Wednesday, August 13, 2008
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City briefs

Firemen and fitness

City Hall building and leaks

Traffic safety and street work

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[August 13, 2008]  Lincoln Fire Chief Kent Hulett addressed city council members about concerns recently posed by a citizen. A couple of weeks ago a resident observed that firefighters who were on duty had been using city vehicles and going to the park district's recreation center to exercise. The chief said he felt it important that he respond to this, as it could create the perception of misuse of taxpayers' money.

He began with the comment that the fire trucks are taken and allowed to idle. He said that as near as he knew, "that hasn't happened while I've been chief."

He said that the firefighters take a pickup truck and work out for 30 minutes to an hour.

He measured, and logistically speaking, the distance is one mile from downtown. It would take one to two minutes, tops, to travel. There is always another truck and firefighters on duty downtown and ready to go.

Staying fit is important and part of their training, he said. The work they do is labor-intensive. Just the standard gear a firefighter wears and carries is quite heavy. Assistant Chief Mark Miller read off a list that included the special coated and lined coats and clothing and boots they wear, axe, helmet, air pack they carry, and more, which mounts to 75 to 80 pounds. You have to be in good condition to carry that much extra gear, he said.

Exercise is important not only to do the work, but also to avoid heart attacks, which are common in firefighters, the chief said. The multiday on-off schedule also makes it important to permit exercise while on duty. "I feel I would not be doing my job if I didn't allow (the firefighters) time for fitness training while they are on duty," Hulett said.

The state of Illinois also recognizes the importance of firefighters being physically fit, he said.

He invited councilmen to contact him anytime they have questions or concerns.

City Hall repairs

Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs said that it's been discovered, while examining the gutter system at City Hall, that the gutters leak water into the building through the facade. It was also discovered that the roof has hail damage that is causing leaks.

She's trying to get a contractor to bid on the gutters and roof work. Insurance will be contacted about the hail damage.

Alderman Buzz Busby said, "I would suggest spending a proposed $2,500 to patch the leaks now," and not wait for more damage to occur before all the other work could be done.

Sewing cleaning request

Discussion of a request from the prison for sewer cleaning was continued. Alderwoman Wanda Lee Rohlfs queried the council about the importance of maintaining a relationship with the prison: Is this a question of something we do versus do not do?

Busby responded, "We do more for the prison than the prison does for the city." It was discussed in past meetings that the prison pays for the chemical, but the city does spraying for them and the city takes loads of wood mulch out to them.

"It would be opening a can of worms with private sewer systems that we do not do now," Busby said. However he added, "If you can get an intergovernmental agreement, I'll go along with it."

The city attorney noted that IGA and the Department of Corrections have a specific quid pro quo of materials or service included.

City streets

Seven homeowners from the block northeast of Latham Park signed a petition requesting a look at parking. Angle parking is provided along the park, and there is parallel parking in front of the homes across the street. According to the residents, an increasing number of vehicles have been parking in the area. It is even worse on Sundays, with two churches nearby, Neighbors to Nations and Lincoln Christian Church. Residents are concerned for pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety.

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Tibbs asked Tracy Jackson, the streets superintendent, if he thought an emergency vehicle could get through there at peak parking problem times.

Jackson said, "No, I barely got through there the other day."

Mayor Davis-Kavelman suggested finding out what the ordinance says about the street clearance for emergency vehicle access.

Kathy Horn suggested keeping the angle parking, which allows the most parking, and eliminating the parallel parking across the street. Jackson agreed that would be a good solution.


Northwest School has requested that a crosswalk be created with some striping on the street. The school has said they would provide an attendant for its use. They would also like a hand-held stop sign. The petition had a comment added that there have been too many near misses.



Jackson reported that roadwork on College Street between Fifth and Eighth streets could be finished up by Monday. The project has faced delays created by three big storms. One block has been seal-coated, and the remaining section has had calcium chloride applied to rock to hold down dust. The work is weather-dependent and there is a possibility of storms in the forecast through the end of the week.


The mayor said that she is still getting questions about the possibility of getting a traffic signal at Fifth and College streets.

A traffic count survey that was returned last month determined that a traffic signal is not warranted at this time. The Illinois Department of Transportation report did say that, based on current growth figures, they expect that a signal at that location would be needed within five years. IDOT has added it to the city's improvement program.


The mayor mentioned that she received a letter from ReMax Realty recommending a piece of property for sale downtown that would be suitable to purchase for public parking. 

Ward 1 representative

Citizens of Ward 1 may expect a representative soon to fill the seat vacated by Alderman Benny Huskins. Huskins retired on July 15. The mayor said she had a candidate to present to the council, who makes the final decision, but she wished to bring a name forth in executive session before making it public.


The council closed to go into executive session on two points of order, collective bargaining and election of a public official.



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