By Sue Moore
Complaints from citizens living near the Leja Industrial Park over odors emanating from the MLC building were heard by the Vicksburg Village Council at its mid-January meeting.
Richard Underwood, 212 4th Street, was pleased to know that the noise from the processing plant had been cut in half with a new stack installed recently. But there is still smoke and a smell coming from the building. It bothered him, he said, adding his research showed that there was cyanide being emitted. “Perhaps this is another Flint on our hands. You’ve made the wrong person mad. It isn’t pleasant.”
Fourth Street resident Denise Leitch spoke about the apples the plant was processing. “It means I can’t go outside in the summer. I want to know what is in the smoke. I think it’s cyanide coming from the apple seeds. Then we find out they can purchase land and build more buildings in the park.”
Trustee Colin Bailey answered that the purchase agreement for expansion has expired and that a buyer from Minnesota now has controlling interest in the plant. Village Manager Jim Mallery said that the state environmental inspectors inspected the property in the fall. “They said they would contact the village if there were any issues and we haven’t heard anything. With the noise issue the company has been responsive even though the state said the noise was within the accepted decibel level.”
Trustee Ron Smith agreed it was a nuisance. “The current ordinance doesn’t fit this situation. We are looking at different options.”
Earlier in the meeting, Jeff Rood from Siegfried Crandell’s audit department was complimentary to the village for the professionalism he found in completing this year’s audit. “The sales tax issue has been corrected. The village is in better shape financially than it has been in many years.” He especially noted the fund balance increased from $280,598 to $482,368. This increase had been requested by Trustee James Earl several months ago as a way to build the village’s “rainy day” fund to at least 20 percent of the general fund.
A budget item that Mallery pointed out was the need to plan ahead for a new municipal building. The current one was built in the early 50s as a doctor’s office and needs considerable work to make it function as a village hall. The better option, he said, is to build a new facility. He proposed putting $125,000 into a certificate of deposit and keep setting aside enough each year to eventually be able to afford a 3,000-square foot building costing an estimated $1.2 million.
Another large expense that the village needs to plan for is an estimated $10 million in water and sewer improvements. Mallery promised to bring recommendations to future council meetings.