Monday, December 17, 2012
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Auditor selection, lease agreement for safety complex, IEPA issue and CEDS top discussions

City will choose to stay with Estes Bridgewater & Ogden

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[December 17, 2012]  At the Lincoln City Council meeting Tuesday evening, Alderwoman Melody Anderson told the council she had received a proposal for auditing services for the city from the current auditors, Estes Bridgewater & Ogden of Springfield.

The firm has completed its first four-year contract with the city and is seeking to continue the services for another four years. Anderson said they had quoted her a fixed price of $19,250 per year for the next four years. She said this was an increase of $1,250 per year.

She told the council it seemed like a lot at first glance, but when she looked at it on the basis of four years, at that price it figured out to be only a 1.5 percent increase across the full term of service.

Estes Bridgewater & Ogden was first hired in 2009. At that time the city did take bids on the service, and this firm came in with the lowest price.

Anderson said they have been good to work with over the four years, and as time progressed, their increased understanding of the city books has made each audit easier.

Mayor Keith Snyder also spoke favorably of them, saying that over the last four years he has mentioned them to other mayors, and they have ended up going with the same firm. He also noted that this is the auditing firm hired by the Logan County Regional Planning Commission.

Anderson added that because this is a professional service, the city is not required to go out for bids; therefore, the council can simply approve staying with the firm if they so choose.

A new lease for space at the safety complex

Snyder shared that the city has received a lease agreement from the county for the space used by the police department in the Logan County Safety Complex.

For the last two years, the city has rented the space on a month-to-month basis with the hopes of finding another location for the department. There isn't enough room in the safety complex for the police officers and administration, so a larger facility has long been the desire of the city. To date nothing feasible has come up.

Snyder said the city is still hoping to find a place to move someday and that the lease agreement allows both the city and county the opportunity to cancel without harm with a 90-day notice.

Snyder said the agreement for this year asks for $30,144 annually, to be paid in monthly installments. He said that represented a 3 percent increase in the rent. The lease also states that in subsequent years the rent will rise according to the consumer price index.

Snyder said first of all there was no mention of the rent going down if the CPI fell, so he wants to investigate that.

In addition, he, attorney Blinn Bates and Chief Ken Greenslate have reviewed the lease agreement and have some language changes they would like to see made.

Snyder told the council he'd like to go ahead and put the agreement on the voting agenda, but will follow through with the questions that have come up in reviewing the document.

IEPA has issues with the city because it didn't rain this year

Snyder said there is an issue brewing with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regarding the sewer effluent system and the fact that it didn't rain this year.

The city of Lincoln has what is called a combined sewer operating system, or CSO, in that raw sewage and stormwater runoff are transported to the waste treatment facility in the same drainage pipes. Because of this type of sewer system, the city is required to pull samples of the product that is discharged into public waterways and test it for certain compounds.

The initial requirement for testing the discharged water was that the city had to pull six samples within a specific amount of time. Snyder said the time has run out, and because it didn't rain this summer, the city was able to pull only three samples for testing.

As a result, the Illinois EPA, acting on federal guidelines, may force the city to do a new comprehensive study of the waste treatment process in Lincoln. Snyder said the city could also be forced to make some changes in how sewage is handled.

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David Kitzmiller of American Water's environmental management division is working with the EPA and trying to come up with a way to avoid this type of action and keep the existing waste treatment plan.

Snyder said right now there was nothing to do; he just wanted the council to be aware that this was going on.

Tax levy will go to pensions

The city will hold a public hearing next Monday evening prior to the regular voting session to discuss the increase in its property tax levy for the coming year.

Anderson told the council that the levy increase was not a significant amount, only $52,500, and that the entire amount would be earmarked to fund the pension programs for the city fire and police departments.

CEDS finally a reality

Horn reported to the council that the Lincoln/Logan County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, the CEDS, has finally been approved. She said she wanted to thank congressman Aaron Schock for his help in getting this accomplished.

The Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership spearheaded the project, which was developed by holding meetings for input in every Logan County community in 2008. It was piggybacked and approved by the Peoria Economic Development Council in August 2009, sent to Chicago for approval by the state of Illinois, and finally gained federal approval from Washington, D.C.

Horn and Snyder also said that the city will benefit from this in that it is now qualified for federal funds if and when any become available that the city can use.

Money went to the wrong Lincoln

Fire Chief Mark Miller told the council that last year the city fire department had won a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health to purchase equipment for the department. He said the equipment was purchased, the paperwork submitted to the state, but the money has never arrived.

Miller said he had investigated this and discovered that the check that belonged to the city of Lincoln had been issued to another Lincoln Fire Department in another county.

Miller said the state was now working on the problem, and he hopes the city of Lincoln will get their money soon.

Firefighter goes above and beyond

Miller shared with the council that he had received a very nice thank-you from the family of a Lincoln resident as a result of the actions of Lt. Ty Johnson.

Miller said Johnson was off duty when he heard a call for emergency assistance to an address just a short distance from his home.

Johnson ran to the home, where he found that a resident had fallen down a set of stairs. Miller said Johnson assisted the resident and family members while they waited for the fire department and ambulance to arrive.

After the fall victim had been transported to the hospital, with family following behind, Johnson returned to his home and gathered up cleaning supplies. He returned to the accident scene and cleaned up a significant amount of blood in the fall area so that the family would not have to deal with it later.


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