Board is looking at options for Orion Village Hall building

Mindy Carls

Orion’s village board is hoping to get recommendations for building or renovating a village hall during December.

Pointe Builder is working on a floor plan for a new village hall and community center on the bowling alley property, but that is not the only option.

• Buying and refurbishing an existing building on Fourth Street.

• Establishing a park district west of town where a community center and athletic facilities could be built, but that does not provide a village hall.

• Expanding the current village hall where it is.

High water bills

During the Monday, Nov. 15 meeting, Paul and Nancy Hancock asked the board about their high water bill, $700 for October. The village had replaced one of their water meters, which was broken, and the readings between old and new meters showed a discrepancy in usage for which the village could have billed $1,400. The village decided to cut the bill in half.

The Hancocks said they were not upset, but they did wonder what caused the problem. They were thankful for the 50-percent discount on the bill.

Four other Orion customers had the same problem, Trustee Mel Drucker said.

The Hancocks’ bill usually is $66 for 4,100 gallons unless it’s June and they fill their pool. Their November bill was for 100,000 gallons, and Nancy Hancock said it was hard to imagine how that amount of water missed the meter even during the 29 years they have lived in the house.

Village President Jim Cooper said in the past, people with high water bills have discovered a child left a faucet open or a toilet leaked for two weeks while the family was on vacation.

But the Hancocks’ bill was from malfunctioning equipment that the village owned, he said.

The board will continue discussing the issue in December, when the village can have experts at the meeting.

In other business

• A resident asked if the village waived recycling fees of $4.80 a month on water and sewer bills for residents over 65. According to the village’s website, seniors who qualify for the senior property tax freeze through the county assessor’s office do not have to pay the recycling fee. The assessor issues a list of eligible seniors once a year. Village President Jim Cooper said anyone who wants to check a specific name can call the village office.

• Street Superintendent Neil Dahl said he getting outside chores wrapped up for the year. The employees are ready to plow.

• Water Superintendent Arnie Sandberg is flushing fire hydrants this week. If residents have brown water, they should let the water run a little bit, Drucker said.

• At the recommendation of Trustee Steve Newman, the board approved keeping the property tax levy at $193,155 for 2022-23. Newman said he felt comfortable with keeping it the same, considering anticipated revenue and expenses, even with all the construction projects this year.

The board will have a tax levy hearing at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20.

• The burn site will be open from 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturdays, Nov. 20, and Dec. 4.

Orion O