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Tiskilwa looks at creek maintenance

TISKILWA — The question of who is responsible for clearing creek beds in Tiskilwa was debated at Tuesday night's meeting of the Tiskilwa Village Board.

Rodger Bruyn of Tiskilwa, who heads up a committee of volunteers who have looked into what needs to be done with drainage of water in the three creeks found inside the village limits, said the group has found problems with brush and trees in the creeks. Plus, concrete retaining walls aren't properly supported, and creek beds need to be stabilized better.

Bruyn felt there were enough volunteers in town to cut back brush and small trees.

"We need to be proactive instead of reactive to make sure that trees and brush don't fall into the creek beds and back water up," he said.

Bruyn asked for a village board member to meet with the committee members to set up a budget and discuss how to pay for work that volunteers can't do along the creek beds.

Bruyn said he supports a referendum on the April ballot to continue the flood control tax for another seven years. Village residents must approve this issue every seven years; this was was first approved after dams and levies were constructed in the 1960s to prevent flooding in Tiskilwa.

Mayor Randy Philhower had said at the January board meeting that this tax raises monies to take care of the dams and levies that were put in town in 1961.

Philhower asked city engineer Jack Kusek, who was in attendance at the meeting, what needs to be done in this area. Kusek said the top priority is brush in the creek beds and retaining walls need to be looked at individually.

Philhower told Bruyn the village doesn't own the property of the creek beds, and this group of volunteers needs to have some hold harmless agreements signed by landowners along the creeks in Tiskilwa prior to volunteers clearing any brush or small trees, in case of accidents happening during this work.

Kusek also said he will look at the drainage laws in Illinois to determine responsibility of maintenance of creeks running through Tiskilwa.

Bruyn added that some of the funds from the flood control tax could be used for this work because of the creeks' main purposes are to drain water for the levies and dams.

Philhower said there is money spent for the work done on the maintenance of levies and dams

In other business, Philhower asked village board members whether they wanted to meet to approve the low bid received from a company wanting to be the village's electric aggregation supplier or to give him permission to choose the lowest bidder.

Board members decided to let Philhower approve the lowest bid on Feb. 21. Philhower said he wants a two-year contract.

Shawn Ajazi of Progressive Energy Group, the company hired by the board to seek bids, had told village board members in December two public hearings must be held prior to signing the final contract with the electric supplier. No Tiskilwa resident attended either public hearing.

Ajazi had said the residential and small commercial aggregation program for Tiskilwa only deals with users of less than 15,000 kilowatt hours in a year. He said users that qualify for the program will receive opt-out notices in February they must return within 15 days of receiving them, or they would be entered into the program, which he estimated would save about $150 a year per household over than the village's current supplier, which is Ameren.

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