IDOT picks up the tab
Mathon began the evening by telling
everyone he had received some good news from the engineers at the
Illinois Department of Transportation.
IDOT is going to pick up the tab for all the work they plan to do
inside the city of Lincoln this year.
This will include the overlay on Fifth Street, the parking lanes
along that route, installation of the traffic signal at Fifth and
College, plus the sidewalk work that was recently added to that
In addition they will cover the full costs of the upgrades to the
traffic light at Woodlawn and College, as well as the overlay
project for Route 10 through town from Kickapoo to Pulaski.
Mathon said he has asked for written confirmation of the
discussion he had with IDOT, and that will be coming to the city
Bids for Singleton shock council members
In the early part of 2009, David Kitzmiller, then the manager for
the city's sewage treatment facility, told the council that the
Singleton lift station was in need of replacement.
He and Mathon had done a rough draft of a plan that would
ultimately save the city money but would involve merging the Kmart
and Zion stations, doing a new construction at Malerich Drive, and
taking the equipment from Kmart to Singleton.
He estimated then that the project would cost approximately
For the 2009-10 budget year, the council approved $350,000 for
the project, plus $50,000 for the engineering work that would be
done by Donohue & Associates.
Tuesday night, bids were opened for the project, and the dollar
figures were far from what had been originally budgeted.
Davis-Houk of Urbana bid $560,000, G.A. Rich and Sons of Deer
Creek bid $751,280, and Hoerr of Peoria bid $775,250.
Busby asked that Joe Pisula of Donohue & Associates take the
podium to discuss the bids and field questions from the council.
Busby asked if Pisula was familiar with the low-bid firm. Pisula
said that the firm has done several large projects, including work
for the University of Illinois. He said he was confident the firm
was capable of doing the work well.
He also said he was disappointed in the bids, but that he had
seen the writing on the wall in the last few weeks.
He explained that a portion of the problem was that the original
design called for the sewer lines to be placed in a ditch near the
Dollar Tree store. However, IDOT wasn't willing to approve that
plan. Redesigning this one piece of the plan added significant
footage to the construction plan, which obviously added to the cost.
In addition, Pisula said that the price of PVC pipe has escalated
and is changing daily as petroleum prices fluctuate.
Also, a big chunk of the money is going to go toward the
installation of permanent generators at the stations.
Pisula said that the generators could be removed from the plan,
but they were really a pretty important part of it.
He explained that if the city would see a power failure over a
prolonged period of time, they do not have enough portable
generators to run every lift station. With no power, city residents
would be at risk for sewage issues that could affect their health
He cited cities in other areas that had been saved a lot of
headaches during recovery from tornadoes because they had those
generators that kept sewage flowing while they dealt with other
Alderwoman Joni Tibbs spoke up, saying that she wasn't sure it
would be a good idea to take something away that was that important.
Alderwoman Melody Anderson asked if the generators could be added
at a later date, and Pisula said that yes, they could, but the cost
would be huge.
Alderwoman Marty Neitzel asked about Petersburg Plumbing, which
has in the past done a great deal of work for the city. Pisula said
that the Petersburg firm has taken on some really big projects in
the Springfield and Chatham area and had advised him that they were
not going to have the time or manpower for this project; thus, they
did not bid.
Pisula also said he would like to go to the two high bidders and
ask them specifically, "Where are the big bucks?" in the project.
Anderson asked about what was in this year's budget, and waste
treatment manager Bob Tackett reminded everyone that there was
$400,000 budgeted, $50,000 of which went to Donohue.
The council discussed whether or not they could make a decision
and get at least one check cut to the winning bidder before the end
of April. Anderson said that if they paid the $350,000 out of this
year's budget, then they could build the remaining balance into the
next budget year.
In the end Busby said that he wanted to have a separate meeting
where he, Neitzel, Tackett and Mathon would decide on a
recommendation they will bring back to the council.
[to top of second column]
Enterprise zone on the April 5 agenda
Acting as the city's interim attorney, Phil Montalvo said that he
has had his questions regarding the amendment to the enterprise zone
answered, and he believes it is ready for the council to approve.
He said he had originally questioned the language of the
intergovernmental agreement but was now satisfied that all was well.
This amendment to the enterprise zone is being done to include
several locations in the county where grain elevators exist that
wish to take advantage of the tax breaks they can get for new
Currently the plan has been approved by Logan County, Sangamon
County and the town of Atlanta.
Montalvo reminded the council that Lincoln and Logan County are
the ones that control the enterprise zone, and all the others have to
follow their lead. However, if those that have not voted yet should
oppose the plan in any way, it will have to be completely done over;
it cannot be amended once approved by Logan and Lincoln.
Currently the other areas that haven't voted are Hartsburg, which
will vote on March 29; Elkhart will vote on April 5; New Holland
will vote April 14; and DeWitt County will vote on April 22.
Busby brought up a topic that has been on the floor in the past:
"What's in it for us?"
Andy Hamilton of Opportunity Alliance said that basically it was
a matter of helping a neighbor.
Busby replied, "That's not much, it's not like a wind farm. And
we're giving part of the enterprise zone away."
The first grain elevator to benefit from the enterprise zone was
Elkhart Grain in Elkhart. When that addition was made, the council
then voiced a concern that the zone was not being used to do what it
was originally intended to do: add jobs.
The matter will come up for a vote at the April 5 voting session
of the council.
There will be no meeting next week, as that is a fifth Monday and
by ordinance the council does not meet in the fifth week of the
Grant may be awarded for firehouse improvements
Fire Chief Kent Hulett said that he has gotten word on a grant he
applied for that may be awarded.
The grant application has passed the peer review.
The city has to now answer three questions from the federal
government: Will you accept the grant; will you pay your cost share;
and finally, how will you pay your share?
Hulett said that the grant is for $41,585, and the city would
have to provide $2,079.
The grant would cover the cost of an air filtration system for
the existing fire station. Hulett said the station currently does
not meet OSHA and National Fire Protection Association standards for
proper ventilation of exhaust from the fire trucks.
Hulett said that if the city accepts the award, they have one
year to spend the money. His recommendation would be to take the
grant and build the city's share into the 2010-11 budget.
The farm lease between the city and Kent Cross for the 40 acres
near Lincoln Lakes has been signed by both parties and is now in
Tracy Jackson, city street and alley superintendent, said there
is a problem at the landfill with people driving into areas where
burning is going on. He has established a red flag system to warn
motorists to stay away when burning is going on, and he will issue
press releases to that effect in the near future.
[By NILA SMITH]
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