By Barry Dalton
A number of concerned citizens attended the Vandalia Board of Aldermen meeting with their children on March 9 to support renovating the two ballfields at South School Park at a price tag of $26,134.
“What Little League has suffered from, in particular, is when it rains, we don’t have the ability to [finish] games after because of the type of dirt we have,” testified Ramsey Dickerman.
City Administrator Darren Berry stated that while some drainage issues at the park have been addressed, the ballfields at the park have additional drainage issues that need to be repaired.
“When there is a rain event, the fields still do not drain well and will hold water for days,” agreed Berry. “These renovations will allow the fields to absorb and drain water off quickly.”
Ramsey stated that ballfields in other nearby towns do not have this problem.
“I think we would get more use out of it, not just from the Little League but other organizations,” Ramsey added. “Just the Little League alone benefits up to 200 kids a year. That doesn’t include all of the families that come, and the other towns that come to play here, and their families, so it brings people into Vandalia.”
The board approved the renovations, which will be paid out of the Jordan-Waters fund.
Haden DNR bill
Berry and County Commissioner Alan Winders reported that they testified in Jefferson City on behalf of a bill sponsored by Rep. Kent Haden last week concerning excessive wastewater regulations.
“If you feel like, as city officials, that you’re bucking against a department that is making its own rules, enforcing its own rules and adjudicating its own rules, at it’s whim, then you’d be right,” Winders told the board. “That’s exactly what’s going on without regard to what it costs the ratepayers on your system.”
Vaccine clinic scheduled for March 15
The Arthur Center is bringing a COVID-19 vaccine clinic to the Tri-County Park in Vandalia on Monday, March 15, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the first dose; and on Monday. April 12 for the second dose. Details of eligibility are posted online.
Public meeting planned for March 22
A public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 22 at the Lange building to discuss an April ballot issue which will transfer the city’s 69K transmission line to Central Electric. This is part of an agreement with Central Electric to build a substation in Vandalia.
Electric bills to rise
February’s polar vortex may be in our rearview mirrors, but the bill to pay the heat we used is still in front of us. Because of the extreme cold weather, the city’s electric provider will charge Vandalia approximately $184,000 more than normal for electricity used over the winter. This will translate to an estimated $10 increase in monthly bills for customers over the coming year.
Meter testing deposits
The board also discussed raising the fee for customers who request that their utility meters be tested. The fee is currently $25 but the actual cost is $140.50 for electric meters and $250.50 for water meters, including replacement meters.
A request is typically triggered when a customer has experienced a larger than normal bill because their usage is higher. Berry noted that rarely has a meter test indicated that a meter is faulty.
A revised ordinance will be brought to the board for consideration next month.
South School Park fields in Vandalia. Photo by Barry Dalton