The tree limb that fell onto a pickup truck in front of the Washington County Courthouse on St. Louis, due to severe storms the morning of Thursday, May 31.
By Alex Haglund
When storms came through Washington County on Thursday, May 31, a limb came down on top of a pickup truck parked on St. Louis Street (IL-15) in Nashville, in front of the Washington County Courthouse. Now, the county board has authorized the building committee to seek bids and move forward with removal of the trees there.
“This is at least the third such incident in the last few years,” said county board building committee chairman Gary Suedmeyer to the rest of the board at the meeting held on June 12.
Suedmeyer said that he had hoped that he would have had enough bids to bring them directly to the full board for approval at this meeting, but since he did not, he asked for them to authorize the building committee to seek and then act on bids to remove the trees, so that they could take action without the need to wait until July or hold a special meeting.
The bids were requested for removing the trees and grinding or removing the stumps as well. While Suedmeyer stated that not all of the trees were sickly, the latest branch to fall had come from one of the healthy ones.
“I hate for us to do this,” Suedmeyer said, “but I think that’s the point we’ve gotten to.”
County Engineer Mitch Burdick brought a township aid resolution to the board – a 50-50 project – which will help pay to repair a culvert on Old St. Louis Road in the Village of Oakdale just at the boundary between the village and Oakdale Township.
After the board approved the aid resolution, Burdick gave an update on summer jobs being undertaken by the highway department.
“We should have our first mowing of the year completed this week,” Burdick said. BAM (asphalt) work begins next week, Extensive culvert repairs throughout the county are ongoing and, “we have 18 miles of chipsealing set to begin in July.”
Burdick also told the board that he had hired Mark Jones as a new employee at the highway department, filling the vacancy left by Jim Wetzel, who retired after a very long time with the department.
Burdick said that he hoped to hire another new employee soon.
County Clerk Fee Schedule
County Clerk Nancy Heseman said that there was a rule that made county clerks’ offices adopt a predictable fee schedule.
Heseman said that in following the formulas laid out for them, her department would see fees actually going up for standard requests for records, but that they would not be allowed to charge for additional duplicates.
The new ordinance will need to be on display for two weeks before the county board can vote to approve it. Heseman said that she had spoken with assistant state’s attorney Crystal May who was working on the wording, after which it would be posted for the required amount of time and then hopefully, brought to the board for a vote at their July meeting.
Heseman also said that she was considering setting the fee schedule to not take effect until the December 1, so that the new prices start at the same time a new fiscal year for the county does.
The board approved a zoning variance, a special use permit to allow Sean Abernathy place a mobile home for use a primary residence at his property in Beaucoup.
Board member Willy Spenner spoke on behalf of the zoning committee, saying that the zoning board of appeals had unanimously voted to recommend the special use permit be approved, and that the zoning committee had also vote in favor of it.
“Is this a permanent thing?” board member Eric Brammeier asked.
Spenner said that while the long term plans for the mobile home had not been brought up, “he’s (Abernathy) done a terrific amount of work on this unit.”
“I’d imagine that he’s going to stay for a while,”county zoning administrator Rick Greten stated, confirming that Abernathy had put in a lot of work, not only on the mobile home, but on the property around it.
“He’s cleaning this area up,” said Greten, stating that you could see the difference in the state of the property since Abernathy moved in on aerial photos. “It’s one of the nice looking places in Beaucoup.”
“It’s a definite improvement to Beaucoup,” Spenner agreed.
Open Doors For Historical Places
Building Committee member Eric Brammeier said that Elaine Rucker of the Washington County Historical Society had asked him if the county would open up the Courthouse for “Open Doors for Historical Places”.
“It’s all over southern Illinois that weekend,” said Ostendorf, who was taking part in the event in Addieville.
The event is a tour of southern Illinois historical spaces and buildings and those participating would be required to have their buildings open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 4, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 5.
Brammeier said that he was checking to be sure no one on the council had a problem with him opening up the building, provided that he could find enough volunteers to staff it.
“You would probably need at least three,” volunteers, suggested board chair David Meyer, one for each floor.
“I’d agree with that, at a minimum,” said Brammeier. Brammeier said that he would know if he would have enough volunteers for the event within about a week and would let Rucker know whether the courthouse would be open.
County Treasurer Darlene Ostendorf spoke to the board, saying that the mobile home tax collection for the year had been complete and that the total tax collected for mobile homes was “about, $13,000, not very much.”
The treasurer’s department has recently undergone and Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) audit and Ostendorf said that department staff had presented the information the was requested for the audit but that they had not yet heard back on the results.
The board approved of a request for the use of the courthouse lawn by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce for the Fall Festival, a year;y event held on the last weekend of September.
The board passed the prevailing wage ordinance. This action is a yearly necessity and a formality.
In personnel, the board made two reappointments to local boards. Ralph Habbe, Jr., was reappointed to the Masonic Cemetery Board and Toby Brown was reappointed to the Board of Mental Health.
There are regular changes happening to energy prices, Finance Committee Chairman Gary Suedmeyer told the board.
The county’s energy contracts could be rebid soon, Sudmeyer said, and in terms of locking in prices, now might be the time to do it.
“I just wanted to bring it to everyone’s attention,” said Suedmeyer. “It is lucrative.”
The recycling truck, a joint project between the county, which owns the truck, and the city of Nashville, which staffs it, is back in service.
“It’s had an expensive repair,” Brammeier said, “new engine. But it’s back.