Village will rebid safe Route To School project

BOYCEVILLE — The Village Board voted Monday evening to rebid the Safe Route To School Project. This action comes after the village board learned last month that bids for the project came in at twenty-five percent above the estimate.

The project was to build new sidewalks south of Highway 170 and two-marked highway crossings and two railroad crossings to allow a better path from that area to the schools.

[emember_protected] The village has received a grant in the amount of $228,000 for the project. The original estimate was $175,000 plus $50,000 for work on railroad property.

Last month the Village Board requested that their engineering firm explore the possibility of reducing the scope of the project to reduce the cost. They were informed at that time the State Department of Transportation would have to approve any change in the project.

At Monday’s October 9th meeting the board pondered several ways to move ahead with the project. They learned that the state probably would not approved reducing the project, plus the cost of the engineering would not save them any money.

The board also talked about not doing the project, but then the state would require the return of the grant monies, plus any monies already spent.

Part of the project included moving three fire hydrants that are in the path of the new sidewalks. This was bid in at around $50,000, but Don Rose, the village department head told the board that they could do the moving of the hydrants for about $10,000. He also noted that the state has allowed them to remove two flashing lights that were part of the original planning of the project.

The board discussed the low number of bids the project had received and hoped that rebidding it early for next summer’s work would draw more contractors into the bidding.

Library Budget

“I was not very pleased when I got a peek at this,” said Village President Gib Krueger. He was addressing Joe Pieters, a library board member, who was at the meeting with the proposed Library budget for next year. “Where did you come up with these numbers?” Krueger asked. Pieters responded, “We were presented a plan by you to pare down our budget by five percent, and that is about $6,400 less than the current budget.”

The proposed budget calls for a number of $124,000 for library expenses.

Krueger continued, “But you saw fit for an eight percent increase for the director.” Pieters countered with, “That’s the same as you gave the Village Clerk-Treasurer.” But Krueger stated, “That job does not weigh up to other positions in the village, it does not feel justified.”

“That’s your opinion,” Pieters told Krueger, “But we are charged with operating the library.” Pieters informed the board that they received money for the library from what is called ACT 150. He noted that when the library budget is reduced, so are funds from ACT 150. To which Krueger noted, “If you have concerns with ACT 150, then you would not be giving out a $3,000 raise.”

“We did what we thought was best, if we want to keep good people and we have good people and good programs,” Pieters stated. Krueger noted that he will have a half dozen other village employees breathing down his neck and that the village budget outlook is tight.

The proposed budget will be reviewed at the Village Board budget work time meeting, which is scheduled for October 24. Pieters asked, “What is your directive to the Library Board?” “I would like to see the raises more in line with what the rest of the county is getting,” the president stated.

Krueger concluded his comments to Pieters, “I appreciate you being the messenger this evening, but I have more to worry about in this village, than just the library.”

To support the Library budget, the village would need to fund it with $59,335.

Other Business

The board heard a report from Police Chief Greg Lamkin that three part time police officers, Peter Rud, Ryan Jordon and Aaron Kersten, have or are completing training. He also informed the board that they arrested a suspect in a juvenile sexual assault and that they picked up a pit bull and took it to the shelter after the owner was notified to keep it in control.

Lamkin informed the board that he has boxed up all old records of the department that are no longer needed and has a company coming to shred those papers. “We can’t burn them because of village ordinance against open burning,” he noted.

Krueger asked Lamkin if he could have a list of Mutual Aid responses in his report. “That would make all our lives better,” Krueger stated.

Rose noted that they had no issues with the current water meter readings and that hydrant flushing has been complete and they will be flushing sewer mains this week.

The board also heard from Jeff Riek, who appeared before the board concerned about a drainage ditch near Nordveien Drive. He noted that because of grass and brush build in the ditch water has backup. He said that there is five feet of water in the ditch. The board tried to determine whose land the ditch was on, but Krueger will meet with Riek this week to take a look at the problem.

The board approved dissolving the contract with Food Harvest Ministry about renting the Community Center. The board approved them leaving the Center by January 1st. The board talked about recent discussions about moving the clerk’s office and police department. “We need a building to be empty,” Krueger noted. [/emember_protected]