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LODA — The Loda Village Board directed its attorney last week to send letters to the owners of several dilapidated properties in town, seeking immediate cleanup.
“Some of the property has looked bad for quite a while,” Rhonda Breeden told fellow trustees at the board’s April 12 meeting. “Others clean (their properties) up and then let it go again. There are probably 10 properties off the top of my head that I can think of that something needs to be done to make the property look better.
“Some of the properties are simply an eyesore; others are dangerous,” added Breeden. “There is one property that the porch looks like it is about to fall in. If a child wondered into that building and fell into the basement, they would surely be injured and maybe even killed.”
Properties on Walnut, North Elm and Jefferson streets were mentioned as needing addressed. Others were mentioned by their owners’ names only. Some of the properties are owned by ill or elderly people, while others are in foreclosure. One property owner has unauthorized vehicles sitting on village property.
During the public-comment portion of the meeting, a person brought up a property on Poplar Street, and the condition of the former Loda Grade School was brought up, as well. It was stated that some doors were missing in the school’s rear. A dead tree was also brought up that needs to be destroyed.
Village Attorney Dale Strough of Watseka was asked to write letters to property owners, seeking cleanup of their land. In some cases, it will be the second or third letters sent. The village clerk, Sandra Zalaker, has also written and sent out some letters.
In other business at the meeting:
➜ Trustee Roy Hilgendorf made a small speech about the village park. He told of what he had done to improve the park over the years, and he also thanked people who had helped him. He also brought up some things, like a new pavilion, that should have been done. Hilgendorf said he would make sure the park is in the best shape possible before he leaves office at the end of this month. He also requested that he be allowed to keep the key to the park’s bathroom for when the riders with Bicycle Across America return to the park this summer. The board gave him an ovation, as did the other people attending the meeting. “Our park is one of the best things about this town,” Hilgendorf said. “We get visitors from other towns that compliment our park. I am especially proud of our veterans display. I will be around; I will just not be on the board anymore. I hope to see the park improve even more.”
➜ The board learned that the results of the April 4 election in Loda would be certified by the Iroquois County Clerk’s Office later this month. Regina Ptecek was elected as the village clerk, while Joyce Gharst was elected to the board to take Hilgendorf’s seat. Those are the only changes coming to Loda government, as three other board members were re-elected. Two were elected to four-year terms, while one was elected to a two-year term. Village Board President Carol Arseneau was also re-elected.
➜ Several cars have been egged or vandalized recently, the board learned. Resident Don Hutchison suggested that cameras be put in place in strategic places throughout town. Trustee Pat Allen noted that people were free to place surveillance equipment on their own property, and that would help cut some of the vandalism. Trustee Cathy Tittle said surveillance equipment was available for reasonable rates.
➜ The village’s townwide cleanup day was set for May 6, from 8 a.m. to noon. Items that will be accepted for disposal will be posted on the door to the Loda Village/Township Hall one week before the cleanup.
➜ Strough suggested the board start preparing the village’s annual appropriation ordinance for the upcoming fiscal year. Arseneau and Myles Reck, the village treasurer, were asked to start getting the ordinance drafted in preparation for approval.
➜ The board discussed the idea of showing children’s movies at the village park. While trustees want to show movies in June and August, it was determined that there would be too much going on at the park during July to show a movie that month. The price for a permit to hold such events would need to be investigated. The board would also like to check to make sure groups could sell concessions as a fundraiser. The board decided to start by showing one movie in June and gauge the public’s response. A formal vote on the matter will be taken next month.
➜ The board agreed to cut an $800 water bill in half. The bill was for water service to a trailer on Locust Street. The woman living there is home-bound.
➜ Resident John Zalaker questioned why the board removed all fees on a resident’s water bill except for the minimum charge of $30 recently. The former trustee said he did not remember that being done at any other time.
He was told that it had been done in the past, and Tittle told Zalaker that her water bill had been totally forgiven in the past.
➜ The board approved a building permit for a storage shed, as requested by Homestar Trust. The storage shed will be 36 feet by 81 feet and will be deemed “Building 13.”
➜ The board approved paying a $400 bill related to the repair of the town’s mower.
➜ The board approved the minutes of a March 20 special meeting, during which Ivan Garcia’s building permit was approved.
➜ Tittle asked who sets the property assessments in the village. She was told that it Jim Clarage.
➜ Breeden complained about some roosters in town. The owner of the roosters, John Zalaker, said they would be sold.