CRESTON — At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Creston Village Board unanimously approved a lease agreement with Erik Petry to farm the village's land for the next year in the final year of his contract.
Petry will pay $350 per acre for use of the village's 144.6 acres for next year. He previously paid $310. The village plans to go out to bid for who will farm the land after 2023, Village President Tom Byro said.
"I think $350 is a really good deal," Byro said. "I've talked to some people around and there's higher and lower numbers. I think we came to a good agreement."
Village Treasurer Penny Payton said Creston's total tax levy will increase $1,049 for fiscal year 2023, totaling a $1.68 increase per resident, and the village will receive a grand total of $22,075. The levy will be up for approval at next month's meeting. The money is earmarked to help pay for the new maintenance and snow plow truck the village recently purchased.
Last month, the board unanimously purchased a 2022 Ford F-250 for a maximum cost of $70,000 along with a purchase of a snow plow and lights not to exceed $13,000. The truck has already been received and it is planned to have the snow plow added and get fully outfitted on Nov. 14.
Byro said the village has been encountering issues with residents moving out of the village and leaving garbage and large items at the curb expecting them to be picked up by garbage trucks.
"That is not their job," Byro said. "Their job is to pick up one large item besides the can. We're trying to figure out some way to get to these people and tell them they can't unload the whole house in their yard."
Village Clerk Jennifer Payton said Northern Illinois Disposal's website has a feature where they can be notified of large items that need to be picked up.
"I think if we can get them notified that there's stuff to be picked up, they'll pick it up," Payton said. "But they need to know if there's going to be a bunch of stuff there. We don't want the stuff sitting out there for two weeks."
Payton said she plans to put a letter together for residents to remind them of village garbage policy. Residents that place more than the allowed amount at the curb and have it picked up will be charged for it. The letter will also remind residents that yard waste pickup occurs the same week as recycling pickup does. Yard waste pickup ends Nov. 25 weather permitting.
Trustee Mike Kerns said during the meeting that he's had discussions recently with residents about abandoned properties and homes in the village with yards in disrepair and ordinance violations occurring with vehicles and garbage on lawns.
"We have to do something about that," Kerns said. "I know we've been trying, but it seems like we've been trying for years."
Village Building Inspector Casper Manheim and Village Attorney Russell Crull said they would work on the new complaints and add them to a list of abandoned properties they've been working on getting cleaned up through complaints and litigation.
Manheim said he's been working on reports for six different properties with issues in the village over the past month. Four involve house demolitions.
"We're working on them," Manheim said. "It's just taking time. We'll try to get as many cleaned up as we can."
Trustee Mark Hibshman told the board about a two-vehicle accident that occurred over the weekend on North Main Street and inquired about the idea of adding a stop sign at its intersection with Cederholm Street.
"It's just something to think about," Hibshman said. "That's a pretty long stretch between Illinois Route 38 and the train tracks."
Byro said the village will look into the idea of adding a stop sign and Village Engineer Kevin Bunge said a stop sign would require meeting warrant requirements to add.
"I'm wondering what's going to happen when the new library goes in on that corner," Byro said. "It might be a good time to get it in there. There will be people walking across the street going to the library."