Mayor-elect starts making changes

FORESTVILLE – Mayor-Elect Kevin Johnson has yet to take over the position of mayor in the village of Forestville, but at a recent meeting the tone was set for what is to come.

Johnson gave the year-end report for the waterline project and gave some hindsight advice.

“In 20-20 hindsight all the problems we faced could have been avoided by hiring a project manager. … I strongly recommend that the board hire a project manager for any major project over $100,000. I think they will find it money well spent,” he said.

He also said water rates should be flexible to meet the district’s need and that the rates should be re-examined at the end of the year.

He said the contractor has begun work again and is expected to complete the project by August.

The village will be switching water sources from the Arkwright springs to the village wells on Monday. Residents may experience dirty water or service interruption and are asked to keep a supply of drinking water in case this occurs.

In light of the transfer, Johnson also recommended selling the springs property and timber, citing the cost of $5,000 per year in taxes and the ability to use the revenue for debt repayments.

After an executive session on proposed litigation, the board unanimously voted to actively pursue marketing the springs property and timber because it is no longer needed for public use. The village board will need to hold a public hearing before selling the property, subject to permissive referendum.

The clerk’s office will also see changes after the board voted on several staffing resolutions.

First the board approved splitting the clerk and treasurer positions.

“One thing has become apparent, there is a lot of work to do in that office. … It seems like more work than one person can do. By dividing the positions the clerk can focus on the meetings and that leaves the treasurer free to sort out the finances,” Johnson said.

Clerk Jim White pointed out that the two appointments would create checks and balances.

The board also approved another control on finances by hiring an audit clerk.

“Why do we need this?” Trustee Ron Lineman asked.

It was explained that an audit clerk provides another check on finances as well as making sure regulations, policies and the budget are followed.

White explained the audit clerk would give monthly reports.

“We want everything to be above board and this hire achieves that,” Johnson added.

The board said it could not present the tentative budget and set a public hearing due to pending litigation. It set a special meeting for today at 7 p.m. in the village hall to go over the budget and set the public hearing.