By Woodrow Polston
Members of the Vandalia Board of Aldermen met for regular session on Tuesday, May 9 at the Lange Building on Park Street. Action items on the agenda included a request from the Vandalia Area Fair Board for assistance with funding a new sewer line. Other work to be funded by the fair board would include new restrooms, and an expanded RV campsite. City Administrator Darren Berry said that this will be crucial in the months and years to come.
“This is a much needed addition for Vandalia,” said Berry. “Looking into the near future, there is going to be some instances where out of town contractors will be working on various projects around Vandalia. These projects include a solar panel farm, Construction of windmills, and a gas line,” he added.
This is the third time that the Fair Board has asked the city for financial assistance. The last two times included requests to help with infrastructure for the fairgrounds. This is the largest of the three requests, despite the last two requests being denied. Berry said that the reason he was recommending approval of the funds for this request is directly related to the 10-space RV Park.
“On several occasions, city hall has received inquiries from various contractors who have been working in or around Vandalia. They have been seeking information about some place where they can park their RV while they are working in the area. The closest RV Park is several miles out of town. Unfortunately, this could be setting a precedent for the future, opening the door for other organizations to start asking for money from the city. Of course, if this does happen in the future, each request will need to be evaluated to see if it would be beneficial to Vandalia. Furthermore, none of the work will be performed by city employees,” said Berry.
After brief discussion, Alderman Shaw made a motion to approve the request from the Vandalia Area Fair Board for $15,681 to install a sewer line to their new food stand, bathrooms, and a 10-spot RV camper site. Alderman Wenzel seconded the motion. The vote was split in a 3-3 tie, resulting in Mayor Ralph Kuda having to cast a yes vote to approve the request. Fair Board member Frank Wallace said that he approached the aldermen ahead of the meeting to give them insight about the request.
“I spoke with the aldermen individually ahead of the meeting,” said Wallace. “The last time that the fair board requested assistance there was little opportunity to discuss the details of the request. Having that in mind, I was able to speak with them to give a better understanding of what the fair board was doing. The mayor broke the tie, despite the fact that I had not discussed it with him ahead of time,” he added.
During the city administrator’s report, Berry discussed other business that was taking place around Vandalia.
“On April 19, the DNR conducted a sanitary survey of our water system. It usually takes around 30 days before we hear back from them on their findings. Also, the DNR is currently conducting a GEO Inspection at our city reservoir. When this inspection is completed, it will reveal if we have enough water storage in our lake to get through a drought situation. The inspection should also determine if the reservoir needs to be dredged or not. The last time the reservoir was dredged was sometime in the late 1970s. Also, The Public Works Department has poured the new concrete pad for the basketball court at South School and now we are waiting for the new basketball hoops to be delivered so they can be installed. With no further discussion, meeting adjourned.