At the beginning of the meeting, all seven aldermen were present.
The first order of business for Mayor Keith Snyder was to seek the
advice and consent of the council in appointing a new alderman.
Scott Cooper appointed to Ward 1
Snyder told the council he would like their advice and consent on
appointing Scott Cooper as the new Ward 1 alderman, replacing Bruce
Carmitchel, who resigned in March.
Cooper is a lifelong resident of Lincoln and a graduate of
Lincoln Community High School. He is with the Illinois Department of
Corrections as a parole commander for the District 3 sex offender
unit. He is a former member of the Lincoln Planning Commission and
the Civil Service Commission. He also served 21 years with the
Illinois Air National Guard.
Cooper was asked if he would like to address the council before
the vote. He told the group that he appreciated the opportunity to
serve the city of Lincoln. He noted that several years ago he did
run for city alderman but was defeated. Cooper said he had always
been interested in politics and was happy for an opportunity to
serve. He ended by saying, "Lincoln is my home and I want to make it
When Snyder called for the motion, it was made by Marty Neitzel,
with the second coming from Kathy Horn. At the vote Cooper was
After being sworn in by city attorney Blinn Bates, Cooper then
took his seat at the Ward 1 desk and participated in the rest of the
City approves purchase of Depot for $600,000
Snyder told the council that he was looking for a motion and
approval for the purchase of the Lincoln Depot at a cost of
$600,000. The city of Lincoln will be purchasing the property and
will hold the deed to it, but the funding for the purchase will be
coming through the Illinois Department of Transportation and the
high-speed rail project.
The purchase includes the entire city block where the former
restaurant and current Amshack are located.
Snyder said the purchase was just the first step in the process.
In the second step there will be a preliminary restoration of the
property, which will include removing the various railroad cars that
are currently attached to the original structure. Snyder said this
would take the depot back to its 1911 footprint. Then the next step
will be restoration of the exterior.
The motion was made by Jonie Tibbs and seconded by Kathy Horn.
The motion carried with a unanimous vote of 8-0.
City approves Railer Way and allows Friendship Manor to keep
Primm Road address
The council approved by unanimous vote renaming a section of
Primm Road as Railer Way.
The area to be renamed will be the portion of the road that runs
in front of Lincoln Community High School and the Lincoln Park
When Snyder asked for the renaming, he said the post office will
recognize both the Primm Road address and the Railer Way address for
the next 12 months. He said this would allow the high school and
park district time to make changes to stationery and other
When this came up for discussion at the last workshop meeting,
aldermen expressed concern over forcing the residents of Friendship
Manor to change their addresses. Snyder said the motion would
include naming Friendship Manor's private driveway Primm Road and
allowing the facility to keep its original address.
Monday evening, Michelle Bauer said she had heard from quite a
few people that they were grateful the city had thought to do this
for them. Fire Chief Mark Miller said he, too, had heard comments of
The idea to name the private drive came from Bauer and Miller
McLaughlin offers first look at 2015 budget
The city administrator, Sue McLaughlin, offered an overview of
the budget figures she's been working on for the new fiscal year,
which will begin May 1.
Once again this year, aldermen are going to have to make some
tough decisions in order to balance the budget.
[to top of second column]
Some of the biggest issues the council faces are items that
are beyond their control. Many of the city employees are working
in various union organizations. Those organizations determine
raises for the year. The city has the opportunity to negotiate
with the unions on such things, but in the end, what the union
ratifies is what the city has to pay. Therefore, pay increases
take a significant chunk out of the city's general fund, and
that chunk will continue to grow each year.
Workers' compensation insurance is also going to see an increase
in the next fiscal year. McLaughlin said the city's workers' comp
claims were actually down, but because the premium is based on wages
paid, and wages have gone up, so did the policy premium.
In addition, this year the city is going to see a 51 percent
increase in liability insurance.
On the revenue side of the city's general fund, McLaughlin and
the city treasurer, Chuck Conzo, estimated the city will bring in
$9,236,371 this year.
Portions of that revenue have already been promised to specific
expenditures. For example, McLaughlin noted an expected revenue of
just over $68,000 from video gaming. However, the city has declared
that the money gained from gaming will be put into the police and
fire pension funds.
The city also expects to earn right at $1 million from the
utility tax this coming year. That money, too, is earmarked for
specific projects, including but not limited to the long-term sewer
control plan, which is a project mandated by both the federal and
state Environmental Protection Agency. McLaughlin noted to the
council that this was a big issue for Lincoln residents. Had it not
been for the utility tax, the city would be forced to impose
significant sewage rate increases.
At the first review of the budget, the city is in the red
significantly. Estimated revenues are at $9,236,371, while
expenditures in the general fund total $9,490,740, leaving the city
in a deficit of $254,369.
McLaughlin said she will be meeting with city department heads in
the coming week to discuss what can be cut from the budget. Right
now the departments have submitted a best-case scenario budget to
the administrator. They will now have to return to it and cut out
what cannot be funded.
Aldermen opted not to go into detailed discussions about the
budget on Monday evening, saying they wanted time to examine the
The city must pass a budget prior to May 1. If McLaughlin is able
to recommend all the cuts needed to balance the budget by next
Tuesday, then the budget could be voted upon on April 21.
Rick Hamm appointed to development partnership board
Snyder advised the council that there is a seat vacant on the
board of directors for the Lincoln & Logan County Development
Partnership. The seat needs to be filled by a city-appointed
representative. Snyder has chosen Rick Hamm to fill that seat.
Hamm has served on the board in the past but has been off the
board for a while, Snyder said. He said he would like to see Hamm
back on the board.
The council approved the appointment with an 8-0 vote.
The city approved naming April 25 as citywide Arbor Day.
Main Street Lincoln was given permission to close Broadway Street
between Kickapoo and McLean on May 3 for the Lincoln High School
Prom Grand March.
The council approved a bid from Beniach Construction of Tuscola
in the amount of $453,443.60 for street seal coating projects.
McLaughlin said this bid actually came in under what was expected.
[By NILA SMITH]