SIBLEY — Sibley residents and businesses will be billed for water and garbage service every two months instead of every three months.

Village board members on Monday night finalized details related to the change. There are 177 properties in Sibley that will be billed six times per year rather than four.

The bi-monthly billing cycle will begin June 1.

Bills will reflect a $10 monthly increase in the base water bill, which the board approved in February to help repay the village’s portion of upcoming water-line and water-treatment facility improvements.

The base cost per month for water will now be $22, rather than $12. The monthly fee for garbage pickup remains unchanged at $12.

Each bi-monthly bill will represent two months worth of garbage fees and water use fees. Thus, each bi-monthly bill’s minimum charge will be a minimum of $68 — $24 for garbage and $44 for basic water.

To help residents with the increase, the board doubled the base water quantity by increasing it from 1,000 to 2,000 gallons. As before, there is an additional fee for gallons metered above the base amount.

To compensate Village Treasurer Joni Brucker for the increased number of billing efforts, the board approved increasing the related monthly stipend from $175 to $225.

Other water action

Also Monday night, Merle Ingersoll, an engineer with MSA Professional Services of Champaign who is handling the water-line project’s design, brought up two documents that needed official signatures.

One document names Village Board President Jim Kearney as the authorized village official to sign loan documents. The other is an ordinance to set the upper amount at $612,000, which includes contingencies either required or recommended by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in its Public Water Supply Loan Program.

An official notice will be published for the ordinance, which will also explain that registered voters in Sibley have up to 30 days to object and gather signatures on a petition. If that would happen, the loan and related project would have to be put up for a referendum vote.

Ingersoll reminded board members that if all goes as planned, the village will need to repay only half of the loan and will receive 50% loan forgiveness.

Committee discussions

➜ The board’s lakes and parks committee will consider needed improvements to the Sibley Lake’s spillway and other areas for drainage and then bring potential plans for approval by the board at its June 3 meeting. Committee Chairman Greg Brucker said a previously approved plan to improve drainage in the culvert area will be implemented in the near future.

➜ In a follow-up discussion of tree-removal needs, Trustee Ben Wurmnest presented a color-coded map that he and his wife had prepared of all trees within the village limits. Wurmnest said the map shows 43 trees on the village’s south side and 46 on its north side that need to be removed. With an eye toward spending $7,000 of the total tree budget of $10,000, the committee of Wurmnest, Brucker and Tim Fillenwarth will prioritize those trees that are most in need of professional removal. Others may be taken down with volunteer labor.

➜ During the nuisance committee discussion, all trustees agreed there are some properties that exhibit nuisance areas. Kearney suggested taking photos of code violations, and he will send a letter with pictures to indicate property improvements that need to occur or legal action will be taken.

➜ In a streets and alleys committee discussion, it was pointed out that gravel is being spread on alleyways, oil and chipping efforts will continue as a means to bolster street surfaces, and Ameren Illinois will be asked to alter the direction of lights at a nearby substation that now substantially interfere with drivers’ vision.

Village maintenance report

Village employee Merlin Tjarks said his first delivery of water samples tested well, and 22,000 gallons is the average village water use per day. Tjarks asked that residents maintain their side of culverts and burn only on the alley side of their properties, not on the street or in drainage ditches near the street.

Meanwhile, Tjarks said he was contacted by the Melvin-Sibley High School class of 1977, which wants to plant an oak tree near the former school’s sidewalk to honor the memory of Marilyn Ames, a longtime history teacher at the school who died recently.

Upon Tjarks’ suggestion, board members approved changing the village’s official water testing lab to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s lab in Springfield, beginning July 1. The annual cost will be $2,264.68.

Officials take oath of office; additional trustee needed

Village Clerk Laura Peeler and newly re-elected trustees Corey Volker and Tim Fillenwarth took the oath of office. Trustee Jim Jones was absent.

Kearney said he hopes to be able to have a candidate for a vacant seat on the board ready for the board’s approval at the June meeting. The appointed trustee would fill the seat formerly held by Jeff Gallagher.