Wednesday, September 23, 2009
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Treasurer's report shows revenues in downtrend; city gives Heritage Days funds to park district; Sunday proclaimed Together for Lincoln Day; Eagle Scout recognized; and city business matters

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[September 23, 2009] 

In picture, Matthew Barker is introduced to the council.

Treasurer's report for August

Les Plotner, city treasurer, presented the financial state of the city as of the end of August.

The handout provided by Plotner indicated that the general operating fund balance is at $129,531, compared with the August 2008 balance of $948,117. He said that the huge reduction in the balance is partially due to the slow receipt of property tax payments.

In addition, revenues are still down in general. Specifically, state income tax revenues are down 16.75 percent, sales tax is down 5.5 percent, the non-home rule tax is down 8.5 percent, and personal property tax revenue is down 24 percent.

In regard to the personal property tax revenue, Plotner said that the state had made an error in last month's distribution, so that accounts for a portion of that 24 percent. He added that while they have acknowledged their error, they have given no indication as to when they will correct it.

Plotner also noted that the telecommunication tax revenues are still much higher than they were in the same time frame last year, 24.8 percent higher to be exact, and he really doesn't know why.

In the good news department, he said that the state has paid a great deal of the sewage arrears for the prisons. The sewage bills are now paid up to the end of June for a total of $217,493.14. The July bill is yet unpaid, and the August bill has not yet been sent out.

In addition the city has received $430,289.02 of the $517,260 due to them from the state for the commerce park construction on Heitmann and Madigan drives.

Regarding loan debt, Plotner reported that as of Sept. 1 the loan debt to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for the west-side sewer project has been paid off. Plotner reported that the principal on the note amounted to $1.1 million and interest paid on the debt totaled $162,822.01.

City gives Heritage Days funds to the park district

Alderman Melody Anderson said that before she made a motion on the Heritage Days fund, she would like to hear from Chuck Conzo regarding the funds that the committee wants to distribute to three local causes.

Conzo said that the committee has reduced their original recommendation from $2,500 to $2,000. They want $1,000 to go to the Civil War statue and $500 to Main Street Lincoln's kiosk, both located on the courthouse lawn. The third project they want to support is the plaque recognizing the famous Lincoln rally and speech held on the courthouse lawn in 1858. The plaque will be placed on the courthouse.

Conzo said that the contribution of $500 for the plaque would go to the tourism bureau, but he suggested that the council put a stipulation on the money that if it isn't used within one year, it be given back to the city so they can give it to the park district.

He said that tourism is still working to raise funds for the plaque, and it wasn't clear how long it was going to take to get all the money together.

Snyder suggested that perhaps all the money should be signed over to the park district and they should write the checks for the various causes and add the stipulation.

The ending balance in the account comes to $12,618. With $2,000 going to the three causes, the remaining balance will be used by the park district to continue an annual Fourth of July celebration in the city. According to Marsha Greenslate of the Lincoln Park District, the funds will be placed in a designated and restricted account, to be used only for that purpose.

Anderson's motion was then made that the park district would receive the full balance of the fund and distribute money to the other projects, with the stipulation that all the funding be returned to the park district if not used by the end of the year 2010.

The motion passed with a vote of 9-0, with Alderman Jeff Hoinacki being absent for the evening.

Sept. 27 proclaimed Together for Lincoln Day

Together for Lincoln representative Dustin Fulton was present to receive a copy of a proclamation naming Sunday, Sept. 27, as the official Together for Lincoln Day.

Fulton said that the group has approximately 100 teams that will spend Sunday afternoon doing improvement projects around about the city.

The groups will start their day around noon at Latham Park. He encouraged everyone interested in helping to come to the park between 10 a.m. and noon to sign up and get their assignment.

Fulton said that at the moment the number of volunteers is comparable to last year, which was over 1,000 souls.

In addition to the improvement project, the group is partnering with the CROP Walk in doing a food drive and with Lincoln Christian Church in what they are calling a "clothing swap."

For the food drive, canned goods may be brought to the community worship service Sunday evening at Lincoln Christian University. The food will then be divided among all the food pantries in the community.

The clothing swap is a two-stage event. On Saturday between the hours of 10 and 2, good used clothing can be taken to Lincoln Christian Church, 204 N. McLean. Then on Sunday afternoon, those who need clothing may come to the church and choose from what has been donated.

Fulton said the group hopes that as time goes by, people will realize that helping others should be an everyday event and Together for Lincoln will move from being something that takes place one day a year, to a way of life.

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Community's newest Eagle Scout recognized

Mayor Keith Snyder introduced Matthew Barker to the council as the community's newest Eagle Scout.

Matthew, a member of Scout Troop 102, is the son of Lyle and Sue Barker. He is 16 and a sophomore at Lincoln Community High School, where he is a member of the marching band, playing in their drum line. He's a member of Lincoln Christian Church, where he is active in many youth programs.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank in Scouting and achieved by only about 2 percent of all Scouts in the nation. It requires that the Scout plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project that will benefit a religious institution, a school or the community.

Matthew chose to build eight picnic tables for the Little Galilee Christian Assembly at Clinton, where he has been a camper every summer since his family moved to this area in 2002.

Matthew said that he chose Little Galilee because he has seen firsthand all that they do for the youth who attend their camp, and he wanted to give something back to them.

City will purchase Auto Crane without bid

By unanimous vote it was agreed that the city would purchase an Auto Crane truck from Drake and Scruggs of Springfield to be used by the waste treatment plant.

The motion made by Alderman Buzz Busby said that the purchase of the crane would not exceed $16,276 plus a trade-in crane valued at $3,500.

Purchase of bar screen tabled

At last Tuesday's committee-of-the-whole meeting, it was added to the agenda that a vote would be taken regarding purchasing new bar screen for the Palmer Street lift station without going out for bid.

Wastewater treatment manager Bob Tackett had said that E & I Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, provided the original screen and carried replacement screens that were the correct dimensions, while another firm he had talked to had indicated that they would have to special-order the screen and the cost would greatly exceed the $55,000 quoted by E & I.

Alderman Nathan Turner had questioned the correctness of the motion, saying that if they knew E & I was going to come in at the lowest price, then what would be the negative of going out for bid?

He expressed that approving purchases without going through the bid process is something he's really not comfortable with.

In the end it was agreed that the motion would be made to proceed with the purchases without seeking bids.

However, Busby said Monday night that this needed to be discussed further, and he made a motion to table the purchase of the bar screen.

The motion passed unanimously, and the topic will be taken up again next Tuesday at the committee-of-the-whole meeting.


City will seek bids for pavement patching

Turner made a motion for the city to seek bids for some pavement patching that will need to be done as a result of sewer work that is being completed on McLean Street. The motion was approved by unanimous vote.

Heidbreder wins the bid for the Toro

Two bids were received for the sale of a 1999 Toro zero-radius-turn lawnmower owned by the street and alley department.

Fred Heidbreder had the highest bid of $667.29 and was named the winner. The bid by the second bidder, Maurice Doolin, was short of the winning figure by about $300.

Ford F-250 pickup for sale

The city will be advertising for bid a 1999 Ford F-250 two-wheel drive, three-fourths-ton pickup owned by the waste treatment plant.

Sidewalks and curb cuts; two approved, one rejected

A petition by Anita Bradshaw for a sidewalk construct at 322 Fourth St. was approved by unanimous vote, as was a petition by Seth Thomas for a driveway curb cut at 703 Oklahoma.

A petition by Carl and Kristy Awe II for a curb cut for a wheelchair ramp at 706 Short 10th was rejected by unanimous vote.

Alderman Nathan Turner explained that this request was for a curb cut in the middle of a city block, and that is something the city seldom, if ever, approves.

He said that in a meeting with the Awes, it had been noted that there was a driveway nearby, and a 5-foot-by-5-foot concrete pad could be laid there.

Turner said the Awes considered that to be a reasonable solution. The pad will be poured on private property and will not affect the city sidewalks or street.

Consent agenda items

Items approved on the consent agenda included allowing the Harvest of Talents for World Hunger to place a sign at the corner of Kickapoo and Pekin streets, providing a police escort for the Harvest of Talents and YMCA "Harvest Run" on Oct. 24, and allowing Lincoln Community High School to use city streets for their homecoming parade on Sept. 25.


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