By Doris Elmore
An open forum regarding the issue of burning yard waste within the village limits was held prior to the regular meeting of the Atwood Village Board on Monday, Jan. 11. Only three residents were in attendance to voice their concerns, state their opinions or suggest a solution.
Darron Soard, village resident and employee for the village, stated that he is opposed to burning within the village limits due to health issues and it tears up the streets when people rake their leaves or trash to the street and burn it. Darren stated his opinion does not include recreation fires. He said most of the towns in this area with a population of over 1,000 have a No Burn ordinance. He also thinks there is a workable solution to satisfy everyone. He added that this is not a wide-spread issue, it seems to be in specific areas. He also said it does not have to be done right away, but they have to start somewhere. Soard also said the village employees try to be very careful when they burn at the dump.
Lacey Thompson was present and she sees both sides of the situation, but lends toward being favorable for burning days. She said she tries to burn when the wind is in the right direction away from the neighbors. Thompson said she gets a lot of leaves and cornstalks from the park and field next to the park. She mentioned that trying to bag all of them is almost impossible. It would take numerous bags. She said when she lived in Tuscola, they had a schedule to come around with a vacuum and pick up the leaves people would have in front of their homes.
Trustee Haley Ely said she doesn’t see a difference in yard burning or staggering burning hours, versus burning the leaves all at once at the dump.
Bill Fleming said he was not at the meeting to voice an opinion, but said he knew of a vacuum available that attaches to the front of a dump truck for $1,000.
Village President Davey Herring said he sees both side of the situation. He has a son with asthma and he cannot even be around a campfire. He has to stay inside if there is any burning near them. He has a lot of leaves and they are in his backyard and would be difficult to get them to the front to be picked up if the village should decide to have a pickup service.
President Herring said burning near the school is bad. Atwood Police Chief Rob Bross said he has had complaints regarding burning during school hours. It is up to Chief Bross to enforce the burning situation.
Mrs. Danke, Atwood resident, does not want the village to issue a no-burn ordinance. She said they have a lot of leaves to deal with. She thinks if the board passes an ordinance, then they need to have a solution to take care of the problem.
The board also discussed the idea of adding the burn or no-burn question to the spring ballot for residents to vote on, but Village Attorney Kenny Crossman said they had missed the deadline. After a lengthy discussion on pros and cons of burning the board decided to have the street committee look further into the issue and try to come up with a solution to alleviate the problem.
The regular meeting of the board began at 7 p.m. The board passed a motion to approve expenditures totaling $8,589.67.
Unfinished business included a discussion about the street light on Juniper Drive. The board was told that if any street lights in town are out or faint, then they need to report it to Ameren. Trustee Allen Kilber said the board does not want to set a precedence by adding lights for residents. The board did discuss the possibility of setting up an account in the budget to add street lights in the areas where needed. No definite action was taken at this meeting.
At the last meeting the board discussed the possibility of sharing the cost of an approach and sidewalk at the United Church of Atwood. The board decided this is something they need to check into before a decision is made. Attorney Crossman told the board they might be opening a can of worms if they decide to agree to something of this nature.
The board voted to accept the resignation of village custodian Marge Conour due to her moving to Arcola. Village Clerk Nancy Wierman will run an ad in the local newspaper searching for a new custodian.
The board has asked Attorney Crossman to come up with some TIF guidelines.
The board went into Executive Session to discuss salary increases.
The next meeting of the board will be held on Tuesday, February 8, at 7 p.m.