Friday, December 19, 2008
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City: Coal mine gets enterprise zone approval

City to ask for economic stimulus funds; tax levy approved; budget in line; 7th month of fiscal year; winter pothole fill arrives

(Originally posted Thursday)

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[December 19, 2008]  The Lincoln City Council met on Monday for their twice-a-month business meeting. Of 10 members, eight were present, with Aldermen Verl Prather and Jeff Hoinacki absent for the evening.

HardwareEnterprise zone

A matter that had several extensive discussions previously was brought to a vote this week.

The International Coal Group Illinois, LLC requested to have the Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise Zone extended and offered a fee agreement.

The matter was brought off the table and without a word of discussion passed unanimously.

ICG has a $20 million expansion planned for the coal mine at Elkhart.

ICG offered to pay a fee of $10,000 per year through the year 2017, the expiration date of the Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise Zone.

The approval by the city was the last that was required from enterprise zone entities to approve the request.

Resolution requesting economic stimulus funds

A resolution addressing federal funds needed by the city of Lincoln was read by City Clerk Melanie Riggs. The resolution is the final product of a proposal by Prather that the city of Lincoln should make an effort to benefit from the federal bailouts.

Alderwoman Wanda Rohlfs said that city attorney Bill Bates had done a great deal of research on the writing of the resolution, using Nation's Cities as a source, among others. The result is a five-part declaration aimed as seeking economic stimulus funds for the city of Lincoln, with the goal being improvement of city infrastructure.

Computer Repair

Among items included in the document is a section calling upon the federal government to "include within any economic recovery and stimulus plan, benefits to the city of Lincoln, to enable the city of Lincoln to expand its work force, reduce unemployment, proceed with unfunded capital projects and with unfunded state and federal mandates, and to provide funding for infrastructure projects."

The resolution is to be sent to current and newly elected congressmen on a federal level, with a cover letter from the mayor's office.

The city will also participate in a regional effort to secure some of these funds.

(See article: City council aggressively seeks funding for Fifth Street Road project; City and county to join regional effort for federal funds)

Tax levy

The tax levy for the remainder of the fiscal year ending April 30 was passed unanimously, 8-0, by the council.

The amount approved was $1,601,463, an increase of $33,784 over the 2007 fiscal year.

Campus View Drive sewer

Council members voted to deny a petition from Lincoln Christian College and residents on Campus View Drive, along the west side of the college. The city was asked to take over the ownership of the private sewer line there. An examination of the line showed it to have several problems, including obstructions. Discussion last week indicated that the city would reconsider the request if the problems that were found would be fixed.

(See article: College asks city to take over sewer line; Line includes 22 homes on Campus View Drive; LCC representative seeks a 'win-win-win' situation)

Treasurer's report for November

Treasurer Les Plotner presented his November 2008 city finance report to the council, complete with a handout outlining the city finances.

Highlights of the handout included information regarding bank balances for the month ending Nov. 30 and graphs reflecting the budgeted percentage of revenues and expenditures for the year.

Plotner indicated that with the end of November, the year is 58.33 percent complete. The graphs illustrated that the majority of the revenues and expenditures to date are in line with the percentage of the year passed.

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An area of concern is in the firemen's and police pension funds. While they are funded appropriately, the valuation of the funds may be somewhat depleted due to the stress on the economy.

Plotner says that there is little to do about this, and it is expected that as the economy recovers, the valuation will increase.

He added, though, that especially in the case of the firemen's fund, there were some guarantees offered by the insurance representatives in regard to the final value of the plan. There is to be a meeting Jan. 9 between the firemen's pension board and the agent to verify those guarantees and assure the stability of the funds.

Tracy Jackson on patching potholes

The mayor noted that there had been some publication about potholes in the city, and asked Tracy Jackson, street and alley superintendent, if he had any comments regarding this.

Jackson said that there are a lot of potholes out there right now, but the city had run out of mix.

At this time of year the mix goes from something suitable for summer use to a winter mix. Jackson reported that a supply of winter mix arrived late last week, but potholes cannot be filled while they are wet. Once the weather dries out a bit, city crews will resume their efforts.

Union at Clinton Street patching complete

City engineer Mark Mathon reported that road patch work at Union and Clinton streets was completed as of Dec. 12. The contract with Professional Pavement Maintenance Service had originally indicated a completion date of Dec. 5. Mathon said that in order to keep all records in order, the completion date should be changed to Dec. 12. The council voted on and approved that change.

Council takes a holiday break

The city workshop meeting scheduled for Dec. 23 has been canceled due to its proximity to the Christmas holiday.

The next meeting of the city council will be Jan. 5.

Abraham Lincoln birthday celebration

Mayor Beth Davis-Kavelman relayed to council members that there is to be an Abraham Lincoln birthday celebration at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield on Feb. 12. She would like to have volunteers from the council and elected officials attend the event, representing the city of Lincoln


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