BY CALEB ALEXANDER
For Randy Linthicum, his final meeting as a member of the New Baden village board came to an unpleasant end. His second to last comment was, “I can’t believe we’re having this discussion.”
It was the second board meeting in a row where Linthicum brought up the idea of turning the soda machine in the village park over to the local Park Boosters. His suggestion about this simple act was met with bureaucracy and complications.
At the first village board meeting in April, when there was a general conversation about the park and the boosters group which does a lot to help with its upkeep and activities, Linthicum said he thought the proceeds from the soda machine should go straight to them instead of the city.
He mentioned it again on April 19, his last meeting as a trustee. This is because he ran for mayor and was unsuccessful, giving up his seat on the board that he was appointed to in 2017.
After asking where the village stood on this, Linthicum said the machine seems pretty much shot, it has two flavors that do not dispense out of the eight shown. His idea was to give it to the Park Boosters and let them do what they want with it, including keeping the money which they put back into improvements and maintenance at the park anyway.
“It’s not like you’re giving them a lot of money,” he said. Taylor Zurlienne, who will take over as mayor in May, said he did not have any problem with turning the machine over to the boosters.
Mayor Christy Picard balked at moving forward with the idea, saying it was not on that board agenda to vote on then. She asked if there had been a request from the Park Boosters for the village to give them the soda machine.
Linthicum said it was talked about at some of the meetings. The mayor said she needed something official from the Park Boosters about it. She suggested reaching out to them before the board’s next meeting.
Erika Kennett, the village administrator, asked for a response from Trustee Bob Oster who she said has been talking with the boosters lately about the ball diamond at the park.
Oster said that some of the boosters board members told him the first they heard anything about the soda machine being turned over to them was when Linthicum brought it up at the April 5 village meeting.
“I’m not saying I have a problem with it but they did not request it,” Oster said. “What they told me was that nobody requested to have the soda machine turned over to the booster club. That’s what they told me. I’m not saying we can’t do it.”
So that was two, Oster and Zurlienne, who said they had no objection to it. Yet it still did not happen yet.
The mayor asked Oster to reach out to the boosters and see if they want the soda machine.
Kennett said the village makes a profit of about $700 a year on it, which includes gross income of $1200 and $500 of expenses.
After Oster said he would ask then report back to the village board, Linthicum said, “Hold on a minute. I’ve had discussions with Justin (Dunning the president of the park boosters) about this. Why would anybody turn down a little bit of income? They take that money and put it right back into the park. I can’t believe we’re having this discussion.”
Oster responded, “I’m not saying I’m against it. I’m saying let’s find out if that’s what they want. I don’t care about what we want but what they want.”
Linthicum ended his term as village trustee by commenting that he is part of the park boosters. Then Picard intervened and said both Oster and Linthicum should stop the exchange of words and repeated it can’t be voted on then before asking Oster to officially reach out to the boosters and get a response. She said the board would move forward with this at the next meeting on May 3.
The mayor told Linthicum his bringing this up was appreciated but “we need to finalize it before the next meeting and vote on it at the next meeting.”
Thus ends the short term of office as a trustee for Linthicum. He was never a rubber stamp type of public official, voting no on more issues than any other board member while he was there and offering opposition often on what he felt were unnecessary expenses.