LODA — A representative of the Loda Fire Protection District told village trustees last week that he did not appreciate the board deciding last month to install a 4-inch water meter at the local firehouse without first consulting the fire department.
The board voted unanimously to install the meter at the firehouse, which currently has no meter, and to send the fire department a letter of notification in August. The measure was taken after a surprise inspection of Loda’s water system by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency revealed that nearly 15 percent of the water used in the village could not be accounted for.
During last Wednesday’s board meeting, Richard Kingery said he and other fire department officials wondered why the village could not have just talked with the fire department before making the decision. Kingery also said he was concerned that it appeared the village was putting blame on the fire department for the unaccounted-for water usage. Kingery added that no other local fire departments have water meters at their firehouses.
Village Board President Carol Arseneau and trustees explained they are not blaming the fire department, but are instead only trying to determine the source of the unaccounted-for water usage in order to satisfy the IEPA. Arseneau noted that Weber Fertilizer and the former Loda Grade School building also will be getting water meters.
Arseneau added that the installation of the water meter at the firehouse is only being done to account for how many gallons are used. She noted that the fire department will not be required to pay for the metered water.
Meanwhile, Kingery also denied that the last waterball fight held by the fire department had caused a water main to bust due to the jerking of the water on and off. J.R. Ptacek — an employee of ERH Enterprises Inc., the Westville-based firm contracted to maintain Loda’s water system — had made the statement at last month’s meeting.
“We don’t do that,” Kingery stressed. “If we would hook to a hydrant and pull (water) from it, we would blow any line in town.”
Instead, Kingery said, the fire department will only hook a hose to a hydrant and use gravity to help the water flow to the firetruck.
Also at the meeting:
➜ The board voted 5-1 to not reconsider its decision in August to not reimburse residents Allan and Jackie Swanstrom for the construction of a fence on their property next to the water-treatment plant. Last month, the couple asked to be reimbursed for a portion of their fence, and the board rejected the request. The Swanstroms said the water-treatment plant is noisy and an eyesore and is only about 21 inches from their property line, which is not a legal setback. Village officials said they believe the plant was “grandfathered-in” to be allowed there despite the short distance from the property line. Allan Swanstrom, however, said he would like written evidence indicating so. Arseneau said she would look, but she noted there are village records missing. Village Attorney Dale Strough said he believes it is too late for the Swanstroms to make any complaint about the setback issue because of the amount of time that has passed. Strough also noted that the village has the right to grant a setback variance to itself.
➜ Trustee Pat Allen said she would get an updated bid from Price Tree Service for the removal of trees in Loda, after it was realized that the company’s previous bid was for the removal of fewer trees than need to be removed.
➜ Arseneau said the village had received the deeds to the Coe and Genzel properties.
➜ The board reviewed a building permit application from Randall and Sandy Hendricks for the construction of a storage building on land they bought west of the Interstate 57 overpass along Bayles Lake Road. The couple said they are buying a house at Bayles Lake and would be using the storage building for personal storage. The board, however, agreed that the building permit could not be issued until after the couple close on the property’s purchase. Sandy Hendricks said closing is expected Sept. 27. The couple said they would be at the October meeting to get the permit approved. Strough suggested the board try to determine the zoning of the property before approving the permit, as maps showing the zoning for the property cannot be found. Strough said that if no provisional zoning can be found, the property would be zoned residential (R-1).
➜ Trustee Cathy Tittle said some residents who received notifications of the need to clean up their properties responded by pointing out the condition of the Owl’s Nest building along U.S. 45. The owner of the building, Linda Bogard, said cleanup of the building, which was damaged by fire, should be completed within about a month.
➜ Arseneau said anyone who would like to submit a bid for the demolition of a home at Maple and Jackson streets can do so by contacting her or a trustee for more information.
➜ Bogard asked the board when Frankin Street would be repaired. Arseneau said the street was expected to be repaired this summer, but the bid for the work was rejected. Arseneau said new bids will be sought, but probably not until next year.
➜ In the absence of Village Clerk Regina Ptacek, Trustee Ronda Breeden recorded and took the meeting’s minutes. Also, Treasurer Myles Reck was not present, so there was no treasurer’s report provided.