Sycamore hears resident concerns

SYCAMORE – Sycamore Village Council kicked off its meeting Tuesday with a bevy of resident issues.

Upset Sycamore resident Robin Mitchem said the water in one of the apartments that she leases had been turned off due to almost $700 in unpaid bills. She previously evicted the residents at 326 Kilbourne St. for not paying their bills, and requested the water be turned off so the bill didn’t grow any further. Jim Gucker, village solicitor, informed Mitchem that as water is a municipal utility, they couldn’t turn the water off at her request.

Mitchem expressed anger as she was responsible for the bill, and she wanted the village to track down the previous renters to have them pay the bill. Gucker told her it is an unfortunate risk that a lessor takes when renting out properties and that she should screen potential tenants better.

She also had a concern with standing water on her property on 7th Street. Because of its location, much of the snow was plowed into the yards in her area and the quick melt last week caused pooling and intense muddy conditions that prevent her and neighbors from going into their yards. Mitchem questioned whether it was caused by the village grading the alley that connects with her driveway. Chuck Clark, village administrator, said it is not caused by the grading and that tiling options could be explored to run extra water off.

Lastly, she questioned how the village was going to estimate electric bills for the month and asked if it was an indefinite action, to which Clark said that they would take last month’s bill and use it as an estimate and that it is just for the month of February. If a resident feels the bill is inaccurate, they can pay what they wish and can make up any difference when the meters are read next month.

Residents Don and Lois Hufford were in attendance, asking about utility bill deadlines and why they were fined a late fee for their bill when they mailed it in two days prior to it being due. Councilwomen Darcy Zimmerman and Dawn Needles and Councilman Ralph Decker said they cannot control the post office, and Gucker said the bill must be in the office on the 15th of the month or it is considered late, regardless of when it is mailed, and said the best way to ensure timeliness is to hand-deliver payment.

In unfinished business, Council President Vicki Weininger, filling in for the absent Mayor Boucher, moved for the Records Retention Committee to destroy income taxes from 2004 and before, which passed.

In new business, Needles moved to increase electric revenue from $683,000 to $700,000, and increase street revenue from $36,000 to $66,500, which also passed.

Bryan Clouse, fire chief, said Fire Lieutenant Bob Campo was retiring from his position after 15 years, but that he was staying on as a firefighter and EMT. Denny Parsell also is retiring from the fire department after 26 years and three years as a first responder, and he is hoping to have a gathering for him in April.

Clouse said the last available fire class is Saturday, and the annual meeting with the fire department is March 17.

The EMS billing email,, has been set up and is to be placed on the header of bills sent out. A billing answering machine also has been set up.

The emergency fire fund was again discussed. Clouse said he is meeting with Chris Moler, treasurer, as well as the bank and dealerships to find out the amount of a deposit if a new truck is found soon. Decker reminded Clouse of calling an emergency meeting if necessary, which Weininger said four of six members must attend.

Finally, Decker asked about implementing a Block Watch for the village. Gucker said he’d do research on different village programs and thought it was a great idea.

Council is to meet at 7:30 p.m. March 12.