Billtown hires
water overseer

For The Weekly Post

WILLIAMSFIELD – The village is to contract with a new overseer for its water system, although an in-house alternative might assume that job eventually.

TEST Inc. of Bushnell is to be paid $500 monthly to visit the Williamsfield water plant each week, maintain the reverse-osmosis system and keep up with government-mandated paperwork. TEST provides the same function for other west-central Illinois municipalities.

Village trustees approved the expense Monday night. Village President Robert Johnson said the length of the contract hasn’t been finalized. The village’s current water-treatment operator, Larry Lawson of Oneida, is retiring. He was charging the village $300 a month, according to Johnson.

“(It’s) pretty reasonable, considering the expertise,” he said about the TEST charge. “Our water plant is the high-techiest of all of them, because of reverse osmosis. With ours, we’re filtering out all kinds of stuff.”

The village has workers who handle basic day-to-day operations at the plant. One of them, Braden Boyer, was hired recently and is being groomed to handle what Lawson did. But it’ll be a while before Boyer has the requisite experience, according to Johnson.

“Eventually, he’ll be the guy, hopefully, to do that,” the village president said. “Right now, we’ve got to rent somebody.”

At least one Billtown resident wants to continue to use village water, even if he no longer wants his property within village limits.

Richard Miller, who resides at the far north end of town, told trustees he is considering asking Knox County officials if he can detach his 60 or so acres of property from the village. Miller said he wants to use his land for farming and livestock and isn’t sure if village ordinances allow that.

“We’ve got more city than you guys do,” Miller said jokingly about the size of his spread.

Miller said he’d like to maintain his hookup to the municipal water system post-detachment. Johnson said he’ll check with the village attorney to see if that’s possible.

The board also authorized spending up to $800 to replace a furnace on the second story of the village hall. The area is used for storage, but Johnson said a furnace there is necessary to maintain the structural integrity of the building, among other reasons.

“That furnace has seen better days,” Johnson said. “I was almost like, ‘Do we have to shovel coal into this one?’ Because it was pretty antique-ey looking.”

The village probably will purchase the furnace from a home-improvement store, Johnson said.

Following a closed session, trustees approved a 3.2% cost-of-living raise for village employees.