SOLDIERS GROVE - Village trustee Paul Nicholson was confirmed as the interim Soldiers Grove Village President at the board meeting last Thursday.
It took the board a series of motions to get there, but when it was over they had confirmed Nicholson as president and appointed Steve George, the elected president to serve the remainder of Nicholson’s term as a village trustee.
It was explained that George would be out of town quite a bit in the future and would not be available to run the meetings as president. However, he could serve as a trustee, even if he was forced to miss some meetings.
For the record, in the absence of village president Steve George, village clerk Tammy Kepler called the meeting to order. The first order of business was appointing someone to chair the meeting. Nicholson was nominated and approved.
Nicholson then entertained nominations for an interim village president to serve out Steve George’s term. Nicholson was nominated for the position and approved.
Then, Nicholson entertained nominations to fill his vacant trustee seat for the remainder of his term George was nominated and approved.
Without further ado, the board dug into the items on the agenda of the monthly meeting. Soldiers Grove Village Librarian Cele Wolf was present at the meeting to answer questions about the budget for 2020.
Wolf said the reason for a need to increase the library’s budget was because the amount of aid from the county had decreased and costs for the employees particularly health insurance and retirement had gone up.
Wolf said although circulation was a factor, the major reason county aid was decreased was because the library-operating budget had remained constant.
In answer to a question about the library roof repair caused by storm damage, Kepler explained the village is responsible for the building, which also contains the village offices and meeting room. Insurance covered he cost of the roof repair except for the $1,000 deductible paid by the village.
Soldiers Grove Village Fire Chief Roger Olson informed the board that the department wants to purchase a battery-operated Jaws of Life at the cost of $1,500. He noted the Jaws used to cut away metal from vehicles at accident scenes, came with two batteries and a charger.
The department currently has a hydraulic Jaws of Life unit and will continue to use it at accident scenes. The battery-operated unit allows the firefighters more mobility and takes less manpower to operate.
The chief told the board that the department had money in their budget to pay for the purchase.
Soldiers Grove Village Trustee Harrison Heilman discussed what he learned of the battery-operated Jaws purchase from attending a recent fire department meeting.
“If there’s money in the budget, I’m all for it,” trustee Vickie Campbell said.
Campbell moved to approve the purchase and Heilman seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.
Olson also informed the board of the results of the recently held Soldiers Grove Fire Department officer elections. Roger Olson was re-elected fire chief. Charlie Strait was re-elected first assistant to the chief and Shayne Chapman was re-elected second assistant to the chief. Village clerk Tammy Kepler was re-elected to serve the fire department treasurer.
In other business, the Soldiers Grove Village Board:
• learned in the Community Development Corporation report that the Country Gardens Motel was current on room tax payments, while the other two establishments were not currently operating
• briefly discussed an update on the joint sewer treatment options with the Village of Gays Mills and anticipated a complete presentation soon from Davy Engineering
• approved a $12,597 purchase of sampler for the sewer plant–the demo unit was half the retail price
• approved spending $3,250 for a new broom attachment for the village lawn tractor instead of paying over $2,300 to replace parts on the current unit
• agreed to donate $100 for the village’s Thanksgiving Dinner
• donated $100 toward the Santa Claus visit
• approved hiring Johnson & Block at an estimated cost of $12,850 to $15,000 to conduct the year-end audit
• approved the proposed preliminary budget with an increase of $3,650 to the library budget• agreed to hold a public hearing on the proposed 2020 budgets at 6:15 p.m. on December 5 prior to the regular monthly board meeting