By John A. Ballentine
“I’m done with it, I don’t care if we never have another burn pile again, ever!” Village President Henry Waldinger emphasized. Waldinger spoke to the recent closing of Bradford’s yard waste burn area and a letter requesting it be reopened from a concerned resident.
“We, as a village, don’t have to provide a place to burn yard waste,” Waldinger stated. “We will start charging people to get rid of yard waste, because we don’t have to provide for residents to burn it. They have three days a week to burn it, Monday, Wednesday and Friday plus the third Saturday of the month, so surely they can find a day to burn the stuff.”
The board discussed having one day out of a two week period where residents could dump yard waste at the burn site with it being monitored for a two hour period. Yet, this would take time away from other duties of a village employee, if this occurred.
“People are going to have to understand what they can and can’t dump there. If they would take an interest in reading the ordinance, they would know what they could dump. Yard waste! That means grass, leaves and small branches! Not a whole tree like people have been bringing down there,” Waldinger said.
“Furniture and building material and every other thing you can think of people have been bringing down there,” Waldinger continued. This is the primary reason the burn pile area was closed. People were using the area for the village dumping ground, when in fact the purpose of the area was to provide residents an area for yard waste. Violations of the ordinance, which has continued over the past years, caused the board to permanently close the area.
Besides costing the village monetarily to properly dispose of the illegal items, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given the Village of Bradford notice that illegal burning of dumped items will result in severe fines for the village.
Waldinger explained, “We will keep burning yard waste there and it will smoke and there will be more complaints because the yard waste is wet or green, if that’s what the residents want. I don’t know why residents can’t take care of their yard waste themselves. I take care of my own yard waste and get rid of it by burning it in a barrel.”
Trustee John Cler inquired, “What about the EPA? If we start burning again, someone is going to contact the EPA?”
Waldinger answered, “The EPA is concerned about the stuff that’s not supposed to be burned. All kinds of illegal things were tossed into the village’s burn area – plastic, furniture and building materials.”
Therefore, the trustees have decided to fence the area off because of the illegal dumping that continues. Waldinger said, “I guess we will just have to have another ordinance to charge the residents to take yard waste down there, if that is the alternative.”
Trustee Bob Boehm suggested having people purchase stickers and yard waste bags. “It’s only so big of a bag so you can’t put a sofa in it.” Boehm again suggested that this situation would have to be monitored, which takes away time from village employees who would otherwise be completing their normal work.
In other action, the board approved the closing of Illinois Route 40 for the Labor Day Celebration this year. This is pending approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). If approved, Route 40 will be closed on Main Street, in Bradford, from 3 p.m. August 31 through 5 p.m. September 3rd.
The trustees approved membership for $230.40 per year to the North Central Illinois Council of Governments (NCICG). With the membership, the village will be able to request half-priced grant writing from the NCICG.
Also approved was a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) contract for the Highlands/Plaid Apron business venture. The amount of the TIF loan from the village is $40,000 over an eight year period.
Finally, the board of trustees will conduct a personnel committee meeting on June 18 at 7 p.m. to discuss employee compensation. Also, on June 27 at 7 p.m. there will be a committee meeting for the Labor Day Celebration.
By John A. Ballentine