The regular monthly meeting of the Village Board of Colfax was called to order on Monday evening, January 4, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Ricardo Onken.
Trustees present were:
Rick Vance - Aye
David Rathke - Aye
Jason Pierce - Aye
Carol Stephenson - Aye
Lonnie Meiner - Aye
Kelly Gradert - Aye
Also present were Village Treasurer Linda Hanson; Village Attorney Tom Shields; Public Works Brian Hereford; Police Chief Michael Scott.
Also present were several residents of Colfax from the Riverview Subdivision.
Trustee Carol Stephenson made a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes and approve as presented. Trustee Kelly Gradert seconded the motion. Vote: Rick Vance – Aye; David Rathke – Aye; Jason Pierce – Aye; Carol Stephenson – Aye; Lonnie Meiner – Aye; Kelly Gradert – Aye; Motion carried.
Village Treasurer Linda Hanson gave the Treasurer’s Report for the month of December, 2015.
Beginning Balance as of December 1, 2015 $289,559.54
Ending Balance as of December 31, 2015 $268,740.14
Decrease in income for December, 2015 ($ 20,819.14)
Trustee Lonnie Meiner made a motion to pay the bills as presented. Trustee Jason Pierce seconded the motion. Vote: Rick Vance – Aye; David Rathke – Aye; Jason Pierce – Aye; Carol Stephenson – Aye; Lonnie Meiner – Aye; Kelly Gradert – Aye; Motion carried.
Trustee Jason Pierce, Chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee, reported on the Finance and Audit Committee meeting held January 4, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. Jason stated that most of what he wants to talk about is later on the agenda.
Jason Pierce reported that a copy of the Annual Audit is in everyone’s folders.
Trustee David Rathke, Chairman of the Police and Liquor Committee, reported that the Activity Report for the month of December, 2015 for the Colfax Police Department is in your folders.
Police Chief Michael Scott reported that the new squad car is in and he will be talking to Fast Signs in Bloomington about detailing the car.
Trustee Lonnie Meiner, Chairman of the Water and Sewer Committee, reported that there are several members of the public here to address the Board regarding the recent rains and flooding.
Sunset Drive Resident Dan Kukuck thanked the Board for letting them address the Board tonight. Dan reported that there are ten (10) houses that he knows of with sewer coming in through floor drains in the basements. Of those ten I would say multiple times. Mayor Ric Onken asked Dan if this only occurred during flooding in the Village. Dan stated that was safe to say. Dan stated that having to submit an insurance claim every time there is excess storm water that is something you really shouldn’t worry about. If you go on the internet and will tell you that storm water and sewage water should be separate. Dan reported that he contacted a lady at the Illinois EPA and the lady gave him information on grants that are available to repair these problems. She did give examples of putting ejector pits into these houses, however, the sewer water has to go somewhere so if it shuts it off there it has to go somewhere.
Dan stated he has a couple of questions:
Dan answered, “Absolutely”.
Dan answered, “Absolutely”!
If you think about that your sump pump is going to bring in all of the water from your footing tiles so if hooked up illegally into the sewer system then the sewer system is going to take on all of that storm water. Dan agrees that could be a problem. I know it can be tested for.
Dan stated that in 2011 there was a motion made and approved for the then Superintendent to install a censor in the Riverview Subdivision – why was that never done. Just wondering why that was never done.
Mayor Ricardo Onken asked Superintendent Brian Hereford to address the Board and the residents of Riverview Subdivision.
Brian stated that the Village does have an infiltration problem on West Main Street – he has pinpointed that. Brian stated that he had Ray Popejoy there today and the Village is going to bring a camera from the City of Fairbury and run up in there to locate just exactly where that is. Brian stated I think you are probably right Dan that it is a field tile because it is major. Brian stated that being said, Ray Popejoy doesn’t think that is going to stop the problem. Brian stated that he talked to Holly at the Illinois EPA quite a bit this afternoon. The grants are just for putting lift stations in your house. That will stop the problem because nothing on the other side of you is backed up. It is just you guys with those basement drains. Brian stated that when the original sewer was put in all of those lines came off of the houses came off of the main at a forty-five degree angle and they were capped. Where that 45 degrees comes in the house they cannot flood. They cannot flood. Even the house on West Main with the infiltration does not flood. The houses in Riverview Subdivision were not put in this with only 1/10th of an inch of fall not the 45 degree raise. That’s what they recommend doing.
Trustee Jason Pierce asked about the grants from EPA – would that be the Village receiving the grant or the homeowner. Brian stated Holly talked like the Village would receive the grant to help the homeowner. She was going to look and see if there is any money left. Brian stated that this would involve a three foot (3’) X four foot (4’) area and put the tank and plumb it up from there. Ray Popejoy said that some of these would have to be put on the outside of your house. Brian stated that this is the only answer. Brian stated the Village can stop the infiltration but still could have a problem because of the way the sewer lines were installed in the subdivision. Brian stated that I think there has been a problem ever since the subdivision was built.
Resident Greg Riblet stated that many of the owners that originally built houses may have had sump pump problems but it seems like the problem co-insides with when they redid the softball field and the football field. Brian stated I checked all of the manholes around the school and it is ok.
Ric Onken stated that the Village has been trying to find this since 2011. Unfortunately the only time that can check this is when it is raining. Ric stated that the sewer line is twelve feet (12’) deep – if your basements are ten feet (10’) deep then you only have a 2 foot drop. Ric stated that he spoke with our Village Engineer and the only thing that is to be going to the sewer is sewage.
Dan asked so if we all put these lift stations in where is the water going to go.
Brian stated that the sewer has never quit working – the pumps are still pumping. It is just because you guys are so low. The sewer never stops pumping it just gets deeper. It is just because you guys are so low out there.
Ric stated he can’t remember why it didn’t happen – it was for the Subdivision to watch and warn you that there could be a problem. Dan asked why it wouldn’t have been denied. Ric stated we can take a look at that again. That censor is only a light at a manhole.
Brian stated that nobody on the other side of you ever stops – it goes right by you. The people that aren’t in your subdivision - the Nursing Home never stops up.
Next Riverview resident Kathy Tolan addressed the Board on this issue. Kathy stated that we have lived there nine (9) years. July of 2015 and December 2015 is the first times this has happened. Kathy stated that we have a gravity flow and have never had water in the basement. The first time we had over $20,000 in damage to our basement – it had to be totally gutted. I can’t believe that there is not something wrong with the sewer system.
What are we suppose to do? Do I have to take off work every time it rains to watch this light to see if there is going to be a problem? Do I have to have this pit put in? I don’t understand what I am suppose to do.
Ric stated on our part Brian has been pinpointing this to find out where the infiltration is happening.
Ric stated that we can look at this censor again but if no one is home to see the light. Ric stated that the Village will look into the grants. Ric stated that the Village is going to do their part but the homeowners have to do their part too.
So when there is a sewer backup is that reported to someone. Brian stated that if there is a sewage backup into the houses yes – into the basements no. The main level of your house. Brian stated that the building permits that were issued – Tim Taylor I have your blueprints and there is no plumbing in the basement. The rest there were only sketches of the outline of the houses – no blueprints.
There was much more discussion regarding this issue.
Trustee Rick Vance, Chairman of the Streets and Lights Committee, reported regarding the Street Committee meeting held tonight, January 4, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
The first item under new business was regarding the Old Hardware Store building.
Mayor Ricardo Onken asked Village Attorney Tom Shields what the next move is on this. Police Chief Michael Scott reported that there have been three Ordinance Violations issued and Mr. Daniel has paid two out of the three.
Tom stated that if the communications with the owner doesn’t follow thru, the Village needs to see if an agreement for demolishing the building is cheaper than going to court. Police Chief Michael Scott with be in contact with Harley Daniel regarding an agreement. Tom stated that the Village can work out an agreement or go on with litigation.
Next was the appointment of Joshua Hereford from part-time public works employee to full time public works employee. Mayor Ricardo Onken asked with the advice and consent of the Village Board of Colfax would like to appoint Joshua Hereford as full time public works employee.
Trustee Jason Pierce made a motion to approve the appointment of Joshua Hereford to full time public works employee at an hourly rate of $15.00 per hour. Trustee Rick Vance seconded the motion. Vote: Rick Vance – Aye; David Rathke – Aye; Jason Pierce – Aye; Carol Stephenson – Aye; Lonnie Meiner – Aye; Kelly Gradert – Aye; Motion carried.
The next item on the agenda was regarding the Catholic Church building. Mayor Ricardo Onken asked the Board if we want to make an offer or just drop it. Trustee Jason Pierce stated that this was discussed at the Finance/Audit Committee meeting and feel this is currently not an option. There are too many other issues with buildings uptown and the Village needs to look at first.
Mayor Ricardo Onken stated he will contacting them so they can get it put on the market.
Ric reported on the information and letters that the Village has been receiving regarding the cellular tower property. The Board just wants to ignore these letters and keep going with the rental of this property.
The first item under new business was regarding a donation to Show Bus. Village Clerk Nancy Kiper stated that the Village gave $250.00 last year.
Trustee Jason Pierce made a motion to donate $250.00 to Show Bus. Trustee Carol Stephenson seconded the motion. Vote: Rick Vance – Aye; David Rathke – Aye; Jason Pierce – Aye; Carol Stephenson – Aye; Lonnie Meiner – Aye; Kelly Gradert – Aye; Motion carried.
Mayor Ricardo Onken reported that there are fifty-five (55) rental properties in the Village of Colfax. The mayor feels that the Village needs to look into these properties and have them register with the Village of Colfax and make sure all of the properties are up to building code. Tom will need to look into this because he doesn’t know if the Village can do this or not because of Home Rule Laws.
Trustee Rick Vance made a motion to adjourn. Trustee David Rathke seconded the motion. Vote: Rick Vance – Aye; David Rathke – Aye; Jason Pierce – Aye; Carol Stephenson – Aye; Lonnie Meiner – Aye; Kelly Gradert – Aye; Motion carried.
Meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.