The Watch | Springdale sees increase in burials, cremations



Whatever 2020 throws at us, your government leaders are finding a way to grind it out. Springdale Cemetery Authority met Aug. 18, using Webex. Manager Mark Matuszak reported the number of burials and cremations is up considerably over last year. He cited the Scattering Garden option for the increase. A substantial family monument and lot purchase opportunity is in process. There have been several large family monument/lot additions in the past several years; three are in negotiations. Matuszak discussed storm damage to the grounds, particularly on May 26 and July 31. Three roads had to be closed and about a dozen century-plus trees were uprooted and had to be removed.

On Aug. 19, Peoria City County Landfill Committee met via Zoom, or phone, on time and without public comment. Josh Gabehart presented the Foth Infrastructure and Environment engineering report. He noted changes made last year to increase pre-approval tonnages have added to landfill revenues. Storms and power outages resulted in two landfill gas flare shut-downs, but the equipment worked as designed. There were no gas releases to the environment. On the flip side, some good weather allowed repair projects to proceed. About 50,000 gallons of landfill leachate were transported to off-site treatment in June and July. Total landfill waste is down 1,735 tons, compared to the same point in 2019. However, the same thing is happening at landfills across the country and it is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no recommendations for budget or other changes at this point.

Peoria County Board met Aug. 13 in person in the county building board room, using social distancing guidelines and COVID masks. Vice Chairman James Fennell presided in place of Chairman Andrew Rand. Matt Windish also was absent; members Phil Salzer and Linda Daley participated by phone. County Clerk Rachael Parker read public comments in support of the Hanna City Trail from Wildlife Prairie Park, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club and Bike Peoria. Brett Baker of Bike Peoria offered a petition with 1,719 signatures in favor of the trail.

The major item of business was an Intergovernmental Agreement between Peoria County, the City of Farmington, Fulton County and the Village of Hannas City to form the Hanna City Trail Negotiation Commission. Roughly 24.7 miles of right-of-way that has been rail-banked for years would be acquired for the project. The Federal Government has said this is the last chance since there have been extensions in the past. If the project cannot go forward the land will be released from rail-banking and sold. County Administrator Scott Sorrel explained federal grant funding could cover 80% of the purchase cost. Twenty per cent would be a local match, with state grants paying up to half. The board’s $170,225.80 pledge would come from the Keystone Fund, which is used exclusively for economic development. Sorrel said trail projects are “classic examples” of economic development. District 1 representative Sharon Williams was commended for years of work on the project and would be the board’s representative. The vote to approve was unanimous.

On Aug. 11, Peoria County Election Commission members held their annual meeting and swore in new member Dr. Arun Pinto, who replaced the retiring LaColis Reed. Matt Bartolo was reelected chairman. They learned the State’s Attorney’s office had determined three Libertarian candidates had valid petitions and would be on the ballot. They were also told the state of Illinois will reimburse for COVID costs such as face masks/shield, hand sanitizers and finger covers. Board members discussed the 2021 budget request to the county board. With local elections only, expenses should be lower. But the current voting system is 16 years old and must be replaced soon. Director Tom Bride was asked to put a half-time position back in the 2021 budget.

Peoria Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners met Aug. 3 via Zoom. Chief Executive Officer Jackie Newman reported on COVID-19 precautions. Safety equipment and materials are being stocked; they await more directions for continuous compliance. Among the resolutions approved, the board agreed to participate in a University of Illinois at Springfield study on racial equity, repair/replace windows and doors at Harrison Homes, purchase furniture that will be easily disinfected and replace carpet with a hard washable flooring in the Administrative Building.

League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria observers attend and report on local government meetings. Check

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