Last night’s Village of South Jacksonville meeting started off with a small presentation and ended with fireworks between a board member and a member of the village’s executive branch. The village worked its way through the majority of its committee business into the nine o’clock hour. However, it was during the presentation of the previous audit that Treasurer Tiffanee Peters’ temper flared at trustee Jason Hill. Hill requested an official job description of Alice Hancock’s duties in Peters’ office. Hancock’s name was brought up by the auditor as being a crucial post because it allowed for proper delineation of duties in the financial department to protect against fraud and embezzlement of the city’s finances.
Trustee Dick Samples details the incident. “I think we ought to have a job description for every position here in the village. That way, as an employee, you know what’s expected of you. An employee will then know what they can and cannot do. The main thing is – what is expected of you as an employee. I don’t think Trustee Hill was out of line asking for a job description. He’s never been furnished one. If they do exist, they need to be supplied and presented. If you are an employee of the village, you need to have a job description as what’s expected of you and what you actually do. In the event here, if she were to retire or move or something, then we would have no idea what she does on paper.”
Hancock is a contractual employee under Peters that the board could provide no exact job description for in the course of the meeting. Trustee Hill said during the meeting that he has repeatedly asked Peters to furnish one. Hill even went so far to ask Mayor Harry Jennings to have Hancock come before the board to describe her duties. Treasurer Peters took issue with the question and left the meeting in anger.
In other business at the early part of the meeting, the village heard a presentation from the promoter of the National Boat Racing Association boat races, Tom Winner. Winner had previously not presented paperwork to the board because he wanted to meet with the board personally to discuss funding. Winner explained that he either needed more money to supply ambulance service over the three-day weekend event in September or asked the village to furnish an ambulance instead. The Village has given the event $1500 in years past from the Tourism Fund. Winner said the ambulance service would cost an additional $1600 to furnish unless the board wanted to approve sending the village’s ambulance and EMTs for a few of the days. The village voted to table the issue until the next meeting to work out details with LifeStar and the village fire department.
Public Works Superintendent John Green announced the upcoming retirement of public works laborer Danny Wynn. Wynn has been with the department for 12 years and is expected to retire on September 2nd. Currently, the board is mulling an internal candidate for interview and approval to fill Wynn’s vacancy by the month of August.
Green also presented the board with a bid for landscaping the perimeter of Godfrey Park with mulch. The bid came in well below what the board had seen for labor and material in the past. The board also continued to discuss and follow up on a commemorative rock for the Park, as the sign at the park has begun to deteriorate.
Fire Chief Richard Evans, Jr. said that he had 2 interviews from within the village for part-time firefighters upcoming. Police Chief Tim Mann presented the board with draft ordinances to regulate parking of RVs, Campers, and Trailers in the village’s limits. Mann said that numerous complaints have come into the village police department about nuisances of noise as well as visual and safety obstructions on city streets. Mann said the biggest concern is setbacks from homes. Mann also recommended as the city go through the codification process that they simplify fine structures. For capital purchases in the police department, he requested two new squad cars to the cost of $34,385 each. He also asked that one be an odd color, unmarked vehicle for police detectives and undercover officers. He said the purchases would bring all vehicles up to date on the 3 year cycle of trade-ins that other new vehicles have been on.
John Green updated the board on the progress of the water plant. Currently, the plant needs to replace its entire computerized pump system as the automatic drive was destroyed from July 3rd’s lightning strike. Green said once a Mt. Vernon, Illinois based company came to check on and evaluate and provide an estimate on fixing the system, the village will continue to have to purchase water from the City of Jacksonville. He informed the village that the first bill from the city was a little over $59,000 for the month. Currently, he said, the insurance company was covering the extra costs so the village would not have to pass on the costs to consumers.
Trustee Samples said that the majority of the villages ordinances have been gone through but there was more that still needed to be done. He details what the August 13-14th codification meeting will do. “We started this codification deal about 2 years ago. We got side-tracked almost a year with other things going on. Now, we’re getting back to it. We need to absolutely get it done as quick as possible. It’s basically going back and cleaning up old ordinances that go back fifty, sixty, seventy years in some cases and they have nothing to do with anything because they’re just out-dated. There has been other ordinances and resolutions passed to overcome some of these older ordinances. It just needs to be cleaned up.”
The village then returned to the water department at the behest of Treasurer Peters. She asked the trustees revisit raising water rates due to the water study from last year. The engineers requested the village raise water rates. The village’s water rates haven’t been raised since 2005. A number of solutions were talked about but the issue was tabled for further discussion. John Green says it will be a grim time for the board, as he expects multiple shut-offs and complaints to occur when it is passed.
The next village board meeting will occur on August 6th at village hall.