Village discusses unforeseen costs and burial plots


By Meladi Brewer

VERSAILLES — The Versailles Village Council discussed unforeseen costs at their last Wednesday meeting after starting with a new mayor in place and a new start to the meetings.

Mayor Todd Dammeyer opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and an opening prayer. He intends on opening every meeting with these pieces. The prayer for the Versailles Village Council – 2024 asks for justice and mercy, thanks God for the gift of life and the opportunity to serve the people of Versailles.

“Help us to act with character and conviction: help us to listen with understanding and good will; help us to speak with charity and restraint,” Mayor Dammeyer read. “Give us a spirit of service.”

The prayer asks for God to remind them they are stewards of His authority and to guide them to be the leaders God’s people need. The prayer is a way to remind the council why they are serving the Village and to do good by the people of the village.

“Help us to see the humanity and dignity of those who disagree with us, and to treat all persons, no matter how weak or poor, with the reverence your creation deserves,” Mayor Dammeyer said.

Finally, he prayed for the strength of God’s presence and joy of helping to build a community worthy of the human person to be renewed. The council concluded the pray with the intention of initiating the prayer through the rest of the year.

Moving on to new business, Village Administrator Kyle Francis advised the council they had talked about working with Access Engineering Solutions, LLC to get a Resident Project Representative (RPR) for the North Central Area Waterline Project.

“We will be needing this position here shortly as waterline piping will begin,” Francis said.

The budgeted cost is $50,000 to provide those services for the project. The village approved the village administrator to enter into the contract with Access.

The village is also working with Access Engineering for the 2024 Street Paving Project. It has been brought to Francis’s attention that an additional sanitary sewer main replacement and storm sewer installation is going to be required as part of the project. “This has increased the estimate now by $40,000,” he said.

There was $400,000 budgeted for the N. East Street and the paving project combined including the resurfacing. If it is needed, Francis advised he may request a re-appropriation of $50,346 into the projects so they can use the money right now for asphalt resurfacing which is how it is supposed to be used.

“A total of $50,346 was paid by CenterPoint for thier 2023 Street Opening Permit Fee at the beginning of January,” Francis said.

He said the money is receipted into the Street Fund and is to be used for street repairs only, but by re-appropriating it, they would be able to utilize the monies for the added costs within the project. If those funds are not used now, it will be incorporated into the 2025 Street Paving Project like in the past.

The village had discussions about purchasing a 2024 Chevrolet Equinox from Katterheinrich Chevrolet for $27,850.40 as a replacement vehicle per the village’s 2024 Capital Improvement Plan.

“We went out and got three prices for a village administrator’s vehicle,” Francis said. “We had put it in the budget for this year.”

Retired Village Administrator Mike Busse had been utilizing a retired police cruiser, and it was reported that vehicle had a lot of mechanical issues that would be more costly to fix than to replace.

“We are looking for a smaller SUV with all wheel drive, Francis said. “There is some shuffling of all the vehicles right now.”

The village will be selling a 2008 Chevy Impala on Gov Deals and the vehicle will be replaced. When the new SUV comes in, a Ford Explorer that is currently at the Water Plant will be replaced as well.

“We have a parks truck coming in. We don’t know when, but we are going to do some shuffling of our vehicles to get rid of some that are mechanically inefficient,” Francis said.

Delivery for the vehicle will be eight to 10 weeks and will be “plain Jane white”. Francis said he would like to propose getting vinyl lettering for the outside, so when the vehicle pulls up outside a residential house or business, they are recognizable.

“I like to pull up to someone’s house if I have a zoning issue or what have you and have that person know who it is right away,” Francis said.

He told council that no one likes to see city or state plates just show up to their house because then they start worrying about what is going on. He is proposing that the lettering be considered for all village vehicles.

The council also considered a recommendation from the Cemetery Board for the purchase and installation of a Columbarium at Greenlawn Cemetery costing $10,592 per the village’s 2024 Capital Improvement Plan.

“A columbarium is like a mausoleum but for cremains,” Francis said.

Cremations are becoming more popular, and the board would like to place the columbarium into the cemetery as an option. Right now individuals are buying plots to put the cremains in, and they would like to offer another option where the cremains can be places into a safe mausoleum style space with a plaque on the outside. Each individualized space within the columbarium will have room for up to two remains in the same space with a total of 48 spaces available.

“Last year there were 14 burials, and of those 14, nine were cremations,” Francis said.

The proposed columbarium will be placed on a lot not currently utilized within the cemetery. With the $10,000 being budgeted just for the columbarium, the village would also have to explore costs of installation, pouring a concrete walkway from the driveway and a foundation, etc.

Francis said there are a lot of small pieces that would go into the total cost for the project that have not been worked out yet, but the estimated costs on the initial installation with the concrete, columbarium, and labor is $19,287.88. of that $19,000, “$3,200 of it is the villages’s labor and equipment costs which will not be charges to the Cemetery Board”; therefore, the village’s total cost for the project will be closer to $16,000. These funds will be coming out of the Cemetery Board fund, but there is still discussion about consumer costs.

“We are going to have to sit down and figure our what the cost to purchase a spot in the columbarium is,” Francis said.

The next Versailles Council meeting will take place Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m., in the EMS Building, 320 Baker Road, Versailles.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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