PG Clerk Vote

By Bob Balgemann


Voters will decide Nov. 8 if future village clerks are elected or appointed.

The Poplar Grove Village board voted 4-3 Aug. 15 to approve putting a referendum to that effect on the general election ballot.

Village President John Neitzel broke the 3-3 tie by voting in favor of letting voters make that decision.

“In today’s working world [including municipalities] efficient operations are becoming more sophisticated having the requisite skills needed in today’s office environment is imperative to ensure efficient operations and service to the community,” he said in a post meeting interview email. “Ensuring that this minimum skill set exists within this position is almost a mandate in today’s world. By changing from an elected position to an appointed position allows for reviewing the capabilities of all applicants.”

Current village clerk Martha Suhr has held that position for the past 32 years. She has said that while she is leaning toward retirement, she won’t make a decision until after the general election.

That wasn’t the only split decision during the board meeting.

Trustees voted 4-2, with trustees Owen Costanza and Jeff Goings dissenting, on the so-called “snowbird ordinance,” that has to do with water and sewer bills of residents who are out of town for extended periods of time, especially during the winter months.

President Neitzel said no one was getting a break on their water bill.

“If anything, it allows for better record keeping by office staff,” he said.

Village Administrator Diana Dykstra called the ordinance “just for record keeping.”

Absent residents still will have to pay a minimum water and sewer bill, but they can take care of the whole amount upon their return. While they will be assessed a penalty for late payment, their service won’t be disconnected, which would require a reconnection fee to be paid.

In another 4-2 vote, the board voted to spend $15,000 on drainage improvements at the arboretum, a three-acre park at the foot of a water tank in the Knolls subdivision. Opposition again came from trustees Costanza and Goings.

The park is within the boundaries of the Belvidere Park District. President Neitzel said Administrator Dykstra reached out to district officials about helping pay for the improvement, but they declined to do so.

Also Aug. 15 the board agreed to send the Quail Trap Road improvement issue back to the committee of the whole for more discussion.

At issue is whether to resurface that stretch of road on either side of Poplar Grove Road or patch the troublesome areas and save some money.

Part of the question dealt with the amount of traffic using the road and the number of residents served by it, President Neitzel said.

“There was concern by board members that the cost to completely resurface would reduce our ability to fund other, more traveled streets in the village,” he said.



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