Orion adjusts financing of street project

Mindy Carls
Orion village officials serving new terms are, from left, Village President Jim Cooper, Trustee Bob Mitton, Village Clerk Lori Sampson and Trustees Ryan Hancock, Neal Nelson and Mike Dunlap. In April, all were elected to four-year terms, except Dunlap, who was chosen to fill an unexpired two-year term

Orion village board members decided Monday, May 17, to draw down the general fund surplus instead of borrowing more money from BankORION for the Seventh Street renovation and 11th Avenue water main replacement.

The board agreed with the recommendation of Trustee Steve Newman to use $387,000 from the surplus for the projects. Orion ended the 2020-21 fiscal year with a surplus of more than $1 million.

At Newman’s suggestion, the board also decided to use Rebuild Illinois funds for the engineering costs associated with the Fifth Street project. Although the Fifth Street work is not scheduled until 2027, federal infrastructure funds might available sooner for shovel-ready projects.

Board members approved Newman approaching BankORION for a five-year loan of $460,000 for the Seventh Street and 11th Avenue work.

Village finances healthy

Newman reported on the village’s 2020-21 fiscal year. Orion spent $51,000 or 3 percent more than the previous year, but only because it used general fund money to purchase the site of the former bowling alley. The purchase price was $102,500.

Despite the pandemic, revenue was up $337,000, or 21 percent above budgeted revenue, Newman said.

June 14 clean up

Trustee Neal Nelson said the village needs to make room in the rock yard on Fourth Street for three dumpsters to use on clean-up day, Monday, June 14. Items need to set out on the curb first thing in the morning. Village employees will make one pass through town. Even if they need to go down a street again, they will not collect items the second time.

Property owners should not set out any items they can put in their regular trash, Nelson said. Only items hard to do that with should go out on June 14.

Also, they should not set out anything that’s forbidden in landfills, the trustee said.

In other business

• Village Clerk Lori Sampson swore in trustees Bob Mitton and Ryan Hancock for new four-year terms.

• Village President Jim Cooper announced he will need to fill one or two vacancies on the board before long. Anyone interested in serving on the board should contact Cooper, any trustee or village hall.

• The board agreed to close the alley behind Western District Library on Thursday evening, May 27, for the kickoff of the summer reading program. “The Greatest Showman” will be shown in the alley.

• Cooper announced Orion had hired a company to spray Central and Love parks, including the ball diamonds, for weeds.

“We don’t want the jewels of Orion to be covered with dandelions,” he said.

• Newman said the village’s Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund contribution starting in January will drop from 8.27 percent 5.73 percent.