Richard Mersinger was a man of many hats in the village of Bethalto, serving as both the fire chief and the zoning administrator. In a surprising move last week, Mersinger made his intention to resign both positions known to village trustees before making the formal announcement at Monday’s regular meeting.
“He (Mersinger) resigned about a week and a half ago,” Mayor Alan Winslow said. “We have named one of the assistant fire chiefs, Alex Campbell, to be the acting chief until such time that the members of the fire department elect a new chief. Being a volunteer department, they are a separate organization from the village so they vote for their next chief and then submit their recommendation to the village trustees for acceptance.”
Winslow went on to say that Campbell is a longtime respected member of the fire department and that he is fully qualified to hold the post of acting chief until someone is named to the position.
Accepting the position as the new zoning administrator was Tim Brown, who has had many years of experience as a part-time employee within the zoning office.
“Tim (Brown) has already been through the proper ICC training for building and zoning,” Winslow said. “He really stepped up right after Rich (Mersinger) left. We (board of trustees) felt we should give him a shot at it and it seems like he is off to a really good start in the position. We are very optimistic that he will work out well.”
Mersinger caught village administrators by surprise when he submitted his resignation, but they say they have the right people to take his place.
“It’s my understanding that he was offered an opportunity he felt he couldn’t pass on,” Winslow said. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Trash service changes
The village has agreed to a contract extension with Allied through September 2021. Beginning Nov. 2, pickup service will go to once a week rather than the current twice per week through Republic Services and waste hauling.
“If a resident’s trash has been picked up on Monday or Tuesday, those days will not change; it’s the second pickup of the week that is now eliminated,” Winslow said. “Trash will no longer be collected on Thursday or Fridays.”
Residents are being offered recycle bins, free of charge and delivered from Republic to help offset the trash pickup days.
“It is our hope that under the new circumstances that residents will start using the recycling bins more than we have been,” Winslow said. “We have the lowest recycling rate in the area. We hope that with the reduction of trash pickup days, our village will take more advantage of the opportunity to recycle. All people need to do is call Republic and request a recycle bin.”
Bethalto residents will probably not see a significant reduction with the decrease in pickup days because the same amount of trash tonnage is being moved.
“The village is seeing a cost savings by cutting the pickup days in half,” Winslow said. “This is not something we really wanted to do, but facing a half million dollar cut from the state, this is the only cut in service that we’re looking at in order to balance the budget. We are using the savings from this to help offset the money that we’re losing.”
Winslow went on to explain that the Village Board is not comfortable with cutting the service in half and not giving the citizens something in return.
“It’s our intention in November when we pass our next tax levy, we will probably reduce that trash portion of that tax levy — the citizens will see some relief there,” he said.
The Rotary Club will have its annual Halloween Parade beginning at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28. A new route this year will consist of staging at 140/Prairie at The Bank of Edwardsville and Chapos. The parade will head north to the Village Hall complex. Costume judging will be held in the Village Hall Community Room and Senior Citizens Building that evening. Those who wish to enter a float may contact any Rotary Club member.
Trick-or-treating in Bethalto will be 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 30-31.
Public works crews will be doing hydrant flushing throughout October. Residents may notice periods of lower pressure and water discoloration.
For information, contact Village Hall at (618) 377-8051 or visit www.bethalto.com.