Listen to this article

PIPER CITY — Two candidates for the Ford County Board spoke during the public comment period of the Jan. 2 meeting of the Piper City Village Board to offer their idea of coordinating a “small-town initiative.”

Incumbent Tim Nuss of rural Roberts said this is the third town meeting he has attended, and he sees that small towns in Ford County can find common ground and common solutions to problems. Candidate Lesley King of Piper City accompanied Nuss and said she also supports coordination of county resources.

King, a newcomer, and Nuss are among three candidates running for two available seats representing District 2 on the county board in the March 17 primary election. They are joined by incumbent Robert Lindgren of rural Loda.

King said she is running for election because she “wants to contribute back” to citizens in the county. King has attended county board meetings and believes she can help create positive action.

Assistant treasurer appointed

In other business, no treasurer’s report was available due to Treasurer Dawn Johnson’s recurring illness.

Because of that, trustees voted unanimously to appoint Kelly Berry as assistant treasurer. She is a former village treasurer and the wife of Trustee Doug Berry. She will be able to sign checks and assist Johnson as needed.

Code review, enforcement

Code enforcement officer Janet Walker reported a busy month in December. She said preparing a fines schedule along with code revisions would be helpful to her at this point.

Village Board President Jeff Orr said he has asked Superintendent Dick Hitchens to review the water portion of the proposed new codes for accuracy against current practice.

Orr said his review will now concentrate on areas of the code revision that address abandonment of property and inoperable vehicles, property maintenance, and nuisances and offenses.

Orr expects to wrap up his review within a few weeks and said he will probably call a special meeting for trustees to review highlights and consider approving the new village codes.

Residents needed for service

Trustees are seeking residents who are willing to serve on either a village planning commission or a zoning board of appeals.

Orr said the goal is for the two organizations to be independent bodies from the trustees, who now serve dual roles.

Property almost acquired

A long-running attempt to secure seven half-lots near the village’s water tower is nearing completion. Orr said the property is owned by Duane Shields, former owner of Shields Soil Service near Fisher, but is available for about $1,500 and possible payment of back taxes.

Orr said paperwork to acquire the property is nearly completed by the village’s attorney and should be ready for action at the board’s February meeting.

First responder concerns

Trustee Bob Cotter expressed frustration that participants of a local first responder class are unable to respond yet to local emergency calls. Cotter lamented that help is at least 10 minutes away from Riverside’s ambulance service in Gilman, and that period of time could be critical in some emergencies.

Cotter wanted to keep the fly-car service active for a longer period of time, but he said Gibson Area Hospital officials “didn’t seem to want to cooperate” with that plan.

Although the group of local residents has completed classes, Orr said there is insurance paperwork and other certifications needed before they can become active, which will hopefully be in the near future.