The Dwight Village Board of Trustees met Monday, March 11, 2024 at 6:30 p.m.

Trustees present were Randy Irvin, Pete Meister, Marla Kinkade, Jenny Johnson, and Brian Berta. Absent was Justin Eggenberger.

Also in attendance were Village Administrator Crissy Livingston, Village Clerk Whitney Scott, and Village President Paul Johnson.

Bill payments of $73,134.02 on March 7th, 2024, were approved along with the Treasurer’s Report.

Also approved was a General Fund transfer of $289,969.93 to Capital Expenditures Fund for the purpose of capital outlay.

In Public Forum, Dwight Economic Alliance (DEA) Coordinator  Doug Patten reported the DEA would be organizing a Burger Cook Off Event in conjunction with Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival on May 4 and 5 to be held at Lifetime Auto on Watters Drive. Along with the burger contest, local restaurants would be invited to set up a booth and sell offerings from their respective establishments.

Patten also requested the Board consider their continued funding support of the DEA and suggested renewing the current amount of Village funding at $25,000. He reported that the DEA has 122 total members, 35 of which are new and 14 of those have upgraded their membership by at least one level.

The Board discussed the appropriate level of financial assistance the Village should be giving to the DEA and if there was an agreed-upon number of years for which it should continue. The DEA was organized in 2014 by combining the Dwight Chamber of Commerce, Impact Dwight, Dwight Tourism, Main Street Dwight, and Dwight Economic Development Council, but since that time, Dwight Economic Development function was taken back under the control of the Village. Some Trustees were of the belief that the DEA would eventually become financially self-sustaining and the Village would no longer need to be subsidizing it. Village trustee Randy Irvin, speaking on behalf of the DEA, pointed out that the DEA was not asking the Village to fund the group any longer but to simply become a member. He pointed out that the annual fireworks cost had grown to nearly $18,000, so the majority of the Village contribution would be going towards that.

No formal DEA budget numbers or financials were provided.

Mayor Paul Johnson also reported concerns from community and business members about the DEA promoting and having out-of-town businesses as members. Johnson said he had been asked by Dwight residents “Why are you spending taxpayer dollars, giving it to an organization that is supposed to be benefiting Dwight businesses but is actively recruiting members from other towns that are competition?” Patten replied that out of town members were only being promoted if the out-of-town business was not competing with any current Dwight business. Village Administrator Crissy Livingston added she was questioned about an out-of-town mechanic being promoted by the DEA and Patten responded that the business in question was sharing business with an existing Dwight repair shop, so was allowed as a member.

The Board will be making a decision at the March 25 meeting on the appropriate DEA contribution level.

In the President’s report, Mayor Johnson reported that some residents had expressed concern about Victory Lanes being sold to a firm that would be changing the the nature of business there. He pointed out that the transaction was between two businesses and the only Village involvement would be to make sure all ordinances were followed correctly.

Village Administrator Crissy Livingston informed the Board that insurance matters involving the Public Works building were not going well with the insurance carrier. She indicated that once the dust settles, it may be prudent to look at changing insurance carriers.

She added that of the $250,000 grant from Heritage Corridor, $25,000 would be used for improvements at the Ambler Texaco Station and $225,000 would be used for renovating the west parking lot at Renfrew Park, including the installations of two EV charging stations. The parking lot will be completely replaced with an asphalt surface and curbs and is expected to be completed by July.

Police Chief Nolan reported the two recruits at the Training Academy are doing well. In addition, Officer Jace Kennedy has tendered his resignation.

Public Works Director Cory Scoles reported the upgrades to the west restrooms at Renfrew Park would be complete before the Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt on March 30. He reminded everyone that leaf pickups would be restarted on April 1 and that scoreboards at Garrett Park would soon be replaced. The Village is also looking at renting a street sweeper. He stated the Village employees are working hard to maintain all services at levels equal to before the fire and asked for reside patience in these regards.

Two resolutions were passed:

  • Resolution 2024-06 entering into a memorandum of Understanding with Heritage Corridor and Convention and Visitors’ Bureau regarding the grant for promotion of Route 66 and tourism.
  • Resolution 2024-07 regarding the confirmation and agreement of provisions of the Keeley Trust.

In New Business the following items were approved:

  1. Dwight Youth Baseball & Softball Fence Extension Request
  2. DEA Road Closure Request for June 22, 2024, 3pm-8pm for Buzz the Gut
  3. VFW Post 2608 Bucket Brigade Request at 17 and 47 for May 3rd & 4th, 2024
  4. Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt Request at Renfrew Park
  5. Resignation of Officer Kennedy
  6. Cast iron piping replacement estimate.
  7. Hiring of Nick Ehrgott part-time attorney.

The Board then entered into Closed Session from which no action resulted.

The next Village Board Meeting will be March 25.