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SIBLEY — Village trustees approved moving forward with a plan to replace aging and unsafe playground equipment Monday night, with a goal to raise $30,000 through donations.

Trustee Joe Jones said he visited with a representative from the village of Forrest, where a two-year fundraising campaign was successful in funding the town’s playground improvements. The project reportedly had 90 percent response, in varying amounts, from business solicitations within the school district.

Jones will report at the August regular meeting for approval of mailing costs.

Jones said improvements would need to be done in stages, including keeping up with improvements to the baseball field.

Pavilion work lagging

Bathroom repairs contracted since March 2018 remain incomplete, the board learned. The work is contracted by Stanley Construction of Anchor.

“They know we’re not happy,” said Trustee Ben Wurmnest of the fact the work was not completed before the July Fourth celebration.

The village has already spent $3,000 in materials with the firm. Labor hours remain to be submitted, previously estimated at $2,000.

Although all trustees agreed that last year’s downtown improvement project created delays, the work must be completed before this winter or action needs to be taken, Trustee Greg Brucker urged.

Tree work priorities

All trustees agreed that hanging limbs from storm damage are the top priority for Randy Painter to remove, especially along the Fourth of July parade route and park area. The work will be followed by 10 trees that Wurmnest is to tag for removal.

Painter has already been approved to work with a budget of $7,000, but some must be retained for winter storms.

A number of trees need to be taken down, however.

“It’s a decade project the way it stands now,” observed Brucker.

Local firm A&K Tree Services was recently utilized for some hanging limb removal for about $400 and will be called upon again as needed.

Nuisance concerns continue

At least two properties were mentioned as being delinquent in demolishing derelict houses.

Trustee Tim Fillenwarth recommended that a notice of fines needs to be sent “to show we mean business.”

Village Board President Jim Kearney said he will look into changing the amount of fines within the village ordinances.

Trustee Laura Grider inquired about the deteriorating appearance of the railroad depot.

“It’s part of Sibley’s heritage,” Grider said.

Trustee Corey Volker reminded her that the property is now privately owned by Marni Bishop, who has a photography business.

Water report

Merlin Tjarks said 801,200 gallons of water were distributed in the previous month, for an average of $26,700 gallons per day. This tally includes a hydrant flushing. Tjarks noted that two hydrants are in need of replacement due to leaking or being cracked.

Meanwhile, trustees approved spending about $400 to buy two metered scales and a pH test kit to better determine proper chemical levels in the water.

Tjarks also provided a written report of monthly tasks completed and a list of long-term projects for the future.

Water project

Engineer Merle Ingersoll of MSA Professional Services delivered three documents for village officials to sign as part of planned improvements to the village’s water system and a loan the village is seeking from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to help fund the project.

Village Clerk Laura Peeler certified that no petitions in opposition to not having the project on an election ballot were received within the time limit.

Ingersoll said loan documentation is 75 percent complete. The goal is to have the loan and plans in place about the same time in order for bids to be let for an improved village water system.

Lake spillway improvement

Trustees voted to spend up to $200 for the purchase and installation of a salvaged 12-foot-long-by-50-inch-wide metal addition to the spillway to prevent carp coming into Lake Sibley from the Mackinaw River during periods of high water.

Meanwhile, the idea of making the lake available to low-horsepower boats, as long as they don’t create a wake, was again discussed, but no action was taken. Kearney voiced a concern about how the activity would be regulated. It was determined that an ordinance would need to be created if the idea moves forward.

Burn site control discussed

Signage and possible surveillance of the town’s brush site was discussed.

Tjarks said wording that reads “Natural vegetation material only — no construction material” must be in place to satisfy IEPA requirements.

Volker read the current village ordinance on the subject of the site and individual burn permissions. The matter was added to Kearney’s list to discuss with Village Attorney William Gerber.

Equipment sold

Jody Tjarks submitted the only offer for a Class 2 quick hitch the village determined to be excess property. His payment of $100 was unanimously approved.

Salary to be on August agenda

Kearney reported that Tjarks is not satisfied with his salary of $13,200 — which was approved at the May meeting — in light of the hours he has been spending on village water and maintenance work.

Kearney said Tjarks’ hours and work logs will be reviewed, with the matter to be placed on the Aug. 5 meeting agenda.