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SIBLEY — Village trustees approved a previously discussed contract for tree services with A&K Tree Service, a local partnership of Marcus Aberle and Brandon Kruse.

The village previously used the services of Randy Painter. Board President Jim Kearney said Painter “was not happy” after reading in the newspaper about the new contract.

Trustee Tim Fillenwarth said, “There’s nothing wrong with Randy Painter.” But Fillenwarth agreed with a statement by Trustee Corey Volker, who said the contract “represents an extraordinary value to the village.”

Volker said the contract’s value included the fact that A&K’s owners live in Sibley and will put Sibley as their top priority for storm cleanup. He said the duo had already voluntarily helped with storm cleanup.

Volker said he was also impressed that the A&K partners are willing to be proactive about existing trees that need trimming or removal, and they also have a plan for replanting.

Joining the five of six trustees who voted in favor of the contract, Greg Brucker added, “It’s a tough deal because Randy did a heck of a job, and we want to give him kudos.”

Brucker suggested that in the future the board give both tree services equal opportunity for the village’s business.

As a relatively new trustee, Laura Grider said she needed to abstain from the vote.

Possible litigation

Trustees are still looking for restitution from John Stanley of Stanley Construction, who was paid for three repairs but only completed two.

For the unfinished pavilion repair, the village has reimbursed Stanley for materials, but it does not have possession of the materials, nor did Stanley ever do any work on the repair.

Stanley told Kearney he needed to return the materials to get the money to reimburse the village. Trustees felt he should just bring the materials to the village, since they had already paid for them.

Board members agreed they will turn the matter over to Village Attorney William Gerber in February unless progress is made.

Water report

“We all know we’re chasing water leaks,” said village employee Merlin Tjarks. He told board members he has been going down alleys and using a sonic ear to try to locate leaks.

Tjarks said he believes at least one of the leaks is in the alley between Illinois and Indiana streets. Tjarks said average water use is 39,500 gallons per month and can be as high as 45,000 gallons on the weekends. He had emailed each board member a record of water use compared with the previous year.

A full sonic tracker was scheduled to be brought in Thursday to try to locate the leaks, assuming there is no rain to interfere with its accuracy.

Fish restocking

Brucker said he will look into options with Ford County to restock fish in the Sibley Lake. He said no restocking was done last year, and it is generally done every other year. The village usually spends about $1,000 on restocking.

EMA coordinator visit

Terry Whitebird, coordinator of Ford County’s Emergency Management Agency, was present to introduce himself and to urge the village to report any storm damage. Whitebird said he is trying to rebuild the EMA. “We got a long way to go yet, but we’re definitely making progress,” he said.

Sibley Appreciation Day

Board members were told that Sibley Appreciation Day is planned for July 5. Before granting a request to close down the town’s main street for the celebration, board members agreed they want to coordinate with Corner Store owner Krista McCallister.