Thomasboro police chief to retire in November

By CAMRON OWENS
Rantoul Press correspondent


THOMASBORO — The village of Thomasboro will be looking for a new police chief.

Mayor Tyler Evans read a letter at last week’s monthly meeting from Chief of Police Keith Willis, officially announcing his retirement Nov. 6. Willis has held the position for 12 years.

Willis said he is retiring to spend more time with his family.

“It has been an honor to serve the Thomasboro community, and I will cherish the opportunities and memories that have been afforded to me,” Willis said in his letter.

“Everybody has their own opinions of Keith,” Evans said. “You’ve always been there for me and my family. I sincerely appreciate everything you have done.”

Multiple board members gave Willis their thanks.

Pay increase
The board also voted to give part-time employees a 2 percent pay increase.

Also, Public Works Superintendent Tyler Martin’s pay was increased from $38,060 to $42,000 a year.

The pay increase will take effect in the next pay period.

The board approved a building permit for a new stick-built home at 606 W. Morris St. The Keys family is having the house built by TCT Construction and plans to have it completed before the fall.

“Hopefully that starts a trend. That would be awesome,” Evans said.

The board addressed its plans to implement a looping water system infrastructure at the North Lincoln Street alley. The loop would be 300 feet long and have a 6-inch main under the road, parallel to the alley. The pipe is currently sticking up through the alley.

The project would put the water system completely underground. The board determined more research was still to be done but planned on filing a permit with the Environmental Protection Agency. The permit was estimated to cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

Water spending to be monitored
The board discussed plans to monitor the village’s water spending and develop a preventive maintenance plan. The goal is to come up with a replacement plan for fire hydrants and valves. This would help the village better estimate water costs.  

The Insurance Service Office, which does an audit every five years, had previously deducted points from the village’s score due to poor maintenance records.  The Insurance Service Office score is what most insurance carriers base their rates on.

Trustee Kyle Henegar recommended creating an electronic database that would allow officials to check water usage with dates. The board decided to have hydrants inspected before moving any further with the project.

A location for the new crosswalk on Central Street was also determined and approved. After discussion, the board decided to put the crosswalk on Phillips Street.

“Phillips is a more direct route,” trustee Dustin Rhodes said.

The board had not yet determined a price, which will be paid for by the Thomasboro Improvement Association. Board members were presented with different designs for crosswalk lights but ultimately decided on programmable lights with a solar charged battery.

The board also approved the purchase of new backboards, rims and nets for the basketball hoops at the park at a cost not to exceed $3,400.

Rhodes said he was able to save the village $3,000 by building the poles himself using donated steel pipes. The board also approved the pipes to be powder-coated red for $150.

“Overall this would’ve been a $5,000-$6,000 project,” Rhodes said. “And we cut it almost in half.”

The board unanimously approved an ordinance that would make carports a temporary structure. The ordinance only applies to temporary carports and will require residents to obtain a permit. Board members hoped it would reduce tarps flying in the wind.

“It’s something to protect not only their own home value, but the home values around them,” Evans said.

The board determined to give residents with carports a 30-day grace period before the ordinance would be enforced.

The boarded approved to award the bid for the Main Street resurfacing project to Open Road Paving Co. based on its low bid of $94,291. Cross Construction bid $110, 205.

The board set the deadline at the end of July, to ensure the resurfacing is completed long before the Thomasboro Community Celebration Sept. 9.

The board had previously set a budget of $105,000 for the project.

Nuisance complaint
Evans read an anonymous letter from a Thomasboro resident filing a nuisance complaint against a resident on Shelly Drive. According to the letter, the person is operating a body mechanic shop out of his garage.

The resident complained of loud noise coming from the property day and night. The letter went on to also claim the safety of children and pedestrians was at risk due to the owner test-driving cars.

“It is not a safe environment. What happened to our peaceful neighborhood?” the letter read.

The board reviewed an ordinance that which addresses home occupation within the village.

Trustee Anna Martin pointed out the mechanic shop is in violation of the part of the ordinance that states home businesses are not allowed to use equipment that is “objectionable to the neighborhood or creates a nuisance.” Rather than amend the ordinance, Evans said the village would “enforce the ordinances we already have.”

Businesses will now be able to advertise in the Thomasboro community newsletter. The board decided to charge a $50 fee for businesses to advertise in the newsletter.

This would help offset the cost to print and mail the newsletters.

The last newsletter had eight pages with a printing cost of $197 to print with a postage cost of $90.27. The board hopes that the addition of ads will also allow the village to publish newsletters more often — quarterly rather than twice a year.

The board approved the appointment of village attorney Attorney Jason Bartell, who is from Thomasboro and whose grandparents live in Thomasboro, will replace David Thies.

Those in the audience met the appointment with enthusiasm.

Complains of foul language
Resident Jean Johnson addressed the issue of children swearing at the park across the street from her home.  

“The language is filthy,” Johnson said. “I would be very, very embarrassed to have company.”

Johnson, who has lived in the location for 48 years, asked that action be taken against the language. “I think the time to stop it would be at the beginning of summer because that’s when the park is used the most,” Johnson said.

The board agreed to have Rhodes and the park committee look into putting up a sign to discourage foul language.

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