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Local

Junkyard ordinance on Lostant Village Board's radar

Eyesore property prompts consideration of village crackdown

Entrance sign to the village of Lostant, population 500.
Entrance sign to the village of Lostant, population 500.

LOSTANT — Lostant village leaders continued their discussion of an ordinance regulating junkyards at their board meeting Nov. 11.

Of special concern is a property situated along Route 251, between Second and Grant streets.

With various overtures and requests to remedy the growing eyesore rebuffed by the property owner, the board has determined to bring the matter up for a vote at their next regular meeting.

Board members will vote on whether to adopt an ordinance governing junkyards that has been drafted by Kyle Stephens, village attorney.

This ordinance outlines licensure, disqualification, regulations and penalties — with fines for violators up to $750 for each offense.

The board plans to take this matter up again Dec. 9.

Cannabis ordinance

Board members continued their consideration of how best to position the village, considering new cannabis laws take effect Jan. 1 in Illinois.

Prospectively, many on the board favor approving cannabis sales and reaping full 3 percent tax benefits, while requiring special use permits and confining such companies to the business district.

Other specifics also would need to be determined, such as whether cannabis use would be allowed “in house” along with the sale of the product.

It is evident that the board may not completely agree on this subject — in whole or in part.

Trustees such as Dave Mertes would consider allowing cannabis sales, yet when it comes to cannabis use in an in-house dispensary “lounge” setting, he said “under no circumstance” would he be in favor of this.

On the other hand, trustee Ray Brierly expressed his opposition to allowing cannabis sales in town at all.

It is the board’s aim to make a final determination at its next meeting, upon reviewing and discussing an ordinance Stephens will draft for this purpose.

Tree removal

Having identified 14 village trees that need to be taken down, trustee Mike Cooper has been authorized to hire the removal of some them, at a cost not to exceed $3,000.

Any trees that remain shall be taken down in future efforts in subsequent years.

Police staffing

Police Chief Brad Anderson reported that a part-time officer recently hired has begun work.

He also said more interviews for additional part-time officers will occur soon. He explained that as an all part-time force, more officers are needed to provide enough coverage for any given month.

With some discussion, trustee Andy Forrest said adding officers to the roster adds no cost to the village, until the officers work their respective shifts.

Infrastructure

Maintenance worker, Leland Decker notified the board that a pump at the main lift station has failed.

Inman Electric Motors of LaSalle indicated that among other issues, the impeller needs to be replaced. However, due to the pump’s age, a replacement has not yet been found.

With only one pump operational, Decker and Village President Jack Immel will explore other prospects and weigh options and report back to the board for the sake of anticipated emergency action to resolve the matter.

Regarding the new water tower, Immel reported that construction of its foundation has been delayed due to paperwork issues. It is now slated to begin Nov. 22.

Finances

The board approved the tax levy, totaling $54,086, as well as the appropriations budget for fiscal year 2020, with anticipated income totaling $477,525 and anticipated expenses totaling $509,400.

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