A petition drive by representatives of Curo Gaming and Jerry Palmer of the Omaha One Stop netted 125 signatures of residents of Omaha, it was determined at Monday’s monthly meeting. The petition asked residents if they were in favor of creating an ordinance allowing alcohol and gaming in the village. In the past, Omaha has twice voted down the sale of alcohol by ballot referendum. Palmer says he will be unable to keep the One Stop open unless he can have gaming in the store and for that, he needs a “pour” license for alcohol. Frank Rojas of Curo Gaming presented the petition to the board. Rojas is urging the trustees to allow the sale of alcohol in the village.
All six trustees were in attendance Monday night, as the minutes were approved and the bills were approved for payment by a show of hands. President Bob Lambert, Treasurer Jane Schultz, Clerk Patti Chittenden, a fire department representative and several visitors were also in attendance when the meeting convened at 6:57 p.m. A representative of Moran Economic Development was in attendance to give a later presentation to the group.
Jane reported that the Fire Department received a donation and that memberships for Life Flight services were due and were likely to increase next year.
In the Parks and Recreation report, Schultz announced a meeting for August 28 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is to make plans for the annual Halloween event at the reservoir. All are welcome to attend and assist with the planning.
Fire Chief Noel arrived and gave his report, stating that the brush truck is in service and there were no fire calls for the month. He had recently polled area fire departments for their policies on mutual aid agreements, stating that most do not bill for those.
“We have no written policy that we don’t bill, it’s just that we never have billed for those calls,” he said.
President Lambert stated he would like to put vinyl lettering on the new truck, dedicating it to Albert Pearce, a former President and Fire Chief of the village.
Jake Zambaldi of Moran Economic Development, gave an hour-long presentation on how to plan and use TIF monies, as the board considers creating a plan for the their tax increment financing district. TIFs are mainly used to boost the economic development of municipalities by bringing in new businesses and helping to improve existing ones, thereby boosting the tax base.
The need to provide maintenance to the water tower was again on the agenda. The village has examined two entities that offer long term maintenance plans. No decision was made as the financial commitments are being carefully considered. A grant may be necessary to continue, but TIF funds can also be used for the project.
President Lambert had some information on the state’s burning laws available for the trustees. He reiterated it is against state law to burn anything but leaves in town and that villagers are violating the law when they burn other trash. There was more discussion about enforcement. At the last meeting, some trustees had expressed their desire to call fire department personnel to extinguish illegal fires, but Chief Noel stated Monday night that it was not his job to enforce ordinances or state law. He said the firefighters are volunteers and this request would unduly burden them. The board is looking at ways to enforce the law.
The tree on the Sandy Jones property has been removed.
It was determined that the county assessor needs to reassess the property with the grain bins in order to change the tax status of the property. President Lambert stated that there is someone interested in purchasing the the bins who would remove them and asked the board to set a price. The trustees agreed on a price of $500 per bin, along with proof of insurance.
In trustee concerns, there is a “dude” riding a small motorcycle at night without lights on in the village. Trustee Doyle asked how long do soliciting internet signs have to remain in people’s yards. It was suggested that ceiling fans be put in the meeting room. The part time village worker is going back school and the village would like to keep him on a couple of hours a day to continue outdoor maintenance.
The meeting adjourned at 8:49 p.m.
Update: Upon further investigation, the village of Omaha's last referendum to allow the sales of alcohol was rejected in 2006. There was reportedly a prior rejection, but the Board of Elections website only has the information from 1996 forward and lists that referendum in the general election that year. See more information at www.elections.il.gov.
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