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3/3/2009 2:53:00 PM
Village of Mt. Auburn studies fate of school building


Breeze-Courier Writer

MT. AUBURN - A special committee was created to explore options for re-development of the elementary school at Monday night's regular meeting of the Mt. Auburn Village Board.

"There may be a lot of potential and a lot of opinions, but we need strong, hard thought on this idea," said village mayor Ken Copenbarger, who received a letter from Taylorville CUSD Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau about a meeting with the district concerning the future of the building.

The school district voted last year to close the school and West Elementary in Taylorville at the end of the 2008-09 school year due to declining enrollment in the district and a need to consolidate buildings.

A committee of Dean Bottrell, Donnie Henderson, Barb Hardy, Copenbarger, Tim Butcher and Mark Coffey was selected from the board and the community to develop a course of action and meet with representatives from the school.

"This could be a great opportunity for the village," continued Copenbarger. "What we need is a contractor who would be willing to develop a business or businesses in the facility that would create jobs and tax revenue."

"The key in the whole thing is timing," said Tim Butcher, who is a member of the Golf Park Boosters Club.

The Bruce Hohenstein Memorial Park, which includes a three-hole golf course developed by the village and golf boosters, is located between the school building and the ag plot, both owned by the school district.

Copenbarger, Butcher and Coffey met with Dr. Fuerstenau and other representatives of the school district about two weeks ago after receipt of the letter.

"I think they really want to work with the town," added Butcher.

The committee agreed to meet again on Wednesday, Mar. 4, at 7:00 p.m. at the village hall.

Discussion about the future of the building will be an agenda item for the Taylorville CUSD Board of Education meeting Monday night, according to Dr. Fuerstenau this morning.

Copenbarger said he has already contacted two contractors about the possibility of some type of development on the property, with an exercise gym, food service and/or some type of housing among the options.

Village Attorney Rocci Romano attended the meeting to review procedures related to opening and reviewing village mail and information from the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act as it pertains to village operations.

The board tabled action on the minutes of February's regular meeting, after Copenbarger and some board members requested clarification on several points in the minutes as presented.

"This was a very controversial meeting and should be documented correctly," said board member Barb Hardy, as she made the motion to table action on the minutes, which was seconded by Donnie Henderson.

"The minutes should be an adequate record of your official actions," said Romano, as he urged board members to become familiar with information in a handbook from the Illinois Municipal League that he cited during his discussion.

Rick Clayton and Jeremy Clayton voted against tabling the minutes.

Much of last month's meeting dealt with administrative procedure after a letter was received from the Internal Revenue Service about possible delinquent filings that was opened by Finance Committee Chairman Dixie Vincent.

In other business, the board:

-approved appointment of Romano as village attorney, retroactive to May 1, 2008;

-discussed status of problems with the IRS related to village's delinquent 941 forms and discrepancy between W2s and W3s from 2006;

-heard a report from Street and Alley Committee Chairman Rick Clayton that he was still working to get street lights all working properly;

-approved the Treasurer's Report for February and vendor bills for March in the amount of about $3050, plus invoices from AmerenIP and Christian County FS;

-learned that a grant application for new playground equipment has been submitted;

-authorized the mayor to purchase new software for the computer; and

-discussed the purchase of a new computer in the near future.

Members of the Finance Committee will meet on Wednesday, Mar. 4, at approximately 2:00 p.m. to attempt to make a conference call to the IRS to discuss current problems with payment of payroll taxes and missing paperwork.

Members of the Water Committee and the Ordinance Committee will meet on Wednesday, Mar. 18, at 7:00 p.m. in the village hall.

The next regular meeting of the Mt. Auburn Village Board will be held on Monday, April 6, at 7:00 p.m. in the village hall.

Jane Long can be reached at or 824-2233.

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