Orion approves streets bids

by Mindy Carls correspondent

Valley Construction Company’s $598,548 bid for the Seventh Street project was approved at the Orion Village Board meeting on Monday night, April 5.

It was the lowest of four bids, Trustee Neal Nelson said.

Trustee Mel Drucker said five firms planned to bid on the 11th Avenue water project. The village can use $220,000 from the American Rescue Plan to help pay for the work.

Lakewood Electric has submitted an estimate of $19,890 for installing six decorative street lights on Fourth Street along Central Park and in front of village hall, Nelson said. The estimate was not on the agenda, so the board could not vote on approving it.

Nelson said Lakewood could install street crossing lights for the schools.

The board discussed clean-up week but postponed a decision until the Monday, April 19, meeting. One option is to rent 30-yard waste bins and have residents bring their items to put in them under the supervision of employees.

The board discussed the preliminary budget, which will be approved at the April 19 meeting and take effect on May 1, Trustee Steve Newman said. As presented, the budget had estimated revenues of $1.6 million and $1.9 million in expenditures for a deficit of $329,495. The village anticipated using the surplus in the general fund to cover the deficit.

If construction funding totaling $374,792 is removed, the budget would have a surplus of $45,797, Newman said.

Newman said he had cut $10,000 from the police contract with Henry County, mostly by reducing part-time help. Some of the savings will go for another speed radar sign.

The budget had only $50,000 of the $150,000 originally requested for the Fifth Street engineering costs. Newman said $50,000 would cover surveying.

Drucker said no one knows if the proposed federal infrastructure plan would have funds for small towns.

Nelson said $150,000 would go a long to covering the engineering costs. Fifth Street is going to be more expensive than Seventh Street.

Cooper suggested the board consider reducing the Main Street Orion request from $10,000 to $5,000. He said the organization was supposed to be helping businesses, but he had spoken to businesses who said they received no support last year.

Chris Lundburg said every Main Street event brings people into the village to spend money at convenience stores, Orion IGA and restaurants.

Newman said he wanted to know why memberships dropped.

The board voted 3-2 to reduce the amount for Main Street Orion to $5,000. Voting in favor were Drucker, Bob Mitten and Nelson, and voting against the reduction were Ryan Hancock and Newman. Trustee Mike Dunlap was absent.

Cooper said Main Street Orion would be welcome to attend the next meeting and make a case for the full $10,000.

In other business

• The board met in the home of Orion American Legion Post 255. It was the first time since July 6, 2020, in Central Park that the board had met in person.

• Hancock is building a new home out of the village limits, Cooper said. Anyone interested in serving on the village board should contact Cooper or a trustee to apply for the opening on the board.