by Chris Russell
Certificates of appreciation were awarded to the Beecher Fire Department and the Beecher Fire Protection District for its substantial support of the 2017 Heroes and Helpers Program on December 16th. They, along with village staff and volunteers, took 28 children to Target to shop for Christmas and provided them with Dinner.
Also, recognized for years of service at the board meeting were:
• Officer Jeff Young – awarded 25 years of service pin
• Officer Jamie Hawkins – awarded ten years of service pin
• Officer Jamie Hawkins – awarded purple heart for 2014 injury in the line of duty.
On February 22, 2014, Officer Hawkins was dispatched to an area for a subject breaking into vehicles. Hawkins located the subject and initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle. While taking the subject into custody, a struggle took place, during which Hawkins was repeatedly slammed into the suspect’s vehicle. Officers finally gained control of the situation, and after the use of less than lethal tools, Hawkins suffered injuries that required surgery and extensive physical rehabilitation over a three year period. Hawkins’ determination to finish the fight, control the offender, and protect the public, while injured, is indicative of the highest goals of the Beecher Police Department.
Officer Hawkins showed sincere dedication to the public welfare and her unselfish act resulted in tangible and identifiable public good.
Also, at the Board Meeting, Officers Sipple and Dacorte were promoted from Patrol to Corporal. Officers were pinned and read a new oath of office.
Trustees will review the Strategic Plan at the February 12th meeting in detail to make any changes and will vote on the plan at the February 26th Village Board meeting.
Department heads have been asked to have their budgets turned in to the Administrator by February 15th.
The Finance Committee is scheduled to meet at 7 am on Saturday, March 10th, to review the entire budget and bring the budget into balance.
The hearing for the budget is scheduled for a vote on April 23rd. The Budget will go into effect on May 1st.
One of the Winter projects was to analyze and organize information on each parcel the Village owns.
They own 35 parcels in town, which have to be annually reviewed for tax-exempt status. The creation of this new filing system will assist future staff and Board members.
Beecher received a $10,000 grant from CSX Railroad and a $5,000 grant from IPRF to install a generator at the police station.
The village has the generator and poured the concrete pad but lacked the $15,000 needed to install the transfer switch and the wiring for the system. The grant funding will allow the project to be completed this Spring.
The billed to pumped ratio for November and December is close to 72%, which is better than last year’s ratio of 68% for the same period.
In addition, a long-time water leak surfaced on Linden Drive, requiring the use of a contractor, since the leak had to be chased for 40 feet.
Two residents on the street reported that their sumps have stopped running since this leak was clamped. The residents say that is the first time they have stopped in over ten years.
The Village has been advised by IDOT that they plan to make improvements to the intersection of Pasadena and Dixie Highway this Summer or Fall. Apparently, this intersection does not meet ADA standards. Therefore, ramps have to be installed and curb corners widened. This is a small project, and no serious traffic interruptions are anticipated.
The original estimate for the proposed water main replacement project on Dunbar from Hodges to Indiana was $475,000 for construction and $74,100 for design and management, which appears to be high given that they completed the Maxwell Street water main job for $98,000 in construction and $23,000 in engineering in 2013.
The committee plans to work with the engineer find a reasonable estimation of cost since it appears that there are fewer conflicts with other utilities and much less restoration required on this segment of the job than any other job in the past.
The Village will have $504,000 available on May 1st in the water main fund and $654,000 available by the end of the next fiscal year in cash for water main replacement after repayment of debt service.
Village President Szymanski has talked informally with the taxing bodies regarding the TIF District. Also, Szymanski met with one of the largest property owners in the proposed district outside the Village limits to discuss annexation before any TIF designation on the property and was warmly received.
The Village received a proposal from Teska for $18,000 to $20,000 to get the TIF District approved by the State and up and running with a TIF Board, which will be in the proposed budget for next fiscal year.
A TIF educational presentation is scheduled with the intergovernmental group meeting on January 29th at the Township Center.
The valve turning program in 2017 was completed in December.
Last year, there was $2 million in new construction generating $34,500 in fees. There were 138 permits were issued including six new homes in 2017
An 18-acre solar farm is planned a mile east of the Village limits on Indiana Avenue.
The Village has received the draft request for proposals for the $130,000 CMAP grant project and will be let to the consultants. The actual planning will happen this Summer.
The 2017 Animal Control Program cost the Village $1,810, which is less than the $9,630 they collect in animal licenses.