Dresden residents complain about services

John Christensen

The Dresden Village Board Jan. 24 meeting did not lack excitement. While Mayor Loujane Johns is recovering from serious illness in Florida, elected Trustee Tom McGuigan is acting mayor governing with Trustee Dan Egburtson, who was appointed by Johns to replace Dave Wernsing, who resigned in December, leaving a board meeting saying, “I’ve had enough!”

Highway Superintendent John Stryker was again absent because of past history and present disagreements with McGuigan.

In discussion of the work habits of the DPW, village resident Elizabeth O’Reilly questioned “plowing the streets at 5 a.m. on Sunday, with only an inch of snow on the ground and sparks flying off the plow, just to get overtime.”

Resident Tony Conley questioned the accountability and oversight of Stryker and the DPW workers, and suggested a time clock or a job specific scanner to log tasks and time.

McGuigan asked why there wasn’t paperwork in place to account for tasks done and the time they take. Clerk/Treasurer Terry Diltz said there was and had been for some time. McGuigan disputed this, at which point Diltz quickly retrieved the forms from the village office and presented them to McGuigan.

Some in the public objected to Diltz’s manner, and O’Reilly interjected, “Living in Dresden is like something out of a Stephen King novel. I live in fear... of recriminations from village employees.” To O’Reilly’s comment that she felt threatened, Diltz replied, “How do you think I feel?”

When contacted a few days after the meeting for a comment regarding the friction in Dresden government, Stryker said that the problem would probably only be resolved by the next village election (in March).

He added that things would be better if more residents came to the meetings and learned more about what was going on.

After calling the meeting back to order, McGuigan questioned how to ensure that work requested by residents doesn’t get forgotten. Conley suggested a “hotsheet” where jobs are entered, then crossed off when done. This could be posted in the village hall, and made an agenda item for board meetings.

Other business included:

• TREES: Trees in the village occupied a good deal of the discussion. Diltz maintained that it’s the tree committee’s job to make observations and decisions about tree maintenance. Conley said it was Stryker’s job, and he should be there to answer questions. Conley and O’Rielly both questioned using Covell’s for tree removal, claiming that they had both had much cheaper quotes from other firms.

McGuigan suggested that trees needing removal or pruning be put on a list, and that the village get competitive bids for all of them as a single job.

• UHF: Fire Chief Zimmerman corrected the minutes of the last meeting. A new UHF base station would cost $2000 per month rather than in total. Mobile units have no monthly cost.

• BUDGET: The decrease in employee salary raises from 3 to 1.5 percent will mean a 3.169 percent decrease in the tax rate.