Orion water main project to begin soon

Mindy Carls
Orion O

The 11th Avenue water main replacement project should begin by the end of July, Trustee Mel Drucker told the Orion village board on Wednesday, July 7, in the village hall basement.

Drucker said he will confirm the schedule with Miller Trucking and Excavating and inform residents who may have their driveway access blocked. He said he hopes the work will be done before Orion Fall Festival over Labor Day weekend.

The board discussed the clean-up day in June, which Trustee Neal Nelson said stretched into five days. Village employees filled 11 dumpsters, and one village employee was injured.

Nelson said he still believes the village should drop clean-up day. He noted a lot of the material could have gone into the regular trash.

Drucker agreed some residents abused the service, but said residents need a way to get rid of mattresses and other bulky items. He suggested telling people what they can set out and what they can’t, and having employees wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and steel-toed boots.

Sewer Superintendent Chris Lundburg said the board should give village employees discretion to decide what to pick up, rather than having to call Village President Jim Cooper or a board member to view items and make the decision.

Cooper said he gave employees the power to decide.

Nelson reported on the Seventh Street project. Workers are installing the base stabilization layer.

A hydrant will be moved to avoid having to narrow the sidewalk to go around it, Nelson said. The cost will be $5,900.

The village is waiting on some parts needed for decorative lights along Fourth Street in front of village hall and along the west side of Central Park, Nelson said. He hopes the lights can be installed within two weeks of the meeting.

Nelson said village employees are getting ready to install new crosswalk signs for the schools. Cooper said Street Superintendent Neil Dahl will dig the holes, Jason West will pour the concrete and village employees will backfill around the hole.

Board members discussed the impact of new home construction on drainage in Prairie Knoll Estates but took no action.

In other business

• The board approved the terms of a $460,000 loan from BankORION for water and street improvements. Borrowed at an interest rate of 1.7 percent, the loan will be paid off by July 2026.

• Henry County turned down Orion’s request to share a full-time police officer with Cambridge, Trustee Steve Newman said.

• Cooper said he and Drucker will be interviewing someone to fill the vacancy on the board.

• Village Clerk Lori Sampson is preparing to retire, and deputy clerk/treasurer Dee Lundburg will be moving up to village clerk. The board is looking for a new 

deputy clerk/treasurer, and during Wednesday’s meeting approved $14 to $18 an hour as the starting pay. The amount depends on the person’s qualifications.

• Board members also approved allowing a permanent part-time employee to use the community sick leave bank at half the rate allowed for full-time employees.

• The board hired Sandra Mizen as temporary office help at the discretion of the village clerk. She will receive $17 an hour.