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Village Vision News

Project updates

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Attorneys study school district repayment issue

Jeffrey R. Jurgens, partner with the Springfield firm of Sorling, Northrup, Hanna, Cullen & Cochran Ltd. will meet in a special session with trustees on Wednesday, Nov. 30, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Village Hall.* The firm has been hired to help resolve an uncompleted repayment agreement that would have had the school district repaying the Village for sales tax revenue used to build the grade school that opened in Forsyth in 2009.

The meeting will be open to the public unless trustees choose otherwise based on the firm’s advice. In the meantime, the firm’s representatives will be meeting with past and present trustees whose terms coincided with the discussion and plans for the agreement between the school district and the Village. Also included in counsel’s research will be interviews with the Village’s previous two administrators before Village Administrator Heather Kimmons, to the extent each is willing.

*Please note: In the event the board room cannot comfortably accommodate all spectators who wish to attend, the meeting will be moved to the community center in the library building. Guests should gather at Village Hall by 6:30 p.m.; a final decision as to the location will be made and announced at that time.

County Highway 20 improvements project

The focus of the County Highway 20 improvements project is to secure Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) approval for potential federal funding. The $8 million reconstruction plan is designed to alleviate water flow across County Highway 20 during inordinate rain events.

The Village addressed IDOT concerns in September for connectivity issues and added multi-use walking/ biking paths to the master plan. Since then, IDOT has required a second public notification of the project with an opportunity for the public to comment. Kimmons said certified mailings were sent to adjacent landowners who recently came to Village Hall to meet with her and county representatives to discuss the design.

“Residents walked away feeling good about the project from what I could tell,” she said.

Kimmons cautioned it will be a challenge for the Village and the county to find the funding for the project once approval from IDOT does come. “It’s a huge project and will have to be done in segments,” she said. The first segment will affect the Phillips Circle residents. Kimmons predicted a portion of the project could begin in three to four years. Many variables rule the project’s startup, including land acquisition of private property, she said.

Contracts for Village Engineer, Attorney still being considered

Kimmons continues to consider the appropriate approach and timing for examining the Village’s contractual arrangements with its longtime professional service providers, Village Engineer Chuck Hunsinger and Village Attorney Darrell Woolums. Trustees had earlier requested that Kimmons develop requests for proposals to address both legal and engineering services for the Board’s consideration, along with a recommendation as to how the Board should proceed with soliciting proposals for these contracted services.

Kimmons states that she has prepared drafts of these requests for qualifications/proposals, but notes, “It’s a fairly sensitive matter, because we’re dealing with people, and people who have worked with the Village for a very long time. There really is no perfect time to conduct this type of exercise; some times, however, are less opportune than others.”

Kimmons cited the importance of completing budgeted capital projects, and initiating and completing certain legal projects, as considerations.

“No matter how you slice it, the political environment is also a consideration,” states Kimmons, “and unfortunately I have had more than my fair share of political issues to deal with recently.”

However, with the legal review of matters involving the Maroa-Forsyth School District nearing a conclusion, as well as the winding down and completion of seasonal construction projects, Kimmons said, “’s a good time for me to revisit the issue and take some recommendations to the Board.”

Forsyth’s long range planning process underway

A representative from Teska Associates Inc. will attend the Nov. 21 Village Board meeting to explain the process in producing a comprehensive long-range plan and review of all Village development and zoning ordinances. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in Village Hall.

“We are now in Phase One of the project with Teska gathering as much information on the Village as possible,” said Village Administrator Heather Kimmons.

Meetings with trustees, staff and “key stakeholders in the Village” will take place prior to the Board meeting, according to Kimmons. She said the more intense Village involvement will come after the first of the year when workshops and public meetings will be held. Eventually Teska will have a project website that will be linked to the Village’s website for convenient community access.

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