LUDLOW — It happens in every town. Motorists speed down village streets, and residents get upset, asking where the police are.
But police can’t be everywhere, especially when the town doesn’t have a full-time police force.
Some residents expressed their frustration with the problem and other issues at the July Ludlow Village Board meeting. Mayor Steve Thomas said he hopes the board’s updating of the village code will help with some of the issues. He asked for patience.
Resident Michelle Hobbs said she is concerned about cars speeding on the main streets of town, endangering the lives of children. She also asked about the village ordinance on burning trash and yard waste and excessive noise. The village code book addresses excessive noise after 10 p.m.
Residents Jim and Karla Bina suggested adding police hours on weekends. They also asked about what police are doing to enforce abandoned and inoperable vehicles.
Thomas said the village’s hands are tied many times under the current ordinance book, which the board is going through. (A special meeting was held prior to the village board meeting on proposed code book changes.)
“I get the frustration,” Thomas said, adding that trustees are going through the ordinances “to restructure everything.”
“There’s a lot of things we had that are no longer valid, like cannabis,” Thomas said. “The state law has changed.”
He said Illinois Codification Services has supplied the village with a rough draft of areas trustees might consider altering, “based on what we had, who we are and ... surrounding neighbors they have worked with from Piper City clear down to the Douglas County area.”
He said most people don’t realize that a vehicle on a resident’s property that doesn’t run is not an abandoned vehicle. It’s a derelict vehicle. There are different regulations for each.
One area the village wants to address, Thomas said, is the number of vehicles parked at a property. Ludlow is seeing more of that of late as a number of properties have sold and there are numerous people living at some locations.
“We’ve had 10 homes occupied in the last six months, but that doesn’t mean 10 families,” Thomas said.
Another is defining where vehicles can legally be parked. Ludlow wants to mirror Rantoul in that regard, Thomas said, and ban vehicles parking on grass.
The village also wants to define which properties are considered habitable — “so we can act accordingly to move the red tape along as far as dealing with it instead of letting it sit and sit and sit.”
The ordinances were last updated in 1989. Thomas said the new code book must be finished and returned to Illinois Codification Services by Sept. 2. Trustees will meet every Tuesday until then to review the updated codes to meet the deadline.
Thomas said police hours are limited. Police Chief Joe Navarro works 32 hours a week, while the town’s part-time officer works eight to 10 hours a week — usually on a Friday and Saturday night.
Thomas said the village has been leaving money in the budget each year to hire another part-time officer but so far hasn’t found anyone.
Navarro said he, too, is frustrated by the outdated village codes that prohibit him from taking certain actions against those in violation.
In other police business, Navarro said he had assisted the U.S. Marshals Office during the recent search for Ludlow resident Justin Hardin, who was wanted for attempted murder in Kentucky. Hardin initially escaped capture before turning himself in to authorities. Navarro said he also assisted on medical calls, including a drug overdose in which he had to administer naloxone. He also responded to one report of domestic abuse.
The board also:
— Learned three 20-yard roll-off containers were filled during the recent town cleanup day. Metal items were recycled, and the village received more than $300 from scrap as well as $200 in residents’ donations. He thanked the trustees who volunteered their time to help.
— Learned village employee Rick Chenoweth is identifying roads that need to be oiled and chipped.
— Voted to approve the final revenue bond ordinance for the new waterworks system. (Thomas said the project remains at a standstill while the village waits for Canadian National Railroad to review plans to allow boring under the tracks for the water system.)
— Heard from Thomas, who said he was proud of how residents helped each other to clean up the community after recent storms. The bad weather brought down limbs and trees.