Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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Sewer work, finances better and more

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[August 16, 2011]  Monday night the voting session of the Lincoln City Council enjoyed a full house as all 10 aldermen were present for the meeting. 

Also in attendance was Andy Anderson, representing the Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District. 

Delavan Street closure this Saturday 

Anderson addressed the council regarding a request for the closure of Delavan Street between Chicago and Kickapoo streets. He explained there will be training for the Young Explorers program on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in that area. Anderson said it would be a countywide event, with young people coming from several of the outlying fire districts. 

The Young Explorers is an organization for high school-age kids who have an interest in firefighting. Being a member of the group entitles them to participate in many of the routine fire department trainings, plus they get the opportunity to attend special trainings such as the one scheduled for this week. They are not involved in actual fire emergencies. 

Mayor Keith Snyder explained that the request for the street closure had not made it to the city council in time to be discussed at the last workshop meeting. 

When the item came to vote, it passed with unanimous consent. 

Hoerr Construction to work on North Logan sewer problems 

At last week's committee-of-the-whole workshop, Dave Kitzmiller, who is currently in charge of the Lincoln waste treatment program, explained a concern he has with repairing a sinkhole at the corner of North Logan and Davenport streets. The sinkhole is being caused by a partially collapsed clay sewer line. Kitzmiller expressed a fear that more sewer will collapse when work begins to repair the sinkhole area.

He asked that the city forgo the bidding process and hire Hoerr Construction of Peoria to install a lining in 375 feet of clay tile that is deteriorating. He said he had checked with three different construction companies and gotten quotes, with Hoerr coming in the lowest at $21,950. 

Monday night Alderman Buzz Busby made the motion to approve. He said he wanted to approve this because Hoerr is the least expensive, and they have said they can get started on the project right away. 

Because there was no bid process, Snyder reminded everyone that the motion had to be approved by a two-thirds majority of all aldermen, or seven of 10. 

When the roll call vote was taken, it passed unanimously. 

Conzo delivers July financial report 

City Treasurer Chuck Conzo told the council that at least for now, the city coffers are looking better than they have for a while. 

The month of July ended with $307,648.62 in the general fund balance, an increase of just under $79,000 over June. The July figure compares closely with where the city stood in July of 2009 and far exceeds the July 2010 figure, which was in the red by $75,430.66. 

He noted that the improved balance is due largely to the dollars received from the state of Illinois in July, which totaled $643,185.97. He noted that the state payments included reimbursements totaling $19,047.71 from FEMA for recovery costs for the blizzard in early February. Also included in the total was $66,743 via the state motor fuel tax that was actually an Illinois Jobs Now capital improvement grant. 

Looking at the handout provided by Conzo, state payments appear to be arriving on a more timely basis in some areas. Replacement tax payments were made for the month of July, and the motor fuel tax payment was for obligations from the month of June. April payments were received for non-home rule tax, municipal sales tax, telecommunications tax and state use tax. There were also payments for state income tax for the months of March and February. 

In addition, Conzo noted payments for property tax assessments from the Logan County treasurer had been made, totaling $637,315.70. He noted there would be additional payments in the future. 

He offered the council comparisons of tax revenues for this year versus last and said that for the most part revenues were stable.   

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He did express a concern that the city proceed with caution when planning expenditures using the motor fuel tax. 

Over the last few years the dollars received from motor fuel tax have been on a steady decline. Conzo explained this tax, saying it isn't like a sales tax based on the dollars spent; it is rather a flat tax based on the gallons of gasoline purchased. As the price of fuel goes up, consumption is dropping; thus, fewer tax dollars are being collected. 

Conzo noted the federal government is not opposed to gasoline reaching the $7 to $9 range in the U.S. because that is the average price of fuel in Europe. The result, and what the government is hoping to see, is less and less consumption as prices go up. 

But what this means for municipalities is fewer dollars coming in the long range. Conzo urged the council to keep that in mind, as he doesn't see this trend turning around in the future. 

Bob Holloway Day to be Aug. 27 

Included in the Monday night consent agenda was a resolution making Aug. 27 Bob Holloway Day in Lincoln, in conjunction with the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival. 

Holloway is an artisan from Kansas City, Mo., who has been a constant at the annual festival in Lincoln for many years. As such the chamber has chosen to recognize him for his devotion to the event. 

Holloway will be honored by the city and will be included in the Friday afternoon parade as the grand marshal. 


At the end of the evening, Alderwoman Marty Neitzel read a news release issued by Tracy Jackson, street and alley superintendent, regarding the closure of the payment drop boxes on North Kickapoo. (See that announcement in today's edition of LDN.) 

Snyder reviewed a news release he's issuing to announce the city's annual art and balloon fest drawing. (See that announcement in today's edition of LDN.)

Snyder also offered thanks to Alderwoman Joni Tibbs for the work she did for the city's open house last week and offered a special thanks to Kathy Vinyard for her extensive work in the planning of the event. He noted the open house was very well attended, and he was very pleased with the outcome. 

Tibbs reminded everyone that The Oasis senior center is trying to raise money for a new bus. The funds they raise will be matched by the Woods Foundation, and the goal is $26,442, which will be matched for a grand total of $52,844. 

Alderwoman Kathy Horn reminded everyone that the Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce is still looking for volunteers to assist with this year's art and balloon fest. She encouraged everyone to consider giving some of their time. To volunteer, contact Andi Hake, Kelsey Horn, Robin Keys or Jennifer Lovett at the chamber office by calling 735-2385. 


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