Area update: Aug. 8, 2014

Area update: Aug. 8, 2014

Mahomet trustees OK bids on older equipment

MAHOMET — Bids for the sale of several pieces of surplus village equipment came in significantly lower than expected this month.

The items — which included several Ford pickup trucks, a tractor and a tandem axle truck — were replaced with newer models in a slate of equipment purchases earlier this year. Mahomet trustees voted to sell the old items and use the proceeds to purchase a skid steer and hotbox patcher for road repairs.

Although the bids were disappointing, trustees OK'd the sales, as requested by Public Works Director Gary LaForge.

"It's possible that if we did try to rebid these, we wouldn't get the same amounts," he said, noting that the second-highest bids were in several cases significantly lower than the first.

Only one item — a 1997 Ford F-250 — came in above the estimated value: $2,100 rather than $2,000.

The tandem axle came in at $15,013, after an estimate of $25,000; a 2003 Ford F-450 at $13,000, after an estimate of $18,000; and a 2004 Ford F-450 at $8,175, after an estimate of $18,000.

At LaForge's request, trustees opted to rebid one item — a 1996 Ford 545-D tractor — since a bid higher than the salvage value estimate came in after the deadline.

Mayor Patrick Brown asked LaForge how staff obtained the salvage estimates. He said that they did Internet searches on selling prices of similar items.

Although the total sale prices are over $20,000 less than the estimates, LaForge said his department can still afford to pay for the patcher and recoup part of the cost of a message board purchased earlier.

They'll also be able to cover the price of a used skid steer rather than a new one, he added.

AMELIA BENNER

Mahomet Citizen

ALLERTON PARK AND RETREAT CENTER

Speakers give opinions for master plan

MONTICELLO — A small but passionate group gave input on a potential master plan for the Allerton Park and Retreat Center at a public meeting in the park Visitor's Center.

Clif Carey of RATIO Architects ran the public session, and said the "investigation" phase is the first of three that will lead to a master plan proposal, possibly by the end of the year. Since Allerton is owned by the University of Illinois, the college's Board of Trustees would need to approve the plan before it can be put into effect.

Among the ideas pitched: link up with already-established area festivals, such as Roger Ebert's Film Festival, held every April at the Virginia Theatre.

Said Yvonne Vitoski of Champaign: "I could see people wanting to stay up through the night watching obscure films in the library (at the mansion). I think that might have some possibilities."

However, hosting more events at the mansion could be difficult since one of its biggest money makers — weddings — frequent the grounds year-round.

"Are weddings a problem with scheduling other things?" asked Judy Greene.

Derek Peterson, associate director of the park, said weddings take precedence since they're a good revenue stream, but admitted it "limits public access to (the mansion). I've heard from people it might be beneficial if there was more public access to that facility."

Expanded use of the Allerton Barn — the site of the popular Music Barn Festival each September — was also discussed. Peterson said officials are limited since the barn lacks heat and air-conditioning.

STEVE HOFFMAN

Piatt County Journal-Republican

SADORUS VILLAGE BOARD

Members OK funds for new scoreboard

SADORUS — The board approved spending up to $4,000 for a new scoreboard at Sadorus Community Park's ball diamond.

The existing scoreboard, which is about 30 years old, is no longer functional and replacement parts can't be found for it. The village received the scoreboard for free from Pepsi in exchange for exclusively selling its products for a year.

The Tolono Park District offered to sell the village a retired Unity High School softball scoreboard, but village trustees agreed they would prefer to buy a new one.

CHRISTINE WALSH

The County Star

TOLONO VILLAGE BOARD

Work underway for new fire station

TOLONO — Excavation has started on the site of the new east side fire station.

The work is being subcontracted by Argenta-based 4MC Corporation, the project's contractor.

"It's going to be a little loud," Tolono Fire Protection District Trustee Ann Haluzak warned neighborhood residents.

The site at the corner of North Bourne and East Reynolds streets is the former home of Tolono Primary School.

Haluzak said materials that can be recycled will be removed, a hole will be filled, and any remaining concrete will come out. Final site preparation will then begin.

"You'll start to see a little more stuff disappear and appear," Haluzak said.

Construction of the new building won't start until September, she added.

CHRISTINE WALSH

The County Star

CATLIN, JAMAICA SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Proposed board has field of candidates

DANVILLE — Voters in the Catlin and Jamaica school districts will not only vote on a possible consolidation in November, they will also elect a school board that would oversee the new, merged district.

Nine candidates are seeking to be elected to the seven-member school board for the proposed consolidated district.

Jeff Carder, Troy Chew, Shelley Darnell, Jeff Dodd, Jeff Fauver, Seth Smoot, Ron Taylor, Andrea VanLeer and Bob Wright all filed petitions with the Vermilion County Regional Office of Education by June 23, and their names will appear on the November ballot.

Darnell, Fauver, Smoot, Van Leer and Wright live in the Catlin district. Carder, Chew, Dodd and Taylor live in the Jamaica district.

Fauver, Smoot and VanLeer currently serve on the Catlin school board, and Carder, Chew and Taylor serve on the Jamaica board.

If voters in the districts approve the consolidation in November, the new district would begin with the 2015-16 school year.

DOUGLAS TOOLE

News-Gazette Correspondent

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