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Rosenthal is new Walnut trustee

Walnut commits to electric program

WALNUT — The village of Walnut has a new trustee.

The the Walnut Village Board meeting Monday evening, acting Walnut Village Board President Dennis Grobe made the nomination of Ryan Rosenthal to fill the open position on the village board after the resignation of Aaron Staker. Rosenthal’s nomination was approved by unanimous vote of the board. Immediately following approval, Rosenthal was sworn in by Grobe and took his seat on the board.

This appointment will be for one year, and at the end of that time, Rosenthal will have the opportunity, if desired, to be placed on the ballot for election to complete the remaining two years of the term of office vacated by Staker.

The village of Walnut is currently participating in an electrical aggregate program set up through Rock River Energy Services of Oregon, Ill. Mary Mudge, representing that company, presented a renewal proposal for this aggregate program. The original program had a contract period of two years, and that contract will be expiring in July 2014.

Mudge stated there are 440 accounts (customers) within the village currently participating in the aggregate program. Those accounts, during the previous 20 months, have saved a total of $176,000 on their electrical bills. She then presented alternatives for a new contract for the village’s program.

The new contracts proposed will be an increase over the current contract rate of 4.84 cents per KWH. Capacity rates charged to power companies by the government are being increased, and everyone, whether on an aggregate program or not, will be noticing an increase in their electrical rates. Proposals from 1st Energy Services and Home Field Energy were reviewed by the board.

The board agreed to a new three-year agreement with the current aggregate program provider, 1st Energy Solutions. The agreed upon rate of the contract will be 6.72 cents per KWH. This company offers a rate guarantee to match the ComEd rate if that rate should ever fall below 6.72 cents during the duration of the contract. This guarantee, as well as the current positive experience customers have had with 1st Energy, contributed to the board’s decision.

All residents of the village will receive a letter explaining what they will need to do to participate in the new aggregate program. These letters will be mailed on or about May 19.

Superintendent Carl Minks reported the bid letting for Bureau County for seal coating has been received. Pavement Maintenance, a division of Advanced Asphalt, Princeton, was awarded the county contract. The seal coating of some alleys and streets in Walnut were included in the bid awarded. The cost of the work in Walnut will be $63,413.75. The board approved the expenditure of this amount. Work will be delayed until after the July 4 celebration.

Village treasurer, Nita VonHolten, reported to the board she had been in contact with Citizens First State Bank, Walnut, regarding the possibility of obtaining a short-term loan to cover expenses incurred prior to the approval of the IEPA loan for the improvement of the village sewer plant. The bank will agree to make a loan to the village in the maximum amount of $155,000 at an interest rate of approximately 4 percent. The proceeds of the loan would be withdrawn by the village on an as-needed basis with the village then paying interest only on the amount withdrawn. The Illinois EPA loan is expected to be funded by September 2014, at which time the loan would be paid in full.

The proposed loan was approved by unanimous vote of the board.

Deb Quinn, chairperson of the Law and Order Committee, explained to the board the committee feels the purchase of a new police squad car can be delayed for a one-year period. Reasons for the decision included the low mileage on the current vehicle and also the low maintenance costs incurred for the same vehicle. However, the committee will continue to pursue the upgrading of the radio equipment in use by the police patrols.

Duane Christensen, Cemetery Committee chairperson, asked the board to consider a donation to the American Legion for the flags placed in the cemetery by that organization. The board requested that Christensen contact the Legion and have a representative attend the next board meeting scheduled for April 7.

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