Fisher mayor outlines water testing for methane

FISHER — Mayor Mike Bayler told his fellow trustees that he recently met State Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, along with other area mayors whose towns’ water supply comes from the Mahomet Aquifer.

They met because trace amounts of methane have been found in private wells north of Mahomet near where Peoples Gas has underground storage.

The mayors discussed contracting for private testing, perhaps through the Prairie Research Institute instead of relying on tests done by Peoples Gas contractors. That would require each town paying a portion of the cost. Bayler said he noted that Fisher is a small town with a small budget.

Last month Bayler announced that two tests showed no evidence of natural gas or its indicators in Fisher’s water supply.

At the Fisher Village Board’s monthly meeting last week, it was announced the board will meet in special session at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, to act on entering into a new electric contract with Dynegy that will go into effect in February. The current rate is 5.9 cent per kilowatt hour. The rate for a one-year contract would be 5.1 cents per kilowatt hour, and for a two year contract would be 5.3.

Following that meeting the finance committee will meet to discuss how to invest the $6.8 million the village will be paid by Illinois American Water for its water and sewer systems. That sale will be final in March.

Trustee and finance committee Chair Deb Estes told the board that investment parameters are set by state law, but investing in the lawful bonds could yield several percent annually, as much as $100,000, and the money would be liquid.

The committee will also discuss the best way to utilize cash balances in the water/wastewater funds post-sale and short- and long-term capital improvement planning.

Eventually, the board must have in place a written investment plan.

Also the board discussed the possible acquisition of a vacant property downtown where it could build a maintenance building. The site is an old Brownfield site and would require annual testing at least for the next several years. Administer Jeremy Reale told the board that state grants exist that would cover such testing.

A Brownfield site is a tract where the expansion, redevelopment or reuse might be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.

In other business, the board:

— Approved its annual tax levy ordinance of $60,890, which is 1 percent above last year’s.

— Agreed to vacate public right-of-way, Liberty Street, and deed 36 feet to each of the four adjacent property owners. Reale said the street “existed on paper only.” 

The village will retain utility easement rights.

—Authorized the purchase of ice control salt from Gunther Salt Co. up to $4,000. Public works head Ron Ragle said he doesn’t need the salt right now.

—Approved the installation of catch basins and approximately 1,000 feet of 12-inch drainage tile on the village’s southeast side. The materials will cost $14,000, and the work will be done by village employees.

—Learned the Christmas parade is set for 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2.


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