Tax levy once again controversial
In a conversation reminiscent of past years, members of the Village Board made it known they do not see eye to eye on what should be done with the village’s tax levy rate.
Trustee Sarah Johnes reiterated her argument from last year that as the village is doing well, the taxpayers could benefit from a drop in the levy.
“We have a lot of senior citizens who will not get a cost of living increase this year,” Johnes said. “I don’t think we are hurting enough to raise taxes, and considering our hard-working families…I think it is time again to save the taxpayers some money and reduce the levy.”
Trustee Mike Stumpf also held his stance from past discussions that he believes the levy was dropped too low in past years and dropping it further could potentially hurt the taxpayers in regards to the quality of living the village provides.
“Over the past years, we have reduced the tax levy too far,” Stumpf said. “When it gets to the point that it is putting a strain on the departments, I am for (raising the levy or keeping it the same).”
Trustee Mark Stewart agreed with Stumpf that the money is better spent ensuring that projects such as road improvements and sewer work are not squeezed out.
A July 2015 treasurer’s report listed revenue received from the village to be $805,412. A 2009 report provided to AdVantage News by Johnes detailed that total as $411,678.
The levy previously was reduced during a five-year span. In 2012 and 2013, it was reduced by 5 percent. In 2011, it was reduced by 10 percent. It was unchanged in 2014.
A vote on the 2015-16 levy will take place next month.
Stamper Lane improvements complete
Stamper Lane is once again open and ready for traffic. The stretch of road from Glazebrook Park to the Godfrey Knights of Columbus Hall has been closed for months for renovations and upgrades.
As of press time, work was continuing. Village engineer John Uhl said signage was scheduled to be installed this week, and striping of the crosswalk on Pierce Lane was scheduled, as well. Hydroseeding was done, but weather conditions may necessitate a return to the area for another round.
“The road is open, but there may be flagging of traffic during some work, which should be completed in a couple of weeks,” Uhl said.
Approximately 75 percent of the funding for the work came from federal funds, while the county funded the remainder.
Ordinance on bonfires in the village amended
The Village Board has approved an ordinance outlining guidelines for outdoor fires.
Recreational fires (outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish, leaves or yard waste not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplaces, barbecue grill or pit and has a total fuel area of three feet or less in diameter and two feet or less in height) can be conducted 25 feet or more from a structure or combustible material. Portable outdoor fireplaces (a portable, outdoor, solid fuel burning, propane or natural gas fireplace constructed of steel, concrete, clay or other non-combustible material) may be open in design, or may be equipped with a small hearth opening and chimney opening at the top and can be operated 15 or more feet from a structure or combustible material.
Tennessee prisoners hide out in Godfrey
The U.S. Marshal’s office and the Madison County Sheriff’s office scored big at a residence on Iroquois Drive, finding and arresting two escaped prisoners from Gibson County in Tennessee.
Jason Clapper, 32, and Joseph Isbell, 30 were hiding out in the house following a prison break when they were apprehended in Godfrey on Nov. 18. One of the men reportedly has ties to the local area. Clapper is a convicted sex offender, and Isbell has convictions for aggravated burglary and theft. A stolen Florida vehicle also was recovered at the scene.
Barricades discussed for problem area
Trustees are continuing to discuss solution options for a strip of road that has been the location of multiple accidents.
Lars Hoffman Crossing is a dead-end road that transitions into a cornfield. In July, a Chevrolet Tracker drove past the dead end, going airborne and landing in the field. The victim of the crash crawled to a nearby home for help. There also have been other incidents at that location.
Trustees are discussing the costs and liability involved with placing markers to make the dead end more visible, including barricades and rumble strips just past the last driveway.
Trustee Mike Stumpf said he feels the incidents are isolated.
“We are not going to stop every accident that happens in the village of Godfrey,” Stumpf said. “When we put up a barricade, do we now have a liability?”
Trustee Mark Stewart said he was concerned the area is not marked clearly enough as a dead-end road.