By Christopher Johnson


In order to keep transparency alive and communications open between officials guiding the village of Pecatonica and those who elected them, enhancement of the village website was determined to be necessary.

Residents are discouraged to attend Village Board Meetings at this point, yet still have the right to know what is happening in the community.

Village President Bill Smull explained that it is the best decision to keep meeting attendance limited as a result of mitigation in place.

On Thursday, Dec. 3, residents were notified through internet portals that a public hearing would be held in regards to the 2021 Levy.

Public Comments were encouraged, but had to be presented prior to the start of the Thursday meeting. Requests to speak were gained through resident letter and email.

Open meetings are held to keep citizens informed and help them learn how the body of officials is spending tax dollars. Modifications have been deemed necessary lately though and that means public access had to be restricted.

The influence of Covid19 has forced certain streams of information to be slowed, putting a lot of extra pressure on assuring the website plays an even more important role in keeping information up to date.

Improving the online portal is a major project that has already seen thousands of dollars invested, from web design to information collection and distribution

A basic website was established many years ago and with the speed of change in the world of technology, that has meant upgrades have to be done again and again. That sometimes influences the content immediately available.

A citizen who wishes to know what happened at the monthly or semi-monthly meeting of the Village Board has been encouraged to log on. But, many of the recent decisions released have not found a way to the website yet.

New Ordinances and information about the water transfer system, fire hydrant flushing and water main breaks are community influencing, meaning the website has to provide the required information in a nearly immediate manner.

It has also been explained by Smull that new Ordinances or modifications in existing Ordinances are to be made available online, on the village website.

Recently, Ordinance 2020-52, regarding the collection of business information from those operating within the village of Pecatonica was approved and passed by a vote of 4-2.

Trustees Tom Heister and Kathy Doty voted against the measure designed to collect and potentially share information about the many businesses within the community. The ruling hasn’t made its way to the village website, yet though.

In an effort to help spread the word on the whys and hows of Ordinance 2020-52, President Smull took it upon himself to visit with business owners this past week to let them know about the village’s decision to seek information and add a fine of $150 for non-disclosure or compliance.

Business owners do have until May of 2021 to have the information in the hands of village officials or face penalty. The information is to be collected annually, with business owners being asked to fill out and submit updated information every year.

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