Oglesby to hire new officer, maybe one for IVCC

Winter light bills to climb $1.30 per month, but it’s temporary

Oglesby is expanding its police force to limit the hours when one officer is on duty and, tentatively, to help out Illinois Valley Community College, too.

Monday, the Oglesby City Council recommended the Fire and Police Board hire a new police officer, an addition that will increase the availability of officer backups. A second hire is being discussed to serve IVCC.

“We are in negotiations with the college for a full-time police officer out there,” said Mayor Dom Rivara. “The second is to try to fulfill our commitment to keep two (officers) on duty at all times. It’s a safety issue with us.”

Oglesby Police Chief Doug Hayse explained the new hire, whose salary is to be paid with drug funds, is being added to minimize the time slots when one officer is on patrol. Hayse said backup officers have been a priority since a late-December incident in which two officers were shot at (without injury) and the new hire will cut down on single-officer patrols by 83%.

That hire was readily approved. The council voted 4-0 (Commissioner Jim Cullinan was absent) to approve an additional officer paid with drug funds.

As for IVCC, the college has long enjoyed Oglesby police services but at time and a half; the city agreed to create one position to give the college a more cost-effective rate and for more expanded hours of service.

The IVCC hire is pending. Commissioners Tom Argubright and Jason Curran said they weren’t necessarily opposed to the hire but insisted on seeing the intergovernmental agreement with IVCC before approving the deal.

Separately, Oglesby residents can expect a bump on their light bill this winter — $1.30 a month — due to a miscalculation that led to a shortfall of $80,000.

Commissioner Tom Argubright said the city actually wanted to give residential customers a break. A consultant miscalculated the total, however, and there will be a temporary surcharge to make up the difference.

The temporary surcharge will come off the books May 1.

In other matters, the council:

  • Accepted a third-quarter report from the building inspector showing projects valued at $233,802.
  • Agreed to seek bids for the demolition of the Reizner Building located at 246 W. Walnut St., to be paid with grant money.
  • Announced branch chipping will be the week of Nov. 22
  • Confirmed trick-or-treating will be 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31. Rivara declined to follow La Salle and Peru in transferring the event to Saturday.