Gardner Village Board – March 13, 2023

By Don Phillips

Gardner village board met is regular session Monday evening. Commissioner Dick Hileman served as Mayor protem in the absence of Mayor Mike Serena.

The meeting opened with the approval of the minutes of the February 27 meeting, payment of the bills, and approval of the Treasure’s report.

Resident Dan Jerbi addressed the board regarding the condition of IL Route 129, acknowledging the village’s lack of control over the state highway, asking if there is anything the Village can do. Mayor protem Hileman noted commissioner Erik Smith contacted the state and the state completed very limited patching and asked if the village would like control of the highway.

The state last paved the road when the Grade School extended the driveway to the road. Jerbi next asked about the cleaning of the drainage ditch surrounding the village, not only regarding brush but also garbage. Hileman noted the village is responsible for the portion from Campus Road to the railroad tracks; the remainder is the responsibility of the state.

The village approached the state about three years ago and roughly 60% of the ditch where property owners gave access were cleared; areas where property owners would not give access were not cleaned.

Hileman spoke to State Senator Tom Bennett who provided contact information for the village. Hileman agreed the ditch needs to be cleaned but stopped based on cost. Jerbi commented when the ditch was installed and cleaned, he does not have water in his yard, when the ditch is in it’s current state, as it has been the last three years, he gets standing water. Hileman commented, ultimately, the state needs to clean the ditch and the village has had little success.

Jerbi’s final question was regarding the village contract with Krause Cable. Hileman responded the village does not currently have a contract and any company can offer service.

Village Building Inspector Dave Wright spoke in response to questions the village has regarding the former Royal Blue building on Depot Street. The post under one portion of the building are set on concrete, others appear to still be original and in need of replacement. The store portion of the building has the water and power disconnected, the apartment section still has utilities. He reported there appears to be a leak in the front area of the roof. He reported there are beams supporting the parapet wall. He saw drawings of the building but they did not indicate needed repairs. Hileman was of the understanding the village requested an engineering study, rather than the architecture drawings provided. Hileman noted the village has been chasing the building for over four years and should have the attorney send a letter to the owner with a deadline for an engineering study and any identified repairs. Ultimately, the building needs to be brought to code before any other improvements can be made.

The board discussed and approved the TIF Benefits for MFF Group, LLC related to the building constructed along Route 129 northeast of the village. The TIF benefits amount is rebates of 50% on Real Estate tax increase as a result of the improvement, and 50% on sales tax. Hileman reported he advised the building owner the village cannot speak for the school or fire protection district. The business will work on agricultural and other equipment.

Responding to a question from Commissioner Rob Wolf, Hileman reported the last two CD’s rolled over for $200,000 at 4.1%. Funds are spread across several banks.

Village Engineer Casey McCollom reported the stakeholders meeting was held with the railroad and other stakeholders on February 28. The next step is the 28-day notice period, followed by a 21-day establishment period. Signage will be required to be installed and street marking needs to be repainted. Signs must be in place before the notice of establishment is sent out, although the signs must be bagged.
Hileman commented the streetlight issue on south Jackson Street is ongoing. Currently there is a concern that the light poles may be too far apart. Hileman would like to get a commitment from ComEd for a timeline to complete the project.