Thomasboro hires second part-time officer

THOMASBORO — The Thomasboro Village Board voted to expand its police force by a second part-time officer at the March 4 regular board meeting.

On a 5-1 vote, trustees approved the hiring of Janeen Henderson, who is currently employed by the Metamora Police Department, at a rate of $17 per hour for up to 30 hours a week.

“She’s got a great resume,” said trustee Ronda Scott, who is chairman of the police and safety committee.

Trustee Tony Grilo opposed the motion. Afterward he said by e-mail that he doesn’t see a need for “a large police presence” in the community.

“It seems a lot of our issues are ordinance-related (property and other nuisance violations) and could be handled differently. Adding to our police force feels reactive to our problems instead of proactive,” he said.

Interim Police Chief Mike Martinez said because Henderson would be commuting from Washington, Ill., he planned to schedule her for three 10-hour shifts. That would broader coverage throughout the day.

Electronics recycling participation
In other action, trustees approved 6-0 participation in the Residential Electronics Recycling Events. The events are held twice a year at a cost of $81 each for the village.

Management of the water treatment plant came up again for discussion. Mayor Tyler Evans said he had talked with Illinois American Water representative Dave Farrar but “we’re not getting a whole lot of headway.”

Outsourcing management to Illinois American Water would be a temporary means of filling the public works supervisor vacancy.

“If we made a motion to enter into a contractual agreement with them, then they would spend the dollars to put formal numbers together,” Evans said.

Trustee Dustin Rhodes wanted to know if applicants for the public works position had been contacted.

“If they have the qualifications we have listed in the ad, we should at least reach out to them. I don’t see why we’re not at least talking to them,” Rhodes said.

Grilo was clear he wants to hire a full-time public works employee.

“I am afraid if we use American Water . . . at the end of two years we’re going to be on the same discussion,” he said.

Evans noted that outsourcing to Illinois American Water for up to two years would provide the board with data about how much time is required to manage the water treatment plant, but agreed applications for the job should be checked out.

“I say we continue down that route right now,” he said.

Replacement of handheld meter-reading equipment, a $17,000 investment, was tabled. Grilo said the existing readers will continue to work, but the vendor will stop supporting software and hardware after a systems update some time next year.

Several items were introduced that will likely be followed up at the April board meeting: installation of gutters on the water treatment plant, police garage and shop; repair to a pickup truck; adding village decals to the “old” squad car so it can be used for general village and police purposes; renewal of the contract with trash hauler Republic Services; and the 2019 budget.

Grilo recommended renewing the trash contract rather than seeking additional bids.

“(The existing contract) was a pretty big change for everybody. I don’t want to go through that again,” he said.

The police report listed two warnings for moving violations and one formal report. Martinez said there were 43 calls to METCAD, of which 28 were handled by Champaign County sheriff’s deputies.

Martinez said he had followed up on nuisance-ordinance violations. A certified letter was sent to one resident. Another violation involved a couch on the side of the road, which involved difficulties communicating with Republic about specific-item pickup.

Grilo said residents can call the village office to have those requests forwarded to the trash hauler. A third violation was trash piled in a driveway that Martinez said has been placed on a trailer for removal.

One building permit had been issued, Grilo said, for demolition of a garage.

Evans asked trustees to think about which committee assignments they would like to have.

The board met in closed session to discuss release of executive session minutes.

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