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Dorchester doing check on applicant

Dorchester could hire a new police offi cer as soon as next month after an applicant was chosen last week to undergo a background check and other pre-employment exams. The village’s police committee met Dec. 10 and decided to proceed with the next step in the hiring process following the Dec. 5 interviews of two applicants.

Linda Baumann, chair of the police committee, told the village board at its Dec. 7 meeting that just two of the original eight applicants showed up for job interviews, but one of them is already a sworn officer who could be hired relatively quickly pending a successful background check and pysch/physical exam.

The committee plans on making a recommendation to the village board at its next meeting on Jan. 6, according to deputy clerk-treasurer Christie Erikson.

Meanwhile, a contract between the village and Clark County Sheriff’s Department for temporary police protection is still waiting to be implemented, pending a final review by the village attorney.

The village board approved the proposed contract in November, but it was contingent on changes recommended by the village’s insurance company. Village attorney Bonnie Wachsmuth made the changes proposed by the insurance company, the board was told last week, but it was unclear if the county had also signed off on those changes.

The contract had not been signed yet, so it’s unlikely that a sheriff’s deputy will be assigned to patrol the village until the start of 2021, village officials said.

In October, the village board voted to spend up to $4,000 per month on police protection from the county. The first version of the contract specified an average of 30 hours per week, but the actual number of hours per week will vary depending on whether the deputy is working regular or overtime hours.

The board also voted last week to make $8,500 in upgrades to the village’s squad vehicle in order to comply with the needs of the sheriff’s department, which recently inspected the vehicle. The upgrades include an update to the on-board computer system and the purchase of spike strips and a rifle.

New clerk-treasurer

Sue Ballerstein, the village’s newly hired clerk-treasurer, was formally introduced to the board on Dec. 10.

Ballerstein comes from a banking background, having spent the last 17 years working at Advantage Community Bank. Her most recent position at the bank was compliance/BSA officer.

“In that position, I was responsible for the bank’s compliance program with federal and state laws and regulations and various reporting requirements,” she said.

Ballerstein grew up in Edgar and now live in the town of Frankfort.

Other business

_ The board approved the village’s 2021 budget, with about $1 million in expenses and a property tax levy of $235,193, an increase of $1,953 over 2020.

_ DPW Clint Penney reminded board members that winter parking rules are in effect as of Nov. 15, so on-street parking between the hours of 2 and 7 a.m. is not allowed until April 15.

_ The board took no action on fulfilling a raze order issued against two unsafe structures attached to the house at 128 S. Second St. Trustee Daniella Schauer, who was assigned by the board to work with someone who submitted a bid to tear down the structures, said she was not ready to present a proposal.

“Right now the negotiations are on hold on pending some further information that has been received,” she said.

_ During public comment, resident Terry Recore complained about trucks revving their engines on Second Street and someone shooting off fireworks in the village. He also objected to the structures on his 128 S. Second St. property targeted by the village’s raze order.

“There’s nothing wrong with none of that,” he said.

Schauer told him that he should know by now what needs to be torn down.

“You know what’s in the raze order, so stop saying other things that are not true,” she told Recore.

_ The board approved motions to donate $1,500 each to the Dorchester Cemetery Association and Dorchester Park Corporation, to help those organizations take on the costs of handling their employees’ payroll. In the past, the village handled payroll for those two entities, but following the advice of the village attorney, those groups will now be handling their own payrolls.

_ The board tabled a discussion on possibly raising sewer rates until trustees could get more information about the utility’s current revenues.

_ The board approved several updates to the village’s ordinance book, pending a review by the village attorney.

_ The board voted to pay off 2019 loan, $18,000 plus interest, used to pay for the remodeling of the new clerk’s office building on Parkside Drive. The original loan amount was $35,000 from Advantage Community Bank.

_ The board approved motions to transfer $60,000 from the water utility fund and $41,500 from the general fund into the village’s future expenditure account. Of that amount, $22,500 was designated for the police department, $15,000 for street projects and $4,000 for the bus garage at the village hall.

_ The board scheduled the village caucus for the April 6 election on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m., which will be immediately followed by the board meeting.

Those up for reelection in 2021 include village president Kurt Schwoch and trustees Clarence “Clem” Klimpke, Keith Lageman and Eric Klemetson.