At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Keith Snyder asked for a
moment of silence in remembrance of all those Lincoln residents who
have been lost since the last meeting. He noted in particular the
loss of Helen Newman, Mark Graff, Ron Hardy and Tom Culnan.
Newman was the mother of Alderwoman Marty Neitzel. Snyder also noted
that she was Logan County Republican chairwoman for 30 years. (Obituary)
Mark Graff was the owner of Kleen Sweep Janitorial and provided
services to City Hall. Mr. Graff lost his life in a house fire on
Jan. 18. (Obituary)
Tom Culnan was recognized in 2009 for his continued service of
24-plus years to the city of Lincoln's zoning appeals board. (Obituary)
Ron Hardy was recognized as a retired officer from the Lincoln
City Police Department, not only by the mayor but also in a letter
from Chief Stuart Erlenbush, which was read aloud by Paul Adams,
city police detective, in Erlenbush's absence. (Obituary)
Smiley delivers 2009 annual report
Joel Smiley, executive director of the Lincoln & Logan County
Development Partnership, delivered copies of his 2009 annual report
to the council and then offered an update on current activities in
This year, the partnership will go through an audit. Smiley said
that this was the first audit they have had to do, and they are
currently seeking bids for an auditor.
The Peoria Regional Economic Development Council has sent all
their information to the Economic Development Administration. All
the counties in the Peoria EDC had to have special resolutions
passed, which took about two months. Smiley said that the EDA had
not originally asked for those resolutions, so the regional council
had to go back and do this after everything else was finished.
Smiley reminded everyone that the regional group is nearing
completion of a nearly three-year undertaking. "So we're really
close to getting this thing wrapped up," he said.
The partnership has done approximately 30 site visits to area
business and industry. He said that he has also included in this the
Lincoln Correctional and Logan Correctional facilities. Smiley said
that it was important to touch base with the leadership there for
any ideas or concerns that they might have.
Smiley said that one thing that has come out of the site visits
is the suggestion of forming a manufacturers council. Smiley said
that the topic came from area manufacturers who have expressed an
interest in having such a council. He also noted that these councils
are starting up all over the country and are proving to be
Smiley advised the council that the partnership is working on
hiring a consultant for the Economic Master Plan. The board is doing
a "Request for Proposal" to a select eight qualified firms. Smiley
said that the proposals are due back at the end of this week. He
noted that two of those firms, he has been told, have decided to
work together on one proposal. Smiley said that these firms were
also two that he had selected to invite.
The timeline Smiley is working toward is to have the consultant(s)
hired by the end of February, a rough draft by September or October,
and by the end of October have a formal plan to share with the city.
The Rail Splitter Wind Farm, Smiley said, has put Logan County
"on the map." It is listed as one of the largest wind projects of
The result is that three developers are currently looking at
Logan County. Two of those developers have already erected
meteorological towers in areas of interest. These towers are used to
measure wind velocities and establish data to support the area's
ability to generate power. Smiley noted that these two companies are
also talking to landowners.
In addition, he has heard that the third company will soon be
following suit. Therefore, he estimated that by 2012 the county
could see between one and three new wind farms come into the area.
Smiley said that as he is talking to wind developers, he is
inquiring about manufacturers and suppliers related to wind energy.
"As these developers come in, we're asking them: ‘Who are your
suppliers? Can we contact them and see if they are interested in
setting up assembly facilities? Are they interested in setting up
part distribution centers?' We want to go after all these
companies," he said.
In closing he said that several of his board members will be
attending the second part of the mayor's Economic Development Summit on
Saturday. Smiley said that the summit is a very exciting initiative
that the mayor has taken and that it is important to economic
development that folks get out and talk about the issues.
City treasurer delivers a little good news
Les Plotner, city treasurer, began his monthly financial report
by saying that last month Snyder had asked him to try to deliver a
little good news at the next monthly report.
Plotner said that perhaps the mayor should say that every month
because he was happy to deliver "a little good news."
Sale tax revenues that were received this month are for taxes
generated in October of 2009. Plotner said that those revenues
actually exceeded what had been generated in October of 2008.
Plotner said that he didn't really know why they had jumped up,
and Alderman Buzz Busby spoke up, saying that it might have been the
Clunker rebate program initiated through the American Recovery and
Plotner also said he was happy to report that revenues this month
from the non-home rule tax also exceeded what was brought in one
For this month's report, Plotner spoke very little about
expenditures and budget, saying only that he had provided the
council with graphs of the expenditure figures and that they should
look at those carefully.
Finance committee reviews 2009-10 appropriations
Prior to the voting session, the finance committee met to review
the appropriations for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
Finance chair Melody Anderson passed out a summary spreadsheet
showing where there may be some need for adjustment to
One of the most alarming figures on the spreadsheet came in the
line of the motor fuel tax expenditures. In the line of supplies and
materials, the budgeted amount for the year is $150,000 and the
appropriations amount is $165,000. Currently the total amount
expended in the line is $175,635. Anderson said that this is the
line item that covers items such as salt for winter.
Anderson said that for the appropriations, this figure needs to
be pumped up to $250,000.
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She added that the best part of this is that these funds do not come
out of the general fund. The expenditures under the motor fuel tax
line are covered by a separate pool of money, revenues from the tax
itself, and in that pool there is enough money to cover these
Anderson explained that the appropriations would have to be
changed, and then there will be a separate resolution to amend the
motor fuel tax expenditures.
In the motor fuel tax budget there are also expenditures for
traffic light repair and the Fifth Street Road project that are due
to be reimbursed by the state. Currently the expenditures are
exceeding the budget and the appropriations.
Anderson asked if the figures should be amended, just in case the
state doesn't get the reimbursement to the city. Council members
Marty Neitzel, Kathy Horn and Busby all said that they thought it
would be better to be safe, so go ahead and raise the appropriations
Another area of concern was in the city fire department's repair
and equipment line. Currently the budget is for $17,000, the
appropriation is $25,000, and the actual expenditures total $17,584
for the year to date.
Anderson said that she had talked to all the department heads,
and even though there were lines where they were over budget, in
most cases there were also lines where they were under budget. She
said that amounts could be moved among the lines on the budget
without having to amend the appropriations bill.
However, she had also spoken to fire Chief Kent Hulett, and
during the meeting he reiterated himself that it would be a good
idea to raise the appropriations amount from $25,000 to $30,000 for
Hulett noted that it is his goal to keep vehicles in the best
possible condition rather than spending money on replacing them.
The miscellaneous fund capital expense equipment is well over
budget, but it is under appropriations. Anderson said that the CD
that was discovered to be city property last July is being
distributed in a few different areas, including this line, and will
bring that amount down to what it should be.
The group also discussed the merit commission, what their role
was and whom they answered to in city government; how safety complex
maintenance was billed; and also how the city street lights were
billed. Anderson will continue to work on the appropriations and
plans to have an amended bill ready to pass at the Feb. 2 voting
It should be noted that the city budget is based on reasonable
expectations of revenues and expenditures in a 12-month period,
while appropriations are designed basically for best-case scenarios.
For example the appropriations bill contains $7,600,000 for
capital expense--road rehab, while the budget holds only $1,693,000.
The difference in the two figures takes into consideration the
work that the city hopes to do on Fifth Street Road west of Lincoln
Parkway. Should the city win a grant for the project and not have it
listed in appropriations, they would not be able to move forward.
Illico highway agreement taken off the agenda
On Jan. 28, 2009, Craig Gocker of Environmental Management
Technologies, Bloomington, spoke to the council regarding a highway
authority agreement that was being requested by Illico. The
agreement pertained to the property that is now known as the Apollo
Mart on Broadway, across the street from the fire station.
On Feb. 2, 2009, when the item was placed on the agenda for
voting, it was tabled, and it has remained on the table since then.
Tuesday night Alderman Nathan Turner asked that it be removed
from the table. Once that motion passed, Turner said, "I want to
remove this from the agenda. It is out of our hands and in the
property owner's hands, waiting for a response."
The motion passed unanimously. For it to come back to the table,
the owners or interested parties will have to return to the council
with a new request.
Taking bids approved
By unanimous vote, the city will go out for bid for a second
police cruiser, plus they will take bids for work to be done at the
Kmart/Zion and Singleton lift stations.
Mayor encourages everyone to attend Economic Development Summit, part two
Snyder said that the second part of the mayor's Economic
is coming up this Saturday. All aldermen as well as the general
public are invited to attend the half-day session that begins at
Lincoln Christian University President Keith Ray will guide a
discussion on the book "Caught in the Middle: America's Heartland in
the Age of Globalism," by Richard C. Longworth.
At the first summit, in September of 2009, Ray had said that the
book offers great insight into the mindset of the Midwest. He
suggested that everyone read it.
Before that session was over, Ray had volunteered to provide a
copy of the book to each person present and to guide the group
through the book in an open discussion.
[By NILA SMITH]
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