Mahomet board approves annexation policy, community members raise caution

Village of Mahomet board members adopted an annexation policy during the regular board meeting Tuesday. The new policy will serve as a checklist to assist the village in future budgetary planning and land use.Before the policy approval, community members, including Louis Luksander, voiced their concerns."It (the annexation policy) will result in more taxes, bigger government, more government regulation, more government oversight," Luksander said.

According to Village President Sean Widener, the policy represents a positive step for the village of Mahomet and introduces transparency for the public and provides a sustainable future for Mahomet.

"We are essentially making it public and transparent that there are other factors, beyond the state granted rights, that the village of Mahomet considers when evaluating an annexation," Widener said. "This is nothing new, nor are we charting a new direction for this village. We are simply recognizing the various aspects of an annexation to ensure that this body can make informed decisions."

"The future of Mahomet is only sustainable if we take pause and consider what is truly in the best interest of the village," Widener added. "We have said it before many times, the village of Mahomet is strong and we will continue to make strides towards improving the quality of life for our residents."Other community members, such as Joan Jordan, simply asked that board members provide ample notice to any homeowner who may be involved in future annexations."I want you to know that we really need sufficient, not just a little, sufficient, meaning more than enough, notification of any kind of annexations to the subdivisions," Jordan said. "So keep that in mind as you start and begin to make decisions."

The village's attorney, Joe Chamley, reassured proper notification will be provided to homeowners in the event of annexation; however, he emphasized notification all depends on the type of annexation.

"It all depends on the nature of the annexation," Chamley said. "If it's by agreement, people voluntarily agreeing, that's different, but if it's any type of forcible annexation, absolutely there needs to be notice pursuant to state law. There needs to be notice to the individual property owners of the proposed action; it's all laid out in state law."

Board members also approved a contractual intergovernmental agreement with the Mahomet-Seymour school district to establish a school resource officer program. The school resource officer's duties include serving all four M-S schools beginning Aug. 1.

Other items approved included a resolution to increase the Mahomet Police Department's full-time, sworn staff from nine to 10 positions since Officer Bill Ward will be assigned as the school resource officer.

"The police department must continue to grow in order to maintain a high level of professional services," Chief Mike Metzler said.

Also approved was an ordinance amending sections of the Code Review and Appeals Board. The amendment changed the Cornbelt Fire Protection District chief's role from an ex-officio, nonvoting member to a voting member.

Board members also agreed to repeal ordinance 13-08-02 designating Jefferson Street as a one-way street between Union and Main streets.

"The one-way designation is no longer warranted," Village Administrator Patrick Brown said, in light of Sangamon Elementary School no longer serving as a school.

Other items approved include:

— Adoption of a new policy addressing quality based selection for federal funding of engineering services.

— The purchase of a 2018 Ford F-150 not to exceed $29,000.

— The declaration of the village's 2006 Ford Expedition as surplus. The SUV will be used as a trade-in to help pay for the new truck.

— Awarding Freehill Asphalt, Inc. $64,083.12 for the village's 2018 crack-sealing project.

— A $33,000 professional services agreement with Ehlers & Associates to complete phases II and II of the tax increment financing study to possibly designate downtown Mahomet and the Eastwood Drive area business districts as a combined TIF district.

— Construction plans for 32 single-family homes at the Prairie Crossing Fifth Subdivision.

— Construction plans for Phase II of the Thornewood Subdivision Fifth Addition.

— Construction plans for Vision South First Subdivision.

— A $19,500 contract with Metro-Ag Inc. for the removal, transportation and land application of approximately 500,000 gallons of sludge from the village's Wastewater Treatment Plant.

— An ordinance addressing the determination of prevailing wages.

Village board members will reconvene at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, for a study session. The Plan and Zoning Commission will follow at 7 p.m.

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