Oberle Won’t Seek Third Term As Schram President

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Members of the Schram City Village Board held a public hearing prior to this month’s regular meeting on Monday evening, Nov. 9, regarding program performance of the lift station project. The project included replacement and updating of the lift stations, and was funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO).

In a project update, President Albert Oberle said all the work has now been completed and the funds from the DCEO, totaling $500,000, were also received. According to the village president, there is still outstanding work to do, including reviewing drawings and lastly the final inspection.

“Everything should be set for another 40 to 50 years for these lift stations,” said Oberle.

Upon entering into their regular session with all trustees present whether at village hall or by phone, President Oberle addressed the April 2021 election. There will be vacancies for village president, clerk, three trustee positions, as well as a zoning officer and four to five members for a complete zoning board.

“I will announce tonight that I will not be running for a third term. Two terms is long enough, but hopefully we will find good people,” said Oberle. “We’ve accomplished a lot, by the time May rolls around, in eight years, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.”

As part of a Bicentennial update, Oberle said the municipality leaders have been meeting with the Bicentennial committee each month and will attend a photo session for leaders on Feb. 13. The celebratory event will take place June 5 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds with a rain date scheduled for June 6. The village president encouraged members of the board to participate in the meetings, as well as the event, as he will be out of town in the coming months. He also noted that each municipality within the county will have a display for memorabilia in the Arts and Crafts Building.

The board approved this year’s annual Christmas bonus of $100 that is to be distributed to village employees in December. They also chose to cancel the annual Santa event next month.

Village employees will also see a pay increase of 50 cents effective Jan. 1. Oberle said summer employee Christian Hernandez expressed interest in working for the village this winter season while home from college. Hernandez will work on a part-time basis and will fill in for full-time employees during vacations and sick days. Currently, the village’s plan is to have street signs completed by the end of November, then will install traffic signage.

The village met with Ameren representatives concerning the replacement of the decades-old gas line that runs by the old glass factory to the railroad tracks, where it is exposed underneath the creek on the glass factory’s property. Work is slated to be begin in 2022.

In further discussing remote alarms on each lift station, board members chose to install alarm systems on the Munchler and Big 4 lift stations now for half the cost at $1,532 for three years. For all five, the contract would cost $3,330 for three years. The board will revisit the item next year if they feel there is a need for alarm systems at the remaining stations.

As part of a grant update, Oberle advised that the village’s bid for the new truck was approved and that it was ordered Monday. Grant applications for the DCEO and Rebuild Illinois grants were submitted, and the village will continue preparing paperwork for a second Downstate Small Business Stabilization Grant. In IEPA news, the village turned down the $637,000 loan for phase 1 of the water line replacement project due to zero percent principle forgiveness.

“When they have enough money left over, they’re going to start issuing the money and based on your dollar amount, you can get principal forgiveness so we want to take advantage of that,” said Oberle.

Members of the board agreed to continue with the Illinois Municipal League for risk management insurance coverage, which was lowered ten percent this year, according to Oberle. He hopes to revise the building and content based on the work invested in the lift stations. They would also make a motion to approve an ordinance regulating indoor bands and amplified music, restricting the curfew to 11 p.m. Trustee Jerry Woods made a motion with Trustee Sam Whitlow seconding. President Oberle will provide copies of both the indoor and outdoor (10 p.m.) ordinances to all local establishments.

During the treasurer’s report, Oberle said in May 2013 the village had $10,000 in the general fund and $6,000 in the sewer fund. Now, the village has over $188,000 in general and $38,000 in sewer.

“Plus, we have spent a tremendous amount of money out of our sewer fund with doing part of the lift station project, so the board should feel proud of what we’ve accomplished in eight years,” said Oberle. “We’re still not done. We still have a lot of work to do.”

In a few final notes, Oberle said two of the five faulty fire hydrants are now fixed and two new additional hydrants are to be installed soon. Village workers will fix the remaining hydrant once the proper parts arrive. Once the work is finished, they will be complete with a test and fresh coat of paint. Due to the ongoing pandemic and increase of COVID cases, late fees for water bills will continue to be waived through the end of the year. Some public discussion on the animal ordinance was generated with Oberle stating he will look into enforcing it. Following the meeting, Oberle wished to thank local veterans, both past and present, for their dedicated service to our country. 

The next regular monthly meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 14, beginning at 6 p.m. at the village hall.

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