PIPER CITY — As part of ongoing efforts to improve the appearance of certain properties in Piper City, village trustees recently voted to hire a code enforcement officer.

At its rescheduled meeting on June 12, the village board authorized its president, Jeff Orr, to hire Janet Walker of Roberts to perform code enforcement oversight of Piper City properties. Walker is also the code enforcement officer in Roberts.

“Her attitude on doing things seems consistent (with ours),” Orr said after reviewing some of Walker’s projects and notes, which Orr said were very complete.

Orr was authorized to offer payment of $14 per hour plus mileage for use of a personal vehicle. Orr said that if Walker accepts the job, the employment agreement would be that of an at-will village employee.

Board members agreed that the hours she would work would be open and determined by her effectiveness.

More playground improvements

Also at the meeting, trustees voted to hire K&K Coatings of Gibson City for $3,285 to pressure-clean and paint most of the older pieces of playground equipment in the village park with durable urethane paint.

The new paint will match the colors of the new playground equipment that was installed at the park recently.

The board also discussed hiring the company to do similar deep-cleaning and long-lasting painting of all of the town’s 53 fire hydrants. Due to having to pay prevailing-wage rates, K&K said it could do the work for $180 per hydrant.

Trustee Paul Mogged said that although the hydrants were last painted in the 1990s, he was more concerned now about having the professionals paint the playground equipment.

“We’ll tackle the hydrants when we can,” Mogged said.

New water-billing software

The company that created the village’s current water-billing software has gone out of business, so selecting new software has been a top priority for village staff. At the meeting, trustees voted to purchase “EZBill32” utility-billing software, developed by Carraway Computer Systems LLC of Hattiesberg, Miss.

Village Clerk Rhonda McCoy said she and Village Superintendent Richard Hitchens were satisfied with the features and company support responsiveness. McCoy said she found the system “very easy to navigate.”

Both McCoy and Hitchens will cross-train so both know how to use the system. The village’s existing supply of billing cards can be utilized by the new system.

There will be a one-time cost of $3 per account to transfer data from the village’s 360 accounts. The recurring cost for software licensing and support services will be $1,500 per year.

Clearing trees from railroad area

The board also discussed ways to address the overgrowth of trees located along a section of railroad that runs through the village.

Orr said that Lee Farms Excavating of Paxton would be willing to get a permit from the railroad and grind down trees in as much of the area as possible in two eight- to 10-hour days. The cost would be $225 per hour.

Trustees voted unanimously to authorize the work at a cost not to exceed $5,000. A plan to spray the areas to prevent new growth will be investigated.

Sesquicentennial support

To show their appreciation for the nonprofit Piper City Pride group that is organizing the village’s sesquicentennial celebration on Aug. 2-3, trustees voted to rent a large tent and three portable toilets for the celebration at a cost of $1,530.

McCoy said the 40-by-100-foot tent will cover the bandstand and extend south to the sidewalk across the street from the downtown’s Railroad Park. Nightly bands, dancing and beer sales will take place under the tent both evenings, and the tent will be used for various activities during the day.

McCoy also expressed appreciation for the village board’s initial contribution to establish Piper City Pride.

“We’ve had a great response from the organization for the event,” McCoy said.

McCoy added that she has been satisfied in “seeing people come together” to plan the sesquicentennial celebration.

Clean-up day on hold

Due to asking residents to concentrate on sprucing up the exterior areas of their properties, trustees said they felt this would not be the year to initiate a town-organized clean-up day to dispose of random garbage.

Orr said the village’s current garbage hauler is fairly lenient in picking up small amounts of unwanted items. Orr said he would like to see residents concentrate on painting their properties and having well-mowed and neat lawns and landscaping.

Discussion ensued on ways to help residents know how to dispose of unwanted items on their own. An informational sheet will be posted in Piper City’s post office, and bullet points will be featured on the town’s social media page.