By Chris Johnson


PECATONICA – On Thursday, May 5, at 5:30 p.m., the Pecatonica Village Board is offering itself up for public comment regarding the 2016-2017 fiscal year appropriations. The action is mandatory by the municipal board. There has to be approval given to spend money.

After reviewing departmental budgets over the past few months and following approval of the various departments fiscal year budgets, a request to use budgeted dollars to deal with village expenses will now be made.

A public hearing is mandated, by statute. The community involvement portion will be followed by the monthly Committee of the Whole meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

During a recent meeting of Trustees and Village President Dan Barber, action was taken to allow for the plan to move forward for the construction of a parking area on the north side of town, south of the river, off the prairie path near Main Street.

With engineering work to be done, as the area is prepped for construction, funds had to be found to allow the project to continue moving towards realization.

Paperwork will need to be completed, before the Village can receive up to $40,000 in a low interest loan.

The funds will be used for the construction of a lighted kiosk/information center, near the to be constructed parking area.

There is a slight concern which still hasn’t been satisfied.

Approval for Village access, via an easement on the land from Commonwealth Edison has yet to be received.

When the approval was given to pursue a loan, up to $40,000, two Trustees voted against the idea.

Trustee Steve Eytalis has long said he feels the parking lot, though a good idea, isn’t the right thing to be talking about at this point. There are other projects the Village could have looked at instead.

Trustee Zach Foster also voted against the idea to pursue a loan for the parking lot/kiosk. With concern about the Village undertaking more debt, he voted the measure down.

“I just would rather have the funding in place, before we have the project start, before we get discretionary funds from Winnebago County.”

Foster said the project has received support from across the Village and from the various organizations within the Village.

Already, Winnebago County has given $12,000 for the project through discretionary funds.

Additional dollars from Winnebago County are expected to be received later this year.

Payback on the loan will be handled through funds received via the gaming revenue through the Economic Development Committee.

Funds have also already been donated from the various organizations within Pecatonica for use on the project development.

Village Attorney Doug Henry advised Trustees that the best way to proceed, regarding payback of the loan, will be through the issuance of a new ordinance.

The Village President said taxpayer dollars would not be used for payback on the project, only gaming revenue and donation dollars would be.

Trustee Eytalis requested that in the ordinance it is clearly stated that the dollars received from gaming revenue will be used for payback, arguing that the money paid back for the loan does indeed come out of taxpayer’s pockets.

“In my opinion, it is taxpayer dollars,” Eytalis said.

Barber responded that those dollars were voluntarily contributed.

Trustee Tricia Metz said those dollars could be considered more of a citizen donation.

The Pecatonica Village Board meets in regular session on the third Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m.

The Pecatonica Committee of the Whole meets on the first Thursday of every month at 6 p.m.

Generally, almost on a regular basis now, a Special Board Meeting of Trustees and the Village President also occurs on the same day as the Committee of the Whole Meets.

Usually the Special Board Meeting follows the Committee of the Whole, which means a specific start time of the monthly meeting is not always known.

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