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Pingree puts brakes on anti-noise ordinance

Updated: March 22, 2013 10:28AM

PINGREE GROVE — The village board has repealed an anti-noise ordinance passed just three months ago prohibiting the use of engine or exhaust braking systems, after learning that posting the new rule would cost three times what trustees had expected.

The ordinance was put in place on Nov. 19 to reduce noise caused by semis, mainly on busy roads that carry truck traffic in the village. At that time, Village Administrator Ken Lopez estimated the cost for six signs at around $1,100.

In fact, Illinois Department of Transportation requirements call for 14 signs of varying sizes to inform motorists that they could be fined for using their “jake brakes.” A violation would have resulted in a $75 fine.

More detailed estimates now put the cost for sign production alone at more than $1,200, with other materials, labor, tool rental and marking utility lines — putting the tab at just over $3,600.

Lopez said the increased estimate also was due to a requirement for longer poles to bring signs to the required height for viewing.

Trustees also may have been influenced by comments from village attorney Dean Frieders during their initial discussion of the topic. He said state noise laws would keep the village from listing a specific noise level that must be reached for a violation to occur. He also said a precise noise limit would be difficult for police to enforce.

That, combined with the increased price tag, was enough to convince all but one trustee to say to repeal the ban. Trustee Joshua Cossiboon, who cast the lone no vote, lives near the intersection of Routes 20, 47 and 72. He said his neighbors supported the ban.

“It does create a lot of noise,” Cossiboon said. “But I wasn’t going to put up too much of a fight over it, because I do understand wanting to avoid the cost.”

In other business, Village President Greg Marston said Lopez has presented him with a draft of the village’s 2014 budget, with general fund expenditures totaling $1.9 million. Marston said he has since trimmed roughly $250,000 in spending from the proposed budget, to leave the village with a $162,000 surplus.

In the coming weeks, trustees will attend budget workshops with village staff. Marston said they will receive a list of his proposed cuts, along with possible pros and cons of each.

Last year’s budget had just over $1.5 million in expenditures. It was the village’s first balanced budget in years, with an expected surplus of $35,342.

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