Nine aldermen were present for the meeting, and David Wilmert was
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
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.
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Prairie Engineers will move forward with land acquisition for
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
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.
[By NILA SMITH]