Wednesday, July 29, 2009
sponsored by Graue Inc.

City briefs: Appropriations passed; treasurer casts eye on finances as tax revenues decline; council approves cold beer at fair during featured country music performance; city employee bonds reset; and more

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[July 29, 2009]  The Tuesday night meeting of the Lincoln City Council was conducted in three segments. First there was a public hearing regarding the appropriations ordinance for 2009-10, then a continuation of the July 20 voting session and finally the committee-of-the-whole meeting.

RestaurantPublic hearing

Mayor Pro Tem Orville "Buzz" Busby called the hearing to order and asked if there was anyone who would like to speak regarding the appropriations ordinance for 2009-10.

When no one came forward, the hearing was adjourned. During the voting session, the appropriations ordinance was passed unanimously.

The budget is the official document that city must go by in its spending for the year.

The city appropriation, on the other hand, is a document that outlines what Les Plotner, city treasurer, refers to as the city's "wish list."

For the 2009-10 year, the annual budget passed totaled $14,984,420, while the appropriations ordinance totals $28,709,640.

The significant increases between budget and appropriations include $4,000,000 for a new fire station, $7,000,000 for Fifth Street Road, an increase in the Commerce Park package from $25,000 to $100,000, $155,000 for the City Hall roof project, the $200,000 loan liability for the roof project and other lesser increases in budget lines to cover possible emergency or unforeseen expenses.


Voting session continued from July 20

Treasurer's report for June 2009

In his report for June 2009, Plotner compared tax revenues with the same period of 2008 and noted a decline. This year sales and use tax is down $43,000-plus, non-home rule tax is down $11,000, income tax is down $97,000, and replacement tax is down $12,000-plus, for a total of $164,652.

In stark contrast, the telecommunication tax is actually up by almost 25 percent, or $24,340.

Sealed bids had been taken for the city of Lincoln Police Pension Fund for interest on a $2,594,500 certificate of deposit. For the first time, CEFCU placed a bid on the 90-day CD, for an interest rate of 1.34 percent. Others who bid were Illini Bank, with a rate of 1 percent, and Regions Bank bid 0.15 percent. The CD will mature on Sept. 26.

Plotner reminded everyone that the first income from property tax would be coming probably next month sometime and the second installment not until September.


He asked that committee chairmen and department heads slow down their spending until the city cash flow is in better condition. He said he realized that all these things were budgeted but that until the city starts receiving some of these revenues, there is not a lot of cash available.

Resident sewer issue continues

Alderwoman Marty Neitzel said that Denise Martinek, city clerk, had gone through the records and determined that between July of 2002 and June of 2009, Mrs. Doris Ade of 1025 Monroe St. had paid $1319.52 for sewer services that she had not received.

This was due to Ade's sewer line having been capped prior to her purchasing the home.

Neitzel made a motion to refund that amount to Ade.

Ade's daughter, Kathy Miller, was present and explained in detail what her mother has been through with the blocked sewer. She said that work done by Lyle Benedict totaled $2,575, and A-plus Cleaners had been called in to clean carpets and upholstery at a cost of $259.

Miller, speaking on her mother's behalf, believes that the city should pay for those costs.

Busby said that the city didn't cap the sewer and shouldn't be held fully responsible, but Miller explained that Benedict had told her that this was indeed a method used by the city.

Bubsy asked city engineer Mark Mathon if he knew of any sewers that had ever been done in that manner. Mathon said that in his 10 years of serving the city, he knew of no sewers that had been capped by the city, let alone by this method.

Alderman David Wilmert said that while the city didn't cap the sewer, neither did Mrs. Ade, and he had proposed the sewer fee refund as a compromise.

Neitzel said that the council could elect to share in Ade's expenses but wouldn't take them on entirely. If the city paid half, the settlement would be $1,417.

Miller wondered if Neitzel was meaning the city would pay that amount plus the sewer fee refund, and Neitzel said no, it would be one or the other.

Alderman Nathan Turner spoke up, saying that if the city is going to settle on this, it should be based on the sewer fees, as that would set a precedent for any future situations.

Turner also suggested that an adjustment could be made to the refund, based on inflation over the past seven years.

Because the motion had been made and discussion followed, the vote had to be taken. Wilmert said that if the council wanted to revisit the settlement amount, they should vote "no" to the motion.

With only seven members present the motion was voted down 6-1, with Busby voting "yes."

Those present for the vote were Aldermen Busby, Hoinacki, Neitzel, Tibbs, Turner and Wilmert. Aldermen Armbrust and Anderson were absent for the evening, and the seat held by Dean Henrichsmeyer has yet to be filled.

In regard to making an amended motion, Wilmert moved to table that action until an adjusted figure had been determined. His motion passed 6-1 with Busby voting "no."

Beer to be sold at Logan County Fair VIP area Aug. 7

The fair is bringing back big-name entertainment for the Friday evening grandstand event. Featured the evening of Aug. 7 will be country music artist Keith Anderson, plus the Southern Cross Band performing.

For that evening the fair board asked to establish a VIP area on the track in front of the grandstands. Beer would be sold in that area by the Knights of Columbus. The same organization operates the beer tent on the grounds.

City attorney Bill Bates said that the area would be fenced in, with only one entry/exit, and that beer sold would be consumed only within the VIP area. In addition, security would be present to assure no underage drinking, and wristbands would be used to identify those who may purchase beer.

The request was approved unanimously.

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Auto Sales

Ordinance amending bond requirement

When Alderwoman Melody Anderson, who heads the finance committee, was preparing documents for the annual budget meetings in March, she noticed that the bonds for certain city officials where not in accordance with the city ordinances. She also noted that some of the bond amounts appeared to be out of line with what the actual risk attached to the employee would be.

Consequently, she has been working since then to update the bond requirements, and to that end a new ordinance has been passed.

Included in the changes are increases in bonds for the mayor, from the current $3,000 to $25,000; for the city clerk, from $5,000 to $250,000; and the building and safety official changes from the current $1,000 to $3,000.

Additionally, the new ordinance rewrites the bonding requirements for the police department, removing altogether the $1,000 existing bond for all officers.

The old ordinance carried a $2,000 bond requirement for the chief of police, which will remain as is. However the new ordinance will also add a bond requirement for the deputy chief in the amount of $2,000.

The new bond requirements will save the city about $2,000 per year; however, a little over half of that will be expended again when the city increases liability coverage for employee dishonesty.

Insurance liability changes

The increase in liability coverage for city employees will add $1,050 to the annual premium. However, this will also generate a total savings of $950 when compared with the cost of carrying bonds on these same employees.

George Alarm will provide security for City Hall

As discussed at the July 14 meeting, Alderwoman Joni Tibbs made a motion that George Alarm be hired to provide security services for City Hall, without going out for bids.

Turner asked why she didn't want to go out for bids, and Tibbs said that two years ago, when she started working on the security system issues, she had taken bids, and George Alarm was by far the best package offered.

The company will provide digital surveillance as well as a panic button alarm system for the building. All equipment will be leased at a cost of $285 per month, with the alarm company responsible for doing all upgrades and maintenance.

Hanson Engineering service agreement approved

Hanson Engineering will be hired at a rate not to exceed $57,500 for the purpose of completing plans and specifications plus getting plans approved through the Illinois Department of Transportation for stimulus projects slated for South State and North College streets.

Resolution regarding layoff of state workers

John Black, Mike O'Neill, Damien Lyle and Eric Fry of the Logan Correctional Center staff and AFSCME 31 representative Roger Griffith were in attendance Tuesday night regarding the mayoral resolution that would be sent to the Quinn administration.

Black said that 160 jobs at the center are set to be cut. While the state has passed a temporary budget that is going to postpone these layoffs, they will eventually come about if the state cannot come up with a way to increase revenues.

He pointed out that the impact on the prison and community would be devastating. The loss of jobs could result in more families leaving the area, more houses listed for sale and less revenue for the city.

The resolution passed speaks to the loss of jobs at Logan Correctional Center and Lincoln Correctional Center, as well as the former Lincoln Developmental Center, and the subsequent economical impact it will have on the city.

Additionally, it states that layoffs of the grounds maintenance crew at LDC would result in the property being allowed to deteriorate, making it less desirable for potential developers.

Black said that the city's support in this matter was very much appreciated.

He also invited everyone to come to the Madigan State Park entrance on Wednesday afternoon from 2 to 4, as AFSCME 31 is going to set up a picket line in protest of the proposed job cuts.


Voting session adjourns; committee of the whole convenes

Sign ordinance is completed

Bates answered an inquiry from Neitzel regarding the new sign ordinance, saying that he has completed his work, and it is currently in the hands of Mayor Keith Snyder for review.

The ordinance should be offered up for a vote in the very near future.

Manholes to be replaced

Mathon, speaking for waste treatment manager Bob Tackett, said that two manholes need to be replaced, on Delevan and McLean and at Pekin and McLean streets.

Mathon said that both are old brick construction and are in very bad shape. He asked that the city hire Petersburg Plumbing without going for bid, at a cost not to exceed $30,500.


Petition for stop signs

Residents in the vicinity of Willamette and Sheridan are asking that the city erect stop signs at that intersection.

The city police department will conduct a safety investigation to see if the stop signs are warranted.

Technology update

Wilmert said that the grant writing for the broadband access is nearing completion. He said that the grant application was in excess of 120 pages and that the committee had accomplished a lot in a very short time.


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