Wednesday, February 24, 2010
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[February 24, 2010]  The Tuesday night committee-of-the-whole meeting of the Lincoln City Council was conducted with all nine aldermen and alderwomen present for discussions.

HardwareRacetrack meets with the mayor regarding 2010 schedule

Mayor Keith Snyder said he met with the Lincoln Speedway owners and they presented their schedule for the 2010 racing season.

In November the council agreed to give the mayor authority to approve the schedule as well as approve or deny special events and amendments to the schedule during the year.

Snyder presented a copy of what is on the docket for this year, which indicates that the track will open in March. Events are scheduled for March 20, 27; April 2, 3, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14, 18; June 4, 12, 18, 27; July 4, 9, 16, 25, 30; Sept. 24; Oct. 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Currently the tentative schedule shows that there will be no racing the entire month of August and the first three weeks of September.

There is a two-day event scheduled for April 2 and 3 and a four-day event running from Oct. 7 through 10.

Snyder said he is presenting two requests for an amendment to the current rules, one of his own making and the other a request from the owner.

First, Snyder wants to change the curfew on nights when there is school in District 27 the following day. Currently the rules state that the curfew is 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10:30 p.m. on Sundays. Snyder wants to set the curfew at 9 on nights before school days. With the majority of the races on Friday and Saturday nights, there will be only a few dates when this special curfew would apply.

Alderman David Armbrust said he was not a fan of the racing, but looking at it from a business perspective, he wasn't sure how Lincoln Speedway could effectively run a business when they were being cut short on time.

Snyder moved on to the second requested amendment, which came from the track operators. The operators are asking that in the course of the season they be allowed three 30-minute extensions to the curfew.

The breaking of the curfew has historically been a controversial issue between the city and the track.

When Alderwoman Melody Anderson, policy and procedure chair, rewrote the racetrack rules in November, she eliminated the curfew extensions altogether, and though it didn't have to be voted on, the council at that time did not object.

In discussing this, it was stated by Alderwoman Joni Tibbs that the curfew extensions were specifically for when there was an unavoidable delay in the races, such as for cleaning the track after an accident.

However, others, including Anderson and city attorney Bill Bates, said the extensions had been abused.

"They are using it to go longer," Bates said. "There is no ifs ands or buts about it."

Tibbs countered Bates' comments, saying that she didn't believe this was happening.

Bates and Anderson both countered that it does happen and that it specifically happened last season.

Alderman David Wilmert spoke up and said that perhaps the race managers needed to build some flexibility into their schedule. Maybe they should start earlier to allow for possible delays.

Anderson said: "We have gone over and above to be accommodating and try to make things work for them, but I think it is time that we start giving a little more weight to the people who have to listen to all this. Eleven o'clock at night is late enough to have to listen to that noise."

She concluded: "I know how far I am from the track and how loud it can be. Those people that live closer -- after 11, I don't care what night it is, that is late enough."

The mayor brought the discussion to an end, asking if the two motions could be put on Monday's voting agenda. Anderson spoke up again, saying that they had to be two separate motions.

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City loses out on fiber optic grant

Wilmert announced that the city did not receive the federal grant they had applied for in connection with fiber optic broadband Internet services.

Because they were unable to get the federal grant, the state grant has also gone by the wayside.

He said that in their application, the city had specified that they would do a 35 percent payback on the grant. When they received the letter saying they had been denied, one reason was because they could not pay back 50 percent as a loan.

There is a round two grant coming up through the federal stimulus program, but Wilmert said that the steering committee had decided not to apply.

He said that the new funding opportunity involved more red tape and higher requirements for matching funds. In addition, the firm that had assisted with the writing for the first grant has said that instead of tweaking the current application, they would want to redo it completely and at a cost comparable to the first go-around.

Wilmert added that the steering committee is not going to give up on the project. They will continue to look for other resources, and eventually fiber optic technology will come to the city of Lincoln.

Candidate for building and safety officer to be introduced Monday night

Snyder said that Alderwoman Stacy Bacon, Wilmert and he have completed their task of finding a suitable replacement for the retiring city building and safety officer, Les Last. Last's final day on the job is scheduled for April 2.

The three-member committee received 28 applications for the position and did 15 interviews.

They have narrowed it down to one candidate they feel is suitable and have asked that person to appear before the council on Monday evening.

Mayor is ready to seek new Ward 4 alderman

Snyder said it is time to look for a new alderman for the vacant Ward 4 seat. The seat became vacant with the untimely death of Alderman Nathan Turner.

Anyone who is interested in filling this position must first live in Ward 4, and secondly should submit a letter of interest and a resume to the mayor.

Snyder did not specify a deadline for applying but said that he wanted to move forward as quickly as possible.

Interested individuals can mail their information to:

Mayor Keith Snyder
700 Broadway St.
Lincoln IL 62656

or e-mail him at


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