South Central Reporter

South Central Reporter

Sunday, February 23, 2020

City of Centralia City Council met June 10

By Michael Abella | Aug 13, 2019

Meetingroom02

City of Centralia City Council met June 10.

Here is the minutes provided by the council:

The City Council for Centralia, Illinois met on Monday, June 10, 2019, in the Council Chambers at Centralia City Hall. Mayor Williams called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL

Present: Mayor Williams, Councilman Jones, Councilman Smith, Councilman Sauer, and Councilman Marshall

Absent: None

Staff Members Present: Dan Ramey, City Manager; Doug Gruenke, City Attorney; Michelle Liggett, Finance Director; Chief Brian Atchison, Police Department; Jeff Schwartz, Public Works Director; Rose Aldag- McVey, Economic Development Director; Kala Lambert, Assistant To The City Manager; Gayla Harting, Community Development Director; Bill Agee, City Treasurer; and Kim Enke, City Clerk

PRAYER & PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Mayor Williams led the Pledge of Allegiance and an opening prayer was offered by Ray Sharpe.

AMENDMENTS AND/OR ADDITIONS TO AGENDA

None

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

David Jack and Ray Sharpe addressed the City Council in regards to a call to prayer and the need of prayer in Centralia. Mr. Jack stated that many individuals have been gathering over the last two months on Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m. at Fairview Park near the train. Mr. Sharpe read a letter that he shared with the City Council asking that a motion be adopted by the City Council in regards to prayer. He invited everyone to take part in the Prayer in the Park and requested that the City Council meetings open with prayer. He provided a list of their intended efforts including distribution of printed materials, furnishing information to churches and business owners and requesting that the media make public service announcements regarding the Call to Prayer and Prayer in the Park.

Ted Johnson addressed the Mayor and City Council in regards to questioning the process to select the search committee for the City Manager. He stated that this committee shouldn’t be voted on as stated on the agenda. He stated that he read in the newspaper who was selected and feels an announcement should be made to include women, minorities, first responders, and the youth. He stated that diversity and inclusion is an important aspect of the selection. He also added that it was brought to his attention that there were violations of the Open Meetings Act. He recommended that all public officials meet in a public forum, not at the Centralia House or other forums. He also suggested that the City invest in a strategic plan for the future. He also inquired about when the Police Department will have twenty-four Police Officers due to hearing that the department is down three officers. He also wanted to know why twenty-four is the number of officers required. He suggested that due to the population of Centralia he feels there should be thirty-two officers.

CONSENT AGENDA

A Motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Marshall to Approve Items 1-3 of the Consent Agenda.

1. Approval Of The Minutes Of The May 28, 2019 Council Meeting

2. Approval Of Payrolls And Vouchers In The Amount Of $ 685,183.63

3. Approval of the Request for a Fireworks Display on Lake Centralia by the Lake Association

Ayes: Councilman Jones, Councilman Smith, Councilman Sauer, Councilman Marshall, and Mayor Williams 

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried.

REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS

The 2018 audit report was reviewed by the City Manager. Copies were provided to the City Council. The City Manager pointed out that the auditors noted in their report that they did not identify any deficiencies in internal control that they consider material weaknesses or any that they consider to be a significant deficiency. He stated that the City Treasurer and staff met with the Auditors after the audit was complete and stated that they encountered no difficulties with management in performing the completion of the audit. He reviewed the financial highlights noting that the total net position decreased by $838,529 to $32,664,349 due to the required re-payment of $1,001,461 to the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity for the balance of the Revolving Loan Account. They reported that if this transaction had not occurred, the City would have had a net position increase of $162,932. He stated that in 2011 the net assets were $26 Million, so the City’s net position has increased over $6 Million since that time. He also compared the City’s total investment in capital assets in 2011 which was $22,935,018 and in 2018 was $25,105,402. He explained that the audit also pointed out that the real estate levy has not increased and the real estate taxes have been lowered just as they have during the past 8 years. He stated that in 2011 the levy was $2.8 Million and in 2018 the levy amount was $2.6 Million. City Manager Ramey also reported that the audit states that the 100% of the contributions required to fund the Police, Fire, and City Employee pension funds have been paid as calculated by the actuaries. He noted that there were no findings or questioned costs in the audit along with no noted findings in the Fiscal Year 2018. He stated that over the last two years there have not been any findings in the audits and previous findings have been eliminated. He noted the multiple substantial findings in the 2011 audit. He stated that he was very pleased with the audit and pleased that there were no findings once again. Councilman Marshall stated that he had also reviewed the audit. He explained how he looks at the total net position to gauge whether the assets and liabilities are going in the right direction. He also noted the decrease of the net position due to the required payment to the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. He also noted that he was pleased with the lack of any findings.

BIDS

None

ORDINANCES

City Manager Ramey reviewed the location of the properties that were recommended to be declared surplus. He stated that the minimum bid amount is $20,000. He added that part of the bid requirement includes the requirement of the bidders to submit a business plan and also build on the property within a year on the property. He stated that this will allow the Council to approve the plan and the bid that is in the best interest of the City. Mayor Williams commended the City Manager for adding those requirements to the bids in order to help the city continue to grow and develop. A motion was made by Councilman Jones and seconded by Councilman Smith to Approve An Ordinance Declaring Certain Real Estate As Surplus Property And Authorizing The City Manager To Solicit Bids For The Sale Of Surplus Real Estate – 5 Combined Parcels Including 123 W. Broadway, 125 W. Broadway, 129 W. Broadway, 131 W. Broadway, And 106 S. Walnut.

Ayes: Councilman Jones, Councilman Smith, Councilman Sauer, Councilman Marshall, and Mayor Williams 

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

RESOLUTIONS

Councilman Sauer noted that the photos from the Code Enforcement Department’s inspections that have been provided with this resolution gives a visual explanation as to why this recommendation was made. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Approving the Recommendation of the Community Development Department and the Centralia Code Enforcement Department Directing the Demolition or Repair of Certain Dangerous and Dilapidated Buildings.

Ayes: Councilman Jones, Councilman Smith, Councilman Sauer, Councilman Marshall, and Mayor Williams 

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

Mayor Williams discussed his process for selection of individuals for appointments. He stated that before he makes an appointment he does several things. He stated that he prays for guidance and direction. He also solicits the advice of others in the community concerning what direction to go. He stated that he made the recommendation to appoint Councilman Marshall as the Mayor Pro Tem and would like him to accept that position. Mayor Williams stated that in his absence he is confident that he will do a great job. A motion was made by Councilman Jones and seconded by Councilman Smith to Approve A Resolution Selecting Mayor Pro Tem.

Ayes: Councilman Jones, Councilman Smith, Councilman Sauer, Councilman Marshall, and Mayor Williams 

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

Mayor Williams stated that the City Manager Search Committee is an advisory committee similar to other boards of the City. He stated that he tried to choose members that reach across many different lines. He stated that the individuals are well qualified and have an interest in Centralia. He stated that they have invested in many areas including employment, paying taxes, and others that are in the education field that are investing in the future of the City. The committee members are a collection of many members with a variety of talents and areas of expertise in an attempt to move Centralia forward. He stated that he did hear the comments about the need of women, minorities and youth on the committee. He stated that there is a woman and also a minority including himself on the committee. He stated he wanted to appoint members to the committee that will encompass as many different outside sources to make the city grow. He stated that he feels that this is an excellent group of people that have one interest which is the growth, development, and further commitment to the city to move forward. Councilman Jones asked if the committee would be subject to the Open Meetings Act. Attorney Gruenke clarified that it would be subject to the act but some meetings could be held in closed session in order to conduct interviews or things such as that. Councilman Jones stated that he approves of the committee selected since it is a diverse group. He reiterated that ultimately the Mayor and Council make the final decision with the help of the committee to choose a City Manager. Councilman Smith stated that he understood that the City Council is who hires the City Manager. He stated that he spoke to the Mayor about the individuals and stated that knew the individuals that were suggested for appointment. He stated that a handful of them are not residents of Centralia. He stated that their residency is a concern of his due to the residency issues involved with the recent election. He stated that he is aware that it is an advisory committee and knows that the job of the advisory committee is to give information to the Mayor and City Council to make the selection. He stated that the individuals suggested are good people and very qualified, but they are not all residents. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Establishing The City Manager Search Committee.

Ayes: Councilman Jones, Councilman Sauer, Councilman Marshall, and Mayor Williams 

Nays: Councilman Smith

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

Mayor Williams reiterated that he is aware that there are a couple individuals that do not live in the city. He stated that these individuals are involved in the business community including the banking industry, local business owners, and part of the education system. He stated that he has put a lot of time and effort into the selection of these individuals. Councilman Jones stated that he agreed with the Mayor’s comments in regards to those selected. Councilman Smith stated that these individuals that are appointed cannot vote, but he agrees that the individuals on the committee do need to be vested in the community. He applauded the Mayor for putting these qualified individuals together, but would like to see the group to be made up of voting residents of the City since it is such an important step forward for the City. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Confirming Appointments Of Certain Individuals To The City Manager Search Committee.

Ayes: Councilman Jones, Councilman Sauer, Councilman Marshall, and Mayor Williams 

Nays: Councilman Smith

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

City Manager Ramey stated that the professional services agreement that has been submitted is for construction work at the Centralia Municipal Airport. The City will be receiving approximately a 90% grant for the project. Shores Contractor was the low bidder in the amount of $216,000. He stated that the construction of the taxiway to the runway that runs east and west will allow for planes to exit the runway after landing instead of needing to turn around. This will be a safer situation for everyone. He stated that this project is part of the five year plan at the airport that the Council approves and this is one of the projects to be accomplished. He stated that IDOT, who does the work for the FAA, requires that an engineering firm be selected for a five year period of time due to the planning. He stated that Crawford, Murphy & Tilly was chosen last year for five additional years. He stated that unless the costs are out of line, the City accepts them. He stated that the State of Illinois pays 90% of the cost and they are reviewing and approving the fees in addition to I.D.O.T. also approving the fees before being brought before the City Council. He stated that he recommended approval. A motion was made by Councilman Jones and seconded by Councilman Smith to Approve A Resolution Approving a Professional Services Agreement with Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. for Engineering Services to Construct Access Taxiway to Runway 9 at the Centralia Municipal Airport.

Ayes: Councilman Jones, Councilman Smith, Councilman Sauer, Councilman Marshall, and Mayor Williams 

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

OTHER BUSINESS

None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

None

REPORTS

City Manager Ramey read a letter that was received from SSM Hospital in regards to their appreciation during the recent water emergency in Mt. Vernon that allowed for them to continue to care for their patients without interruption in service.

City Manager Ramey commended the Mayor for forming a City Manager Search Committee and not spending funds for an outside search firm. He stated that many communities will hire a firm that will handle the selection, review the applications and make the recommendations. He stated that he felt these individuals that were appointed are qualified.

City Manager Ramey addressed the comments made during public participation by Ted Johnson concerning the open meetings act. He stated that Mr. Johnson has submitted several complaints to the Attorney General’s Office in regards to the Open Meetings Act and each of them have been returned to him stating that this City Council has not been in violation of the law.

City Manager Ramey also addressed the comment made about the staffing of the Police Department. He stated that he didn’t say that the department was fully staffed with twenty-four Police Officers. He confirmed that he did say that since 2011 the City has budgeted and gave the authority to the Police Department to hire twenty-four people and has had funds available to hire them. He stated that there are sometimes issues with background checks and getting officers into the academy that the Chief can also verify. He stated that one officer resigned during the last couple of weeks and one officer left six months ago. He stated that the authority was given immediately after they left to replace these officers. He stated that once the authority is given, it goes to the Police and Fire Commission, background checks are performed, and then they are enrolled in the academy. He stated that typically this goes smoother than it has recently, but this is due to issues that the City Manager and the City Council do not have control over. He added the City has went from approximately 136-138 employees to approximately 106-108 employees, but the Police Department has not been reduced. He stated that the Fire Department has been reduced from twenty-one full-time Firefighters to fifteen. He reported that the Fire Chief has recently stated that the Fire Department is running smoother than it has in the past 22 years. He stated that they had agreed a couple years ago to add three part-time firefighters. He reported that he had talked to the Police Chief and has also informed the Mayor that he has requested a meeting with the union concerning his intention to add three part-time police officers in addition to the twenty-four full-time officers. They are not going to be hired to take the full-time positions or overtime away, but will be hired in order to help during situations such as festivals or when they are short on employees due to retirements, vacations, or workman’s compensation issues. He stated that he wants to make it as safe as possible for the officers and the public. He stated that by adding the part-time officers, it would not cost any additional pension or insurance costs. He stated that he hopes the unions can come to an agreement and he will report back as soon as he has more information.

Councilman Jones stated that he commended the City staff and City Manager for not having any findings in the audit considering the number of findings that were in the 2011 audit. He stated that he was in favor of the addition of part-time police officers as well. He stated that it would be a great asset to have officers to fill in during times that officers are going through the academy.

Councilman Smith requested that Rose Aldag-McVey provide a report about the recent Job Fair. Rose thanked those that assisted at the Job Fair on June 5th. She reported that thirty-one employers participated in the fair with approximately 400 open positions available. She stated that there was approximately 200 attendees. Most of the attendees completed a survey as they exited the event and 98% of those indicated that the job fair helped them with their job search. 92% of the employers that participated stated that they found employees to fill some of their positions. She stated that this fair is one of the ways the City is addressing the concerns of area employers in addition to other things that are being done in conjunction with the area schools and internships to assist. Councilman Smith stated that it went very well and thanked Rose for her work. City Manager Ramey stated that the City will follow up with the employers and attendees to determine how many applicants were hired as a result of the job fair in the coming weeks, just as they have in the past. Rose added that the Centralia works job board will continue to operate and be updated as well as an ongoing effort to assist employers and job seekers.

Councilman Smith stated that some Raccoon Lake residents have inquired about their options to have internet service. City Manager Ramey stated that unfortunately, according to federal law, the City cannot force a company to provide service when the cost to connect a resident costs more than the company will make from providing the service. He stated that a proposal has been submitted to Charter and the City is working with one subdivision to try to get them included. He stated that just recently he has spoken to some residents on Raccoon Lake telling them to get an idea of how many people will be interested in signing up. He reiterated that the City has no ability or authority to make Charter provide service. He stated that there is a particular distance within 120’ or 125’ that they are required to provide service, but they do not have an exclusive contract. It is non-exclusive and Charter can’t be forced to extend their service lines. Attorney Gruenke explained that the City has been working on the franchise agreement for quite some time. He explained that a franchise agreement allows utility providers to use the City’s rights of ways and the City gets paid for the use of the rights of ways. If there was not a franchise agreement then the City would then have the right to charge the utility company every time that they went into the right of way, which is not feasible. He stated that the City Manager has been trying to get Charter to come up with a resolution to this issue. The City Manager has been holding up the agreement, attempting to require them to provide service to those residents. Councilman Smith stated that this sounded good and added that the residents were just curious about what other options they have or what they could do. Attorney Gruenke stated that since there is a non-exclusive right to provide service, if another provider wanted to use the rights of way and negotiate a franchise agreement then they could compete with Charter.

Councilman Smith stated that some people have discussed the alarms of the lift stations with him especially in the 17th Street area. He stated that he thought there was approximately thirty lift stations in the City and the alarms can be like a tornado drill. He discussed the use of a cell phone relay that would not require the use of the alarm and the also discussed the current response process. City Manager Ramey stated that he is aware that no one likes to be woken up by the alarms, but compared to the damage that sewer in the basement can cause, he likes the fact that an alarm going off also alerts the residents. The City has changed out the alarms on the lift station to cell phone alerts on three stations at this time. He said that this type of alarm has failed to call the cell phones and nothing appears to be better than the alerts that the residents hear and can also report.

Councilman Marshall discussed the gun violence awareness event that was well attended but stated he was unfortunately unable to attend due to a funeral.

Mayor Williams stated that he had recently received a call from a resident concerning a lift station alarm. He said that he later received another call that complimented Jeff Schwartz for his response time to address the issue in less than an hour.

Mayor Williams stated that he discussed the employment of part-time police officers with the City Manager and he was in favor of hiring part-time officers and applauded him. He stated that more uniformed officers will curtail the amount of violence without costing the city a vast amount of money.

Mayor Williams stated that he was pleased that the audit resulted in no findings for the City.

Mayor Williams responded to Ray Sharpe’s comments during public participation stating that the City Clerk had sent out letters to the Centralia churches from him asking the leaders to join the City Council in prayer at the beginning of the meetings. He encouraged residents to attend the Prayer in Park on Sundays in Fairview Park.

Mayor Williams stated that many employers stated that they were very pleased with the Job Fair and were able to find individuals to fill their open positions. He applauded Rose Aldag-Mcvey for her work with the Job Fair and he stated that by continuing to do these types of things, the City will continue to grow.

Mayor Williams addressed the public comment in regards to future plans of the City. He stated that he intends to discuss the intended future plans with City Manager Ramey, especially since he will be leaving the City in the near future. He stated that the City Manager wants to leave the City in a prosperous position.

Mayor Williams congratulated the Centralia High School Softball team for their winning season. He also recognized the Centralia Grade Schools for erecting the sign at the William H. Walker Center. He stated that it brings great pride to the Community.

Mayor Williams announced and encouraged residents to attend the Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday June 22nd in Laura Leake Park. He also announced that June 28th and June 29th is the Saving Our Community Block Party at Laura Leake Park that he encouraged residents to attend as well.

Mayor Williams closed by saying that everyone needs to continue to pray while the City continues to try to accomplish things, move in the right direction together, and in order for the City to be the best place to live and to have success.

ADJOURNMENT

A motion was made by Councilman Smith and seconded by Councilman Jones to Adjourn the meeting.

Ayes: Councilman Jones, Councilman Smith, Councilman Sauer, Councilman Marshall, and Mayor Williams 

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried, and the meeting was adjourned at 7:17 p.m.

https://cityofcentralia.org/vertical/sites/%7BFC680FE7-BE5C-4903-A103-67AF5EF51655%7D/uploads/06-_June_10_2019.pdf

Want to get notified whenever we write about City of Centralia Council ?

Sign-up Next time we write about City of Centralia Council, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

City of Centralia Council