By Bob Balgemann


To have a referendum on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, Boone County officials must have the necessary information to County Clerk Mary Steurer by Sept. 1.

Poplar Grove is looking at having a referendum on electing future village clerks.

Village board members agreed last winter to have such a vote. Village Attorney Jim Stevens now prepared the ordinance for the village board meeting that was on Monday, Aug. 15.

Poplar Grove’s current village clerk is Martha Suhr. She has held that position for the past 32 years. Now 72, she said that if she is reelected she would be 76 at the end of a new, four-year term.

While she’s leaning toward not running again, that’s not definite, and she has plenty of time to make a decision.

With petitions not due until after the general election candidates for clerk will know whether future office holders are elected or appointed. Suhr said she likely would decide after Nov. 8 whether to seek reelection or become the first appointed clerk.

In 2017, Poplar Grove voters also will choose a village president and three village board members.

The current village president, John Neitzel, was appointed in October 2011 to replace Bradley Rightnowar, who resigned to take a new job in Springfield. Neitzel then was elected without opposition in 2012.

Board members whose terms are up include: Don Bawden, Owen Costanza, and Judi Zangs. Zangs is the only holdover from the board that was swept into office in 2009, replacing several members of the previous administration. She was reelected in 2013.

Also in action at the Monday, Aug. 1 committee of the whole meeting, trustees tackled how to deal with water bills of “snowbirds,” village residents who leave town each winter to avoid cold weather.

Village Administrator Diana Dykstra explained that in the past, some residents were not notifying village hall when they went out of town for an extended period of time. Some turned off their own water; others did it the correct way by paying the $45 shut-off fee.

Some residents were marked “inactive,” even though their water had not been shut off. When they came home briefly, for major winter holidays, they were not charged for the water they used during that period of time.

Committee members agreed with a proposed ordinance that did the following:

Any resident leaving town for an extended period of time will be asked to notify village hall, so they can be registered. Such information would be used for emergency purposes.

All monthly base rates would remain in effect unless there was an official request to shut off service. That would result in the homeowner being assessed a $45 shut-off charge.

There would be no termination of service for failure to pay the monthly charge on time during the extended absence, as long as the “snowbird” was registered with the village.


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