Tuesday, March 17, 2009
sponsored by Graue Inc.

Council approves new street to new hospital; city will not pay for resident's sewer shut-off valve; truck will be purchased through state program; committee approves support letter for tired prison workers; and other matters

Send a link to a friend

[March 17, 2009]  City officials reviewed a number of matters on Monday evening during two substantial committee meetings that were followed by a relatively brief voting session of the full council.

InsuranceIt was noted that Alderman Buzz Busby is currently in the hospital in Springfield. Les Plotner, city treasurer, said that when he visited on Monday, Busby was doing much better. It had been decided that he had suffered a heart attack.

Alderman Verl Prather was not present either, making eight aldermen present for voting.

City approves street to new hospital

The council approved the final plans, including right of way, for the Short 11th Street extension. This roadway, to be constructed on the west side of Lincoln Parkway, will be the access road to the new Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

Residential request for reimbursement of costs to prevent sewer backup denied

A petition from William Vinyard seeking reimbursement in the amount of $700 for a check valve he installed at his residence at 1710 N. Kankakee St. was denied by the council.

Vinyard had asked that the city reimburse a portion of the costs he incurred in this installation, as there had been extensive flooding in his home during heavy rains three times in the past year.

Alderwoman Marty Neitzel moved that the petition be denied, saying that the flooding in Vinyard's basement was caused by extensive water from the storms, which cannot be controlled by the sewer system.

The vote carried 7-0, with Alderwoman Melody Anderson abstaining from the vote.

City to go with state vehicle purchase program

Alderwoman Marty Neitzel made a motion that the city purchase a 2009 Ford F-150 four-wheel-drive pickup truck for the sewer plant through the state's purchasing program at a cost of $18,215.

During discussion, she said that the three local bids they received were above the budget and also exceeded appropriations. A bid placed by a Ford dealership in Ottawa was the lowest but only by about $100. She felt that keeping the business at least in this vicinity was the best thing to do.

Alderman David Armbrust said that "it goes against my grain to purchase a vehicle outside the city of Lincoln when we see our businesses having the problems they are having," but he added that he couldn't justify the difference between the bids and the budgeted appropriation, which was at best about $5,000. The bids placed by the three Lincoln dealerships ranged between $23,000 and $30,000.

Resolution regarding Lincoln Correctional and Logan Correctional facilities

On Feb. 10, David Lockenour, AFSCME 501 president, along with two other union representatives, met with the council regarding staffing issues at Lincoln Correctional Center and Logan Correctional Center.

These gentlemen were asking that the city lend their support in an effort to get more guards hired for the two facilities. They asked for a resolution and letters to be written to Sens. Raymond Poe and Larry Bomke and Gov. Pat Quinn.

The council asked that the union representatives write the resolution and present it to them. Lockenour presented the resolution at the workshop meeting last week and agreed to return for this week's committee meeting.

Present for the meeting were John Black of Local 2073, David Lockenour of AFSCME 501 and Roger Griffith of AFSCME 31.

Alderwoman Wanda Lee Rohlfs said that she had read the resolution and had done a great deal of research regarding what the city should and should not get involved in. Labor-related issues were a problem area in their proposed resolution.

During discussion, Black said that the management at both correctional facilities agrees that there is a shortage of staff.

Lockenour reinforced Black's statement about the management at the facilities, saying that the wardens wanted to hire more staff. He said that what the union is trying to do is get the funding restored to the prisons so that more guards can be hired.

Rohlfs said that the council was concerned about the safety of the community as well as the staff at the prison. The resolution would be revised to express the desire of the city, without getting into the labor-related issues, and would be ready at the next voting meeting.

City treasurer's report

Treasurer Les Plotner offered his February report to the council. Noting that the budget year is 83.3 percent complete, he says that expenditures for the year are nearing 100 percent. He noted that there are still funds unexpended in the general operating fund. However, that money is earmarked for two city patrol cars that are currently on order and will, hopefully, be arriving in the near future.

He said that money on interest is currently yielding very little return, as interest rates are below 0.5 percent.

City Hall roof

Building and grounds chairwoman Joni Tibbs asked that Robert Shattuck of J.H. Petty speak about the bids for the roof of City Hall.

Shattuck said that he had reviewed all four bids and that all had been placed correctly according to the bid stipulations. He added that the bids were in line with what he had estimated the project should cost.

Budget constraints are going to be an issue with this project. Shattuck said that the council could line the gutters for now and wait a couple more years to do the entire system. He added that the council has 60 days to accept the bids and wondered whether they wanted to look at other options.

[to top of second column]

Auto Sales

Shattuck said that the low bidder has said that he would come and take a closer look at the roof to see if he could lower the price a bit more.

Shattuck added that he could look for other alternatives as well, but city attorney Bill Bates said that the only way to legally do either of those would be to throw out all the bids and start over.

Further discussion involved delaying the project for another year and trying to build it into another budget. It was brought up that more than likely building material costs are not going to get any cheaper, so delaying might make things worse.

For the budget year ending April 30, there is approximately $88,000 for this project. The money that is in this year's budget can be expended for the roof before the end of the year, but if there isn't enough money in the new budget to finish the job, then that would be a problem.

Alderman Dean Henrichsmeyer said that they shouldn't commit to this project until they know where the 2009-10 budget ends up.

In the end the committee decided to table the bids for the time being.

City to gain a little extra cash with farm ground

Corey Farmer was the only bidder on the 25 acres of tillable farm ground behind Wal-Mart. His bid of $227.90 per acre cash rent was accepted by the council.

The mayor reminded the council that this was land that was given to the city when the new Wal-Mart was built and that the cash rent is a nice little income from it.

Sign ordinance nearly complete

Rohlfs said that the work on the sign ordinance is nearly complete. There were a couple of issues that she had taken to Les Last, city safety officer, and there was still some language to add on banners and pennants.

As the council went through each page of the ordinance, Bates brought up a question regarding a section requiring land surveys before all permanent signs are erected. He wondered whether it was necessary to require this of all business owners, as that would add quite a bit of expense to the construction of a sign.

Last explained that the survey is needed when property owners don't know where their lot lines are or can't locate their lot pins.

Bates said that the language would be forcing an expense of up to $2,000 on property owners.

Rohlfs asked that Last take another look at that section and consider how it might be rewritten or even taken out.

The city attorney will review the completed ordinance before it is brought to the full board for approval.

Alderman Jeff Hoinacki said that Rohlfs has done a great job on this and has worked very hard at it. Neitzel and Tibbs agreed, expressing their appreciation as well.

Street closing for Lincoln College 5K run approved

The council approved a petition from Lincoln College to close portions of Feldman Drive between Nicholson and Kankakee between 8:45 and 10:45 a.m. on April 25 for the college's 5K run and one-mile walk.

City to use technology for communications

The council approved a motion to set up a system for e-mailing or faxing notices to interested parties regarding city meetings. Currently all meeting notices are mailed to council, media and other involved parties.

Building of the budget begins

Anderson, who chairs the finance committee, had the first special workshop meeting on Saturday morning for the fiscal 2009-2010 budget. The city's fiscal year begins May 1.

During this first four-hour session, council members heard from all the department heads regarding their budget requests for the new fiscal year.

In addition, city partners and special interest groups were also there to submit their requests. Requests came from Joel Smiley of the Lincoln & Logan Development Partnership; Phil Mahler, Logan County Regional Planning Commission; Andi Hake and Heidi Browne, chamber of commerce; Barb Reinwald, Main Street Lincoln; and John Sutton, Logan Railsplitting Association.

The next budget session will be on March 28, commencing at 8 a.m., at City Hall.




< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor