The evening opened with approximately a dozen members of Boy Scout
Troop 102 leading the council in the Pledge of Allegiance to the
flag. The troop was paying a visit to the city council as one of the
requirements for their communications badges.
City agrees to
By unanimous vote the council passed a resolution for the sale of
surplus real estate.
The city will be listing for sale the two lots at 324 and 328
Eighth St. This is the location of the old Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Hospital parking lot that was given to the city when the hospital
took residency at their new location, just off Lincoln Parkway.
The hospital also gave the city the lot where the old building
stood, and that property has been earmarked as the location of the
new APEX at City Center. The two lots on the north side of Eighth
Street will be sold to assist in the financing of the APEX.
City enters into new contract with Prairie Engineers
In October, Darrin Forgy of Prairie Engineers proposed a new
contract for the firm's services as city engineers. In the proposal,
Prairie Engineers outlined a basic package of services to the city,
and a proposal to charge separate fees for special services, such as
engineering and design for larger projects.
Forgy explained that by designing the contract in such a manner,
the city could save money on fees that are normally paid out of the
general operating account, and could charge the special project fees
to the fund that is paying for the project.
He cited as an example, if a major project was being done that
would be paid for by the motor fuel tax fund, then the engineering
and design fees could also be paid from that fund.
The motion to change the contract was added to the agenda in
October but was tabled when the time came to vote on it.
Monday night Alderwoman Marty Neitzel said she was ready to take
the item off the table and conduct the vote.
When the official motion was made, she said she felt that Forgy
had done a good job of presenting information to the council on this
subject, but she wanted to open the floor if anyone had any
questions or comments. No one spoke up, so the item went to a vote
and was passed unanimously.
Another motion regarding paying Prairie Engineers $10,980 for the
design and engineering work for the Oglesby Street bridge project
remained on the table to be voted on at a later date.
Conzo offers year-end comparisons
The city closed its fiscal year on April 30, 2012. By law, the
city treasurer is required to publish a report of the year-end
figures as well as file it with the state of Illinois.
Treasurer Chuck Conzo told the council Monday evening that he had
fulfilled that requirement. He also offered them a report that
compared fiscal 2011-12 with fiscal 2010-11.
He began by pointing out that in the last year, total revenues
were down. He said part of the reason for the reduction was that the
city received its new bond issue in fiscal 2010. Even though the
money has not been spent in its entirety, because the city financial
records are kept on what is known as a "cash basis," the money is
counted in the year it is received.
In addition, in the 2010 year, the city had a grant in the amount
of $290,000 that was to be used for sewer projects.
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Conzo also pointed out that actual revenues from the motor fuel
tax were down, as were revenues from the personal property
replacement tax. Neither of these reductions in revenue came as a
Conzo has long been telling the council to expect to see
continual drops in the motor fuel tax as long as gas prices are on
the rise. He has pointed out that when consumers are faced with
higher gas prices, they take measures to drive less and use less.
Because the tax is assessed on a per gallon basis instead of a per
dollar basis, when consumers cut back, the tax revenue falls.
The personal property replacement tax is a state-assessed tax on
local business properties. The state collects the tax on the
property, then distributes a portion of it back to the city. This is
the tax the state is now using to pay the costs related to Regional
Offices of Education. In order to pay those offices, the state has
reduced the amount of money reimbursed to the city.
Conzo pointed out that some of the state tax revenue figures are
down, but not really. The state is continuing to fall behind in
paying its obligations to municipalities. Because of this, revenue
figures look worse than they actually are, because the city cannot
count the money until it is received.
On a bright note, Conzo noted that the tax disbursement from the
county for residential property tax was up over the 2010 figure, as
was the revenue generated through building permits.
On the expenditure side of his report, Conzo said cash paid out
in the 2011-12 year was down. He complimented the department heads
and aldermen on being conservative in their spending.
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Mayor appoints Ruth Sloot to Civil Service Commission
Mayor Keith Snyder asked the council to consent to his
appointment of Ruth Sloot to the Civil Service Commission. He said
Sloot would be replacing David Huffman, who has resigned from the
commission. The council consented, and Sloot will fill that
position, effective immediately.
[By NILA SMITH]