Posted Online: March 19, 2013, 5:34 pm

Controversy erupts over Atkinson maintenance agreement

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By Claudia Loucks, cjloucks@qconline.com

ATKINSON -- Controversy over Mayor August Junior's veto of a maintenance agreement with Trustee Ken Taber erupted at Monday's Atkinson Village Board meeting.

Trustee Ryan Rahn read Mayor Junior's veto of the maintenance agreement, issued March 7.

Mr. Rahn said at Monday's meeting that he is an "honest and fair man" and was doing what he thought was in the best interest of the village by presenting a maintenance agreement with the village and Mr. Taber, covering of 8 ½ acres of village property west of the Atkinson baseball diamonds.

He said he "personally liked the wild flowers back there" but added that the mayor challenged the board to look into greater revenue sources from the property,

Mr. Rahn said he was approached by Mr. Taber, who told him he would "do it," because it was time to get it done.

At the Aug. 20 meeting in 2012, the board approved a proposal that allowed Trustee Taber to seed a portion of the land behind the school -- the 8 ½ acres.

According to Mayor Junior, village attorney Virgil Thurman said any municipal officer shall not be financially interested directly or indirectly with a contract with the village.

At Monday's meeting, when the Mayor attempted to present the state statute and to explain his decision to veto the maintenance agreement, Mr. Rahn chose to leave the board meeting.

He said before leaving that he believes the red flags started popping up when Mr. Taber decided to run against Mayor Junior in the upcoming April 9 election.

Although no action was taken, Trustee Mike Vergane proposed that Mr. Taber receive a pro-rated refund for the seeding costs to the acreage.

The mayor said he will need a receipt for the costs before any reimbursement is made.