By Marianne Mueller

Rockton Township officials addressed different subjects at the Jan. 12 meeting. First on the agenda was looking into the possibility of the Highway Department taking over maintenance on the cemetery grounds. Currently the Township has a contract with Executive Lawn Care.

Trustee Randy Johnson asked what the cost might be if Highway Commissioner Trenton Keyhoe takes over these duties; possibly with another person to work with him. If switching hands the Township would have Executive show the new workers what needs to be done.

Renewing the current contract for another year was proposed.

Trustee Connie Gleasman strongly suggested that the Township stay with Executive. “We should wait a year to put things in place; we would have a year to work on the process,” Gleasman said.

Per former advise from Township Attorney Doug Henry no intergovernmental agreement would be needed if making this change. If done in house the Township would have more control over operations.

“My biggest concern is proper mowing in fields and ditches,” Cemetery Sexton Chris Doering said. “We have to have it done and done right. We don’t want any liability.”

The Townships contract it is set up with an automatic renewal for a two-year period. The board has 30 days before April 1 to make a decision. “We want to have respect for  Executive’s owner Brian Hansmeier,” Doering said.

The board will hold a special meeting to review related information to make a decision on this matter.

Updates on projects at the Greater Rockton Community Center were given. Supervisor Paul Williams reported, “Larson and Larson put posts in the outdoor overhang. We are trying to get landscaping done outside of the building.”

 Gleasman suggested that the board get estimates from at least two landscapers.

“If we stay with the same roof line the fire code says that we need to have a footing, “Gleasman said. Trustee Gene Hermann agreed with Gleasman.  “If we are supporting to the ground it needs to be on a footing and anchored to concrete, “Hermann said.

Williams replied, “ An 8X8 post will be anchored to a concrete slab. “

 “Plans are to remove all of the trees and to replace those with trees that are lower to the ground,” Williams said. “We don’t want anything in the lines. Local landscaping will be put in the budget.”

Hermann asked, “Where will the money for this project come from going forward and how much will we have to allocate in the budget?”

Future plans inside the GRC include adding new ADA compliant bathrooms. “We will need a time frame, but this might not happen until the following year, “Williams said. Williams shared the idea of possibly converting one of the existing rooms to a lounge area where brides can get ready.

Hermann asked, “What is the goal for the center?

“The biggest thing is to finish the outside; and the stairway to the kitchen,” Williams answered. He brought up the idea of moving the stairway toward the parking lot along with pouring a new pad for it to sit on.

“Before anyone leases the building we need to make sure it has a fire exit to cover the liability aspect,” Gleasman said.

 Two exit doors are generally required to meet fire codes. Once a year a fire inspection is done.

 “The plumbing could create issues and become expensive,” Hermann said. He added.

Williams replied, “The YMCA uses the facility.”

Township Clerk Kristi Schaffer praised the YMCA program. “When the GRC is rented it helps the entire downtown community,” she said.

“If we are going to spend $200,000 what are we getting back on our investment?”  Doering asked.

Hermann said, “We are trying to enhance the building for weddings, and receptions; which bring in revenue. If our taxpayers are using it and are satisfied that is our revenue,” Trustee Vicky Ivy said.

“Lets try to establish something,” Hermann said.

“We will never get our money back for what we are putting into the GRC; “Williams said.

An example was given of a venue in Roscoe that was renovated who had a map including details of the project.

“The plan is to build a better, nicer community space,” Doering said. Hermann addressed Williams. “It should start here, you have put a lot of time into it.”

“We need to have a usage plan to service our community more effectively, and we need to have hard numbers to budget this then we can have something to move forward with,” Gleasman said.

Trustee Randy Johnson suggested that if the Township ever decided the center is beyond their means that they offer it to the Village of Rockton.

Hermann inquired about overtime pay in relation to vacation pay. As it is written in the Township employees handbook Hermann said he would like to see this policy; dated in the year 2002 changed and would like to know what led up to it being put into place. A recommendation was made to remove it. Schaffer offered to rewrite the policy.

Gleasman referred to a recent copy of a handbook referring to monthly duties. She read that all bills should be provided to Officials at least three days prior to a monthly meeting. All vendors must be paid.

Under the heading of “Best Practices” questions can be asked ahead of time to avoid using extra time at meetings.

Gleasman urged that the board needs to be involved in all matters and that the handbook needs to be followed.

Williams ended the meeting by reading a positive message written by Elon Musk.  Williams followed by saying, “We are all here pulling on the same rope in the right direction; we are all here doing something for the purpose of making this a better community.”

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