Chapin Village Board debates fair utility tax distribution

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    Chapin Village Board members discussed how the utilities taxes are distributed at its May meeting.
    Currently proceeds from the tax are shared among the village police and fire departments and the rescue squad. The village fire department and rescue squad along with the Chapin Rural Fire Department then pay the village a per vehicle rental fee of $2500 annually to store each vehicle in the fire department bays. This practice has been in place for decades.
    Proponents now contend this policy favors the police department and disfavors the other three departments. The board contends the fee is to cover utilities, maintenance and insurance on the building. Village attorney Allen Yow was asked to research the agreement and bring his findings back for additional discussion at the next meeting to be held June 10.
    In the utilities/streets department report, the heavy rains on April 25 caused some issues that required repairs to the water treatment plant. An emergency order was enacted and the north lift station put in operation to open drains and alleviate flooding.
    Elsewhere, crews will begin to survey village streets and culverts in need of repair this summer. Funds will be used from the motor fuel tax account. The village won a recent bid on a 1995 dump truck/snowplow that will be put in service soon. Village street employees will obtain a CDL license to operate the vehicle.     
    The annual water/sewer increase will commence with the delivery of the June bill. Water and sewer rates will increase by 3%.
    Police officers worked 63 hours over 11 days as indicated in their report.
    The rescue squad reported seven calls for service last month, raising the year to date number to 27 calls. All meetings and trainings have been suspended for the time being due to the governor’s stay-at-home directive. The same holds true for the village fire department also.
    The rescue squad received some funds recently from the federal CARES Act for transporting Medicare patients during the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional N-95 masks were approved for purchase for members along with disinfectant to clean and sanitize the rigs. Also approved were required immunizations for all members. The village will cover the costs.
    Firefighters responded to a reported gas leak on Merritt Road on April 28. Firefighters have been participating in online trainings during the last month.
    A public hearing will be held prior to the regular meeting in June. The hearing will begin at 6:45 p.m. and focus on the nearly completed sewer upgrade. The meeting will be held at the American Legion building to provide for social distancing.