to spend from specific funds, sets a spending ceiling of $45,840 from the General Fund, $2,000 from the Audit Fund, $10,000 from the Motor Fuel Tax Fund, $25,000 from the Water Operating Fund and $4,500 from the Sewer Operating Fund.
The ordinance also gives authority for the village to invest any funds not immediately needed for municipal purposes in federal securities, federally insured savings and loan institutions or banks.
The tax levy sets the amounts the village hopes to generate from property taxes. The actual tax rate is set by the County Clerk by dividing the village’s total equalized assessed valuation by the amount of the levy. For the 2018 fiscal year, village hopes to raise $3,900 in General Corporate Taxes, $1,370 for Police Protection, $3,880 for Fire Protection, $1,900 for the Audit and $5,900 for Insurance.
Board members unanimously voted to approve a measure to hire two additional part-time police officers on the recommendation of Police Chief Wayne Watkins.
Earlier in the meeting, Watkins told the board he has identified two potential candidates, one of whom is currently completing part-time police academy training and one who has already completed training.
Watkins also reported that the police department has taken over policing duties in Lake KaHo under terms of agreement approved by the board last month.
He also reported that Officer Andrew Ferguson has completed his physical agility test and is enrolled in part-time Police Academy training.
“He’s legal to work now and we’re going to put him on the street,” Watkins said. “He’s working out real good so far.”
HOUSING INSPECTION DEBATE
President Veres spent several minutes fielding a complaint from property owner Ryan Montorro regarding the efficiency of the village’s current housing inspector. Village ordinance requires rental properties to be inspected between tenants, but Montorro alleged the current housing inspector has allowed tenants to move into housing that should have been declared substandard.
“We’re letting people move into houses that haven’t passed inspection or couldn’t pass inspection,” Montorro said. “There are houses with the roof caving in that people are living in.”
Veres said the houses Montorro cited actually had been inspected and the property owner had been told to repair the roof and the repair the porch.
“How long do they have to fix it?” Montorro asked. Veres replied that she didn’t know and would have to look at the housing inspector’s citation.
“I just don’t think he (the housing inspector) is doing his job,” Montorro said. “He looks at a house for two minutes. That’s not an inspection. What can I do?”
Veres said a housing inspector the village hired to do inspections for the purpose of condemning structures would like to do housing inspections required by the city between tenants.
“He’s a lot more expensive,” she said. The condemnation inspect is paid $300 per inspection. The contractor who inspects rental homes between tenants, charges the city $ 75. Owners of rental properties are required to pay the city $100 for inspections done between tenants.
Veres said Montorro is the only landlord complaining about the quality of housing inspections and that Montorro had never confronted the inspector directly about his concerns regarding the quality of his inspections.
“Do you know how many landlords he’s done inspections for?” Veres said. “Probably 30, but no one else is complaining.”
2018 MEETING SCHEDULE
The board approved the official meeting schedule for the 2018 calendar year. In general, the board’s regular monthly meetings will take place at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month, except for January and September. The board will meet on Monday, Jan. 8, due to the New Year’s Day holiday, and on Tuesday, Sept. 4, due to the Labor Day holiday.
All-Committee meetings, generally scheduled for the fourth Monday of each month, will be cancelled for May and December due to conflicts with the Memorial Day and New Year’s holidays.
On a motion by Rhodes, the board unanimously approved Christmas bonuses of $50 each for the village’s seven municipal employees, including the City Treasurer, which is now an appointive, rather than elected, position. The other employees include five police officers and one maintenance worker.
Veres reported that the city is receiving $6,883 from its insurance company for hail damage to the siding on the Wilsonville Community Ceneter. She said she is appealing the company’s decision to not cover hail damage to the Community Center roof.
The insurance company also agreed upon appeal to cover damage done to resident’s home as a result of a sewer system lift station failure. The company will cover the damages in the amount of $4,280.93.
Veres said both checks will be delivered in person.
Veres also reported that an altitude valve for the village water tower has been installed but workers are continuing to make adjustments to get the new valve to work properly.
She also reported that the village is waiting of verification from Ameren on whether or not the utility can run a natural gas line to the site before starting work on the Liberty Street Lift Station improvement project. Whether or not the gas line can be run will determine whether the village installs a gas-powered or propane-powered back-up generator for the lift station.
CONSOLIDATING WATER FUNDS
On the recommendation of the village treasurer, the board voted to consolidate three Water Department funds into one fund with designated sub-funds. Previously, the village worked with separate funds for Water Deposit, Water Service and Water Operation. By consolidating funds, the city can save money by ordering printed checks for one fund only, allowing the treasurer to separate expenditures and deposits for specific sub-funds as a bookkeeping practice.
In other action, the board:
- Voted to install stop signs on Callie Street at Short Street on the east and west sides of the intersection.
- Agreed to pay a lump sum fee of $1,575 to participate in the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department’s LEEDs System for one year. In a letter to the village, Sheriff Shawn Kahl said the Department was required to raise the participation fee by five percent due to rising costs.
- Agreed to cast the village’s vote to support re-election of Jeff Tumiati as the village’s representative to the Illinois Rural Water Association.
- Agreed to send David Katava to the Jan. 11 meeting of the Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance Service’s board and the village’s representative. Veres appointed Katava to replace the late Deno Filippini who served as the village’s representative on the board since the inception of the ambulance service.