FISHER — The Fisher Village Board wants the 782 Fisher Ameren customers who recently received an insert in their Ameren bill statements indicating that the village would increase its municipal utility tax rate to know that was incorrect.
The notice was sent due to a programming error, and Fisher has not increased its municipal utility tax rate.
The error has now been corrected, and affected customers will receive a letter from
Ameren informing them of the error. Ameren has apologized, and village officials are prepared to explain the situation in the event of being contacted by any residents.
Aggregation contract approved
In a related matter, the board approved a contract with Constellation Energy for electric aggregation. The current one-year agreement with the company is set to expire in February, and residents will pay Constellation at a rate of 4.423 cents per kilowatt hour. This rate is less than the current Ameren rate of 4.715 per kilowatt hour and the Constellation rate of 4.943 per kilowatt hour under the expiring agreement.
As with any aggregation agreement, all customers will be provided with the ability to opt out of the program without incurring a penalty. The proposed contract term would be one year, expiring in February 2021.
Sales contract approved
The board approved a sales contract for 106 W. Park St. with David Irvin, who owns the adjacent parcel at 108 W. Park St. Irvin will pay $3,600, closing costs and will reimburse the village $550 for the village’s legal expenses incurred in connection with the sale.
After the sale, Irvin will be responsible for combining his parcels prior to obtaining a permit for any construction on the vacated land. The Fisher zoning ordinance does not permit the construction of an accessory structure such as a garage or shed on a parcel within the residential zoning district in the absence of a primary residential structure.
The village paid for the demolition of the previous dilapidated structure and restoration of the site.
Parking nuisances discussed
The board revisited proposed revisions to the nuisance ordinance, specifically those pertaining to parking nuisances. Those include that each improved residential lot will be provided with one “also exempt parking area” not to exceed 10 foot by 20 foot that will permit parking on an unimproved surface contiguous to the driveway, provided that this area will be required to be maintained with grass or landscaping materials to prevent muddy and rutted areas in the yard.
Vehicles will be permitted to temporarily park on unimproved surfaces during family or social gatherings for a period not to exceed 24 hours. Visitors will be permitted to park on unimproved surfaces for up to seven days in connection with vacations or family occasions. Vehicles will be permitted to be parked on unimproved surfaces in rear yards that abut a street if screened from public view by permanent fencing.
Recreational vehicles will be permitted to park in rear yards or interior side yards without being required to be parked on an improved parking surface. Recreational vehicles will be permitted to park in a front yard or exterior side yard — corner lots only — on a driveway or improved parking surface. The prohibition against using recreational vehicles as dwelling units is maintained, but a temporary exception is provided for visiting guests for up to two weeks.
A mechanism is provided to permit for the village board to grant variances to any requirements of the parking section in circumstances where a property owner can demonstrate unique features (size, shape, topography, etc) of his/her property that would make strict enforcement of the ordinance present an undue hardship. The board is expected to vote on the revised ordinance next month.
Resident Jason Wascher spoke to the board because he wanted to know what the parking requirements would be. He noted that his neighbors have three vehicles which they park right next to their back porch, leaving ruts all over their yard.
The board approved an agreement with Donohue & Associates to provide engineering services for the village’s motor fuel tax program and street maintenance projects. Tom Overmyer previously handled that work, but he has sold his company and plans to retire soon. Trustee Kevin Henderson said the village has enjoyed a good working relationship with Donohue on previous water and wastewater projects.
The firm has added local engineers with backgrounds in managing transportation programs. The base fee for preliminary engineering and inspection is $1,250 plus a negotiated rate based upon a percentage of the total project costs 90 percent of the village’s MFT funds go toward oiling and chipping village streets.
A call for recycling
The board heard from resident Kelly McKinley, who asked it to consider implementing a recycling program in town.
“We need to get serious and we need to teach our kids and we need a place, “ McKinley said.
She said she has learned that Area Disposal, the village’s garbage contractor, runs a curbside recycling program in Farmer City, where McKinley has family. She said she’d be happy with curbside or a central drop-off place.
Trustees said Fisher had a drop-off site 10-15 years ago but that it was abused by people who would just drop off garbage. Police Chief Steve Bein outlined Gibson City’s program, where anyone can pay a subscription for twice a month drop off that is run by volunteers. He still participates. Trustees indicated interest in pursuing the matter.
Several Cub Scouts and their leaders attended the meeting, and two of the boys asked questions of the board about lighting at Heritage Pond and the chances of getting another soccer field in town.