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Recently a resident made us aware of a fence that was put in along 85th Court. They noticed that public works employees were putting in a wooden decorative fence on what seemed to be the easement of the property.  The property owner, who happens to be the current Chief of Staff and also the interim Public Works director, had approached the village board about doing this because of several incidents where cars had ran up onto his property and he felt it was a safety concern. When the installation of this was questioned at a recent town hall meeting the residents were advised that the property owner paid for the materials and the labor himself and had filed three police reports complaining about the incidents where damage was done to his property by vehicles that did not stop. However after filing freedom of information act requests for the years  2007-2009 requesting information regarding vehicles leaving the roadway onto the property the only reported incident on file was for a hit and run accident that did not result in any property damage.

While this is a legitimate safety concern to the home owner there are several other similar intersections in town that have the same problem and those were repaired with far less decorative fencing and they have safety reflectors attached to the post.  By allowing this to happen it sets a precedent in our Village to allow residents to ‘hire’ public works for various jobs. While this can be appreciated as generating revenue because of the current economy and state of Village finances there are more serious questions that need to be asked here.  If our Public Works Department is for hire for handyman jobs around the village, when will they be doing the standard daily part of their jobs that benefit all the residents? What would happen while doing one of these ‘handyman’ jobs if a worker was injured, does the Village then assume liability for that injury?  Will you have to apply for village permits for these types of situations? Will the village have to be licensed and bonded to be doing this type of work?  It seems there are many unanswered questions and several situations that leave the rest of the residents out.

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