Thursday, January 24, 2013
sponsored by


City administrator hired; revenue and sewer collections up; police radios to be purchased; promotion in fire department

Send a link to a friend

[January 24, 2013]  Tuesday evening the Lincoln City Council met for their second voting session in January. The meeting was on Tuesday rather than Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Nine aldermen were present for the meeting, and David Wilmert was absent.

City agrees to hire McLaughlin

By unanimous vote Tuesday evening, the Lincoln City Council approved entering into a contract agreement with GoveTempsUSA and hiring Sue McLaughlin as a temporary city administrator.

McLaughlin will be coming to Lincoln from the Mattoon area, where she most recently served as their city administrator.

Tuesday evening Mayor Keith Snyder offered a review of McLaughlin’s credentials, talking about her extensive career in city management and her education.

He also spoke briefly about the circumstances that are bringing her to Lincoln. McLaughlin was relieved of her duties in Mattoon in the mid part of last year. Snyder said he had contacted the mayor of Mattoon as well as city commissioners and the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce, and he was well satisfied that McLaughlin is qualified for the job.

Conzo speaks on city revenues

City Treasurer Chuck Conzo told the council Tuesday night that as far as cash flow goes, the city is in better shape than it has been for a while. He noted that at the end of December there was a cash-on-hand balance of $805,946.22, compared with only $362,000 in 2011 and $193,000 in 2010.

He noted that the fund balance had dropped slightly over what it was in November. He once again gave full credit for the healthy bank account to the aldermen and department heads who have diligently worked to adhere to budgets and control their spending.

He also noted that the non-home rule tax revenues are increasing as well as state use tax. He said these revenues are based on spending going on within the city of Lincoln, and that it was a good sign that the local economy was on a rebound.

At the same time he noted consecutive annual declines in motor fuel tax revenues. These revenues are based on the gallons of gasoline sold, not the dollar value of the gas. As gas prices increase, consumers are driving less, thus consuming fewer gallons.

Conzo said that since 2008 these revenues have dropped annually, and compared with 2008, overall the city is now losing $49,000 a year in this revenue line.

Motor fuel tax is one of the funding sources for road improvement projects in Lincoln.

Gehlbach talks sewer collections

City Clerk Susan Gehlbach offered some information on the sewer collection program. She told the council that as of December, the accounts receivable for sewage systems totaled $247,000. She noted that the prisons, which are supported by the state of Illinois, were $66,000 in arrears, with balances due from as far back as October.

Gehlbach also noted that since January of 2012, the city has collected $111,000 in old sewer bills. She said that amount equaled 65 percent of what was in arrears at the beginning of the year.

In 2011, the city collected a total of $2.6 million in sewer bills; in 2012 that figure rose to $2.9 million, a 13 percent increase over the previous year.

Gehlbach said she wanted to remind the public that there are several ways to pay their sewer bills. The city has a drop box at the payment kiosk on Kickapoo Street, across from Latham Park. Payments can be made via the city website, using a credit or debit card in the E-Pay system. Customers can also pay in person at the clerk’s office in City Hall, using cash, check or credit card; and of course payments can be mailed as well.

She said there is also a 10 percent discount for customers who pay in advance. The discount applies only if they pay a full year. She also noted that in order to do that, the customer would have to pay what is currently due, plus the year in advance. She said anyone who is interested in doing this can drop by the office, and the staff will figure out exactly what amount should be paid in order to get the discount.

[to top of second column]

Prairie Engineers will move forward with land acquisition for Fifth Street

Aldermen voted unanimously to authorize Prairie Engineers to go forward with appraisal and acquisitions services pertaining to the Fifth Street Road project.

Last week, Lisa Kramer of Prairie Engineers spoke with the council, saying the design engineering of the Fifth Street project was 80 to 90 percent complete, but could not be finished until the land was secured for drainage projects and a retention pond. She reminded the council they still have $75,000 that needs to be spent from stimulus funds.

In the case of grants, there are times when grantors can require that unspent funds be returned. Kramer said she didn’t have any information indicating that would be happening, but she didn’t want the city to risk losing the money when they had a use for it.

Council approves purchase of radios for police department

The council agreed unanimously that the city police officers should have new portable radios. The city will purchase 18 radios, using general obligation bond money.

At last week’s meeting, police Chief Ken Greenslate told the council the new radios would work with the new federally required narrow-band width transmission where the current ones don’t work as well. In addition, he said the radios would be compatible with the next upgrade to the narrow-band width.

He punctuated the importance of the radios by saying they were his officers’ lifelines when on the scene, and it is important that the radios be reliable.

Sale of surplus property taken off the agenda

A motion to approve the sale of surplus city property was taken off the agenda Tuesday night.

The request to sell surplus property came up when the fire department was offered an opportunity to sell an old siren system at City Hall. Fire Chief Mark Miller made the request, and it was decided last week that all the departments would check to see if they, too, had excess inventory that could or should be sold.

In order to initiate a sale, an ordinance has to be passed authorizing the sale. The ordinance needs to include descriptions of the exact property to be sold. As of Tuesday night the information needed to prepare the ordinance was not all in place, so the item was removed from the agenda.

Uphoff promoted to inspector

Firefighter Phil Uphoff was sworn in as the city fire department's newest fire inspector.

Uphoff was introduced to the council by Miller, who talked about his dedication to the department, his training and leadership abilities. He noted that Uphoff has also completed EMA training. He drew a chuckle from everyone when he commented on Uphoff’s height, saying, "If you need something up high, he’s your man."

Uphoff was sworn in by Snyder and congratulated by the aldermen as he made his way around the room, offering handshakes and thank-yous to all.

Next Tuesday night the city council will meet for their regular committee of the whole workshop session beginning at 7 p.m. Prior to the meeting there will be a public meeting at the Pegram Room of the Lincoln Public Library.

The first meeting will be a public information session regarding downtown revitalization projects. Aldermen were invited to attend the meeting, which will be an informal get-together with a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m.


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor