The Oblong Village Board discussed external wood furnaces and the Fall Follies during a busy Wednesday night meeting.
Exterior wood-burning furnaces have become more popular in rural settings, but at least one Oblong resident is concerned about the environmental impact they can have when placed in the village.
Jamie McDaniel, has a child with asthma and a neighbor with an exterior wood-burning furnace. McDaniel said she is concerned that the village has no regulations on these types of furnaces. Regulations do exist for the burning of trash, open burning of fire pits and natural waste. She also mentioned research she had done on the toxic fumes that can occur from burning things other than dried, seasoned hardwoods. Her biggest concern she told the board is how at times the smoke from her neighbor's furnace comes into the her house effecting her child.
Mayor Teresa Fielder thanked McDaniel for bringing her concerns to the board, and said they would research the issue and discuss options.
After disposing of other business the board did discuss the issue. Specifically they discussed the height of smokestacks and ensuring only natural wood is burned in the furnaces. Fielder said more research and what other communities have done is needed before any decisions can be made.
Despite the cold weekend the 51st annual Fall Follies was considered a success. Trustee Bill Burke did bring the concerns or complaint from one resident to the board. Burke said the resident and business owner voiced his displeasure on social media on three specific issues: Trash in his yard following the parade, damage to landscape from people walking through the yard, and access and parking at his downtown business.
Trash along the parade route has always been a problem. Utility Superintendent Gary Lanter said they have placed extra trash containers along the route in the past only to find they go unused. Throwing things in a container seems to be an individual choice, and the choices of a few thousand individuals can create a mess. The village does run the street sweeper up and down Main Street several times in an effort to clean the streets following the parade and festival.
As for access to downtown businesses, Lanter also responded for the Oblong Chamber of Commerce, explaining they do try and keep vendors from blocking access to businesses and will communicate more with local businesses before next year's event.
Both Police Chief Chad Pusey and Lanter said parking and access in the small town is a challenge when so many people come to town.
In other business, Fielder reported payments will be made to Cory Wartsbaugh from TIF district funds for reimbursement for work on his building. She also noted the village was endorsing the state's bicentennial celebration, and reminded everyone the VFW would be passing out poppies and accepting donations on Saturday at the four-way stop.
The board approved extending tavern hours to 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving eve. Last call will be 12:30 a.m. They also approved Christmas bonuses for full and part-time employees.
Fielder also reported the village has extended its contract with Homefield Energy as its electrical supplier under electrical aggregation. Electric customers will see a reduced rate of $.057 in February and a rate of $.05596 in June. By accepting these terms the contract was extended to the year 2020.
The board voted in majority to buy liability, property and workers compensation insurance from the Illinois Municipal League at a cost of $25,781 for the year. The board had put off the vote to make a fair comparisons between local companies and IML. Burke was the lone no vote on the purchase.
Water rates may soon be on the rise as the water committee evaluates a cost increase from Robinson-Palestine Water Commission.
Mayor Fielder said she plans to keep the Ad Hoc committee in place to promote hometown pride, and to address ordinance and residential issues.
Pusey reported his department issued nine citations and 10 warnings, had 12 offences reported, handled three traffic accidents and had 78 calls for service last month. He reported no issues during the Fall Follies weekend.