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[MARCH 23, 2004] 

Will there be dancing in the streets again this year?

Following the success of the last year's downtown sesquicentennial celebration, which scheduled more than 40 hours music in the streets, city aldermen and the mayor have received numerous requests to have more summer street dances. Mayor Beth Davis asked the council if anyone was opposed to considering the possibility of having one evening of music again this year. If not, she would look into lining up something for this summer.

Mayor Davis said she has already spoken with the local tourism bureau about the best possible time to have this again this year. Memorial Day is one choice.

At one time there was a Route 66 drive-through that took place downtown. There were lots of old cars and the Route 66 Association members in town. It is thought that this could be coordinated with the music event for the second week in June, beginning next year. The two activities combined would make it a bigger event, and from next year on it could become an annual tradition.

Major downtown street work is scheduled to begin in about six weeks and continue through the first week in July. So, this year's event might be held somewhere just off the square, such as the Clinton Street parking lot.

State Ethics Act model for new city ordinance

The city is looking at creating a new ordinance in compliance with a mandate issued by the attorney general. All Illinois municipalities and school districts are to enact their own ethics ordinance using the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act as a model. The new ordinance is to be no less restrictive than the state law, which was passed in November 2003.

The ordinance needs to be completed by May 19.

After looking over the new law, City Attorney Bill Bates also suggests that the city follow two other recommendations of the attorney general and appoint the following positions:

1. Ethics adviser to the city

2. Ethics commissioner to the city

 

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A major area of the act specifies gifts that may be received.

Penalties for violations to the act are severe. They include fines of $1,001 to $2,500 and a possibility of up to 364 days in jail.

Operating in the black

Finance committee chairman Verl Prather provided an update to the council on current and future budgets.

Alderman Prather praised everyone for holding down their expenses and "doing some pretty painful things last year to make it the way it should be."

"It paid off now," he said. "We're doing more with less these days, which I think about every government agency is." Prather forecasted that the city will be in good shape in the general fund because of the efforts of department heads.

Property sale

Alderman Derrick Crane announced that the city will be putting four excess properties up for sale by bid next month.

Residents want to keep their trees

One or two road projects that were delayed due to a shortage of finances are being considered again this year. One of those projects involves the continuance of rebuilding Elm Street in the section from Fifth Street southward.

Alderman Jonie Tibbs said that she has had calls from residents saying that they would prefer having "just a nice street rather than curb and gutter." Streets Superintendent Tracy Jackson has heard the same thing from the residents. Other city representatives said they have been contacted as well, and the residents are saying that because they will lose trees and lawns, they don't want the street widened.

[Jan Youngquist]

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