Fisher to seek proposals to buy its water, sewer systems

FISHER — The Fisher Village Board will meet in special session in two weeks to discuss and approve a formal request for proposal to be sent to at least  two private companies, American Water and Aqua America.

The board decided last month to begin a process that could result in one of the companies buying Fisher’s water and sewer systems.

To prepare the document, the board hired Donohue & Associates for $10,760 to determine legal descriptions of parcels of land the village would intend to sell with the two systems.  

“We must know exactly what we’re selling off,” attorney Marc Miller said. “I need specific legal descriptions, not Marc Miller guesstimates,” he said. “We’ll carve out what we want to sell from what we want to keep.”

The village will sell the water towers and the sewer lagoon but not necessarily all the land surrounding them. Public works head Ron Ragle and Village Administrator

Jeremy Reale prepared preliminary diagrams of what they thought should be sold. They showed those photos to the trustees.

The special meeting is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday,  Feb. 22.

The board will also discuss whether to explore the consolidation of its two water systems with the Sangamon Valley Public Water District.

The board also directed Miller to proceed with trying to secure a title for a vacant lot downtown next to The Wild Hare Bar and Grill. Marvin Clemmons, co-owner,  has said that he and his son Brandon are interested in the property and are willing to cover any costs to transfer the property.

But the problem is village officials cannot determine the lot’s owner, so there could be a long and fairly costly process to make it the village’s before it can sell the property. Miller said costs could mount to $6,000 with court and publishing costs for the village to take the property through eminent domain. That includes appraisals and a judge declaring a value, and that money would have to be put in escrow in case an owner ever appears.

But Miller said perhaps a different, cheaper and shorter approach could be found by trying to “quiet title” by providing anecdotal information and old county maps that in the past the lot was a village alley. Mayor Milt Kelly remembers it being used that way back in the 1960s. Once the village has title, it could vacate the property.

For years the village has used the property as a park. An antique fire truck is displayed there.

Kelly updated the board on goals the strategic planning group is working on. Website updating should be complete by Aug. 1, and village welcome signs and surrounding landscaping should be finished by Nov. 1.

The policy on improved business lighting will be to respond to requests as was done last month for Front Street. Kelly said the group wants to pursue sidewalks in the Heritage Estates area across from the schools. He said the school administration would like to see that project done as well.

And Kelly said action has been taken on the condition of the mobile home park. Recently Kelly, the state inspector, the owner and Police Chief Steve Bein met at the park. The inspector listed what needs to be done, and the owner listened.

What will be different though, is that Bein will return to the park and inspect the improvements. And he will keep returning until the owner does what the state requires.

The board also approved, $1,080 in a tax increment financing grant to Amvets Post 52. It will be used for roof repair.



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