O'Fallon Progress

Yorktown continues to stew in Shiloh

With bouts of heated arguing between trustees over plans on moving forward with items concerning Yorktown Golf Course, the Village of Shiloh Board of Trustees still voted to approve all items on the Monday, March 23, Committee at Large agenda to be forwarded to the April 6 Regular Board meeting for final vote.

With the hour long meeting followed by an executive session concerning personnel and purchase or lease of real estate, all trustees, Village Administrator John Marquart, Mayor Jim Vernier and Shiloh’s legal counsel Terry Bruckert, as well as Police Chief Jim Stover, Village Engineer Norm Etling and Village Clerk Brenda Kern were in attendance.

Trustees Mark Kurtz and Kurt Burrelsman inquired about the items regarding Yorktown such as line items on the 2015 proposed budget, a motion to go forward with obtaining a liquor license through means of an ordinance under the Administration and Personnel committee and a motion to accept the lowest bidder for culvert replacement and Yorktown Lake dam overflow work.

According to Etling, a total of nine bids were opened for the referenced project in the beginning of March.

“JPK (Construction, of Nauvoo, Ill.) was the low bidder at $63,0962.50,” Etling advised. “Please consider awarding the project to JPK.”

The next three lower bids were from Gelly Excavating and Construction, of Trenton at $63,941.80, Hayes Construction, of Monticello, Ill., at $77,888.20 and Haier Plumbing and Heating Inc, of Okawville at $83,209.55.

More specifically, the bone of contention lay with the trustees asking when administration would be collecting bids from golf management companies to handle the day-to-day operations and financial responsibilities so the village would not be bogged down with additional decision making and management responsibilities.

It was communicated by Marquart, Warchol and Vernier that wouldn’t be happening any time soon because they trust the current person and his limited staff to handle the course on a daily basis.

Warchol responded immediately with a raised voice and pointed finger touting, as she referred to as, “...these are the facts! We all decided in open session that we would let Scott Barkhaus (previous owner of the course) continue to run the operations at Yorktown in the interim because he knows about it and has had his hands in it for 12 years and we don’t know enough about what all needs to be done and what not.”

Kurtz begged the question whether or not that was in open session or closed, because he did not recall ever voting on any decisions other than to purchase the golf course.

“Well maybe you weren’t here and need to catch up on your minutes from the meeting you missed—because we all talked about it and voted on this in open session to let Scott take care of it. Everyone agreed that we were going to let him handle it until we made a different plan.” Warchol retorted. “We can’t just stop running it until we know what the numbers will look like, that’s why we are going on old numbers.”

Burrelsman made his opinion known when he said, “That’s true, but it’s been months and we should have a contract, or at least a proposal for a contract.”

Marquart chimed in stating that a contract will be drawn up for next year.

According to a Sept. 25, 2014, memo to the board, Marquart asserted that based on estimates there would be nearly $200,000 in work needed to be completed to bring the course up to better working status ranging from electrical and plumbing to handicapped accessible standards.

“Our anticipated contract is (Scott) runs the place. This is his deal. He’s going to hire the grass cutters and the employees and we’re going to pay him X amount of dollars to do so,” Vernier explained.

Marquart then said the village would be hiring employees, so it remains unclear who a contract will be drawn up with at this point.

Burrelsman then said while consistently being interrupted by Warchol, “But in the beginning when we bought the course, we were going to get proposals, and all these line items (in the proposed 2015 budget) would be on one line item and we wouldn’t have to touch it. And, we’ve had four months to make this happen, I mean isn’t that why we hired an administrator for. I understand it has to keep running, but we should have proposals before us (so our budget is clearer).”

“...It’s a budget, it’s not accurate, this is what we think it’ll cost to run it next year,” Warchol said.

“All I want to see is the revenue,” Vernier said.

During the meeting, Warchol asked other members if it had happened in open session or not, and most nodded in agreement with Warchol.

After the meeting the Progress received information through e-mails anonymously that had been forwarded between Kern, Kurtz, Marquart and other board members the day following the meeting.

“Just looked through and I was wrong—discussion of the golf course operation was all in Closed Session—we had a board consensus—no vote—in Closed Session to keep the course operating as it was being operated to give us time to get everything switched over and set up,” Kern stated. “The Board anticipated at least a year before we would be in the position to make decisions on operation of the golf course. John has been working to get a contract, insurance, etc., set up to keep it operating as it currently was—his goal was to get it in place by the start of golf season. Official board action was to come when they had the details worked out. I know John mentioned he will have something for the next committee meeting. We did vote in open session to buy the golf course—that is what I was thinking about.”

An e-mail was then forwarded from Kurtz to all board members stating, “As I suspected my memory did not fail me. We have not discussed nor made any recommendations in open session. I will concur with Brenda that we did discuss in closed session the handling of the golf course management and there were many ideas floated including placing an RFP.

“To protect the Village and our constituents we need to get these items handled quickly. I believe this is one reason why we hired an administrator; however, things continue to be postponed or not brought to the board for our final decisions. The issue of how this contract is managed may not in some degree be seen as a major issue, but we have major issues out there with workman’s compensation and general liability insurance that need to be in place for the village to be protected.

“Again the issue for me is that this needs to be brought to the board and discussed and a contract of some type be in place. We need to stop the axiom of it is better to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission. As that is going to burn us all if we don’t start operating as a board.

Marquart declined to comment in regards to the emails regarding Yorktown.

“A discussion was had between elected officials, and we are still working on moving forward with the golf course,” Marquart noted. “We’re making a lot of progress though.”