Infrastructure and property clean-up were top priority for the Freistatt Village Board of Trustees at its May meeting.
Mayor Mike Ortwein pushed through a motion to have the water system flushed twice a month, around the fifth and the 20th. Occasional flushing has been undertaken, especially during the summer months, to prevent an odor and rust build-up. Ortwein endorsed a more aggressive strategy and finally got a motion from fellow trustees to establish a flushing schedule, rather than leave it to the discretion of the village's water operator.
Ortwein wanted to get the long-discussed flush hydrant installed on the north-south line that runs from H Highway to the Lions Club land. However, water operator Charlie Ingram and other board members pointed out a trailer parked on an adjacent property would sheer off any hydrant should the owners try to move it.
Ingram said much of the village's problem comes from water growing stale in the long north-south line. He felt he could flush the line in 20 minutes from the south while running other chores in town. Ortwein reported odor issues had already started to surface this spring, making it important to begin flushing as soon as possible.
Having acquired 30 good water meters at a bargain price from Monett, village officials discussed a schedule for switching out older, hard-to-read meters in Freistatt. Several groups of 10 have been put together. Ingram said he would proceed once the weather dries. Trustees asked him to replace damaged meter boxes in the process.
Trustee Brian Paynter reported engineer Kevin Sprenkle was working on the design and layout for the crosswalk on H Highway at the Post Office. Paynter hoped in another month the shape of the project would be on paper to where trustees could act on it.
Ortwein reported the May 8 windstorm had blown down a highway sign by his business on H Highway. Trustees discussed three properties that need cleaning up and directed Clerk Deborah Schoen to send a letter asking for action on one house deemed inhabitable.
On the question of enforcing a ban on the noisy trucking practice of using jake brakes, slowing by downshifting, trustees doubted the value of pursuing the matter. Ortwein said up to 20 trucks a day practice jake braking by his shop every day. Clerk Schoen said she asked Monett Police Chief Tim Schweder about enforcement of Monett's ordinance and was told the ordinance has never been used.
"We might as well drop it," said Trustee Elmer Conway. Schoen reminded trustees county officers would only enforce county laws, not a town ordinance on noise.
While discussing nuisances, concern about several large roving dogs was voiced by several people. One dog had been seen in and out of town frequently over the past year, roaming widely, and did not seem to have an owner. Trustees agreed to send letters to owners informing them of village laws against allowing dogs to run free, if ownership could be determined.
Clerk Schoen reported that sewer averages had been calculated for the coming year, based on monthly use during winter months. She figured the village would take in $17 less per month for the rest of 2009. The addition of a new customer would even out the total.
Copies of the village's water and sewer system plans had been obtained from Simmons Engineering, thus making it easier to answer questions that have come up. Plans would be stored in the village hall, Schoen said.
The village took in $120 in late fees on water and sewer bills during March.