South Central Reporter

South Central Reporter

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

City of Centralia City Council met August 12

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Sep 13, 2019

Meetingroom05

City of Centralia City Council met Aug. 12.

Here is the minutes provided by the council:

The City Council for Centralia, Illinois met on Monday, August 12, 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; Chief Brian Atchison, Police Department; Rose Aldag- McVey, Economic Development Director; Kala Lambert, Assistant To The City Manager; Gayla Harting, Community Development Director; Bobby Patton, Code Enforcement Officer; Robert Moulder, ESDA Director; Jeff Schwartz, Public Works Director; Michelle Liggett, Finance Director; Chief John Lynch, Fire Department; 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 Pastor Karl Barnfield.

AMENDMENTS AND/OR ADDITIONS TO AGENDA

Mayor Williams stated that the printed agenda had a typo under the ordinances numbered as 8-2 and 8-3. These ordinances were provided to the Council originally with the packet but listed as resolutions on the printed agenda. He also noted that there were revisions to the development agreement with Meadow Woods Holdings, LLC and the updated copy has been provided to the Council. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Jones to accept the amendments to the agenda.

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

Nays: None

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

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Mayor Williams and the City Council presented Jessika Korzenewski with a proclamation honoring her for her recent act as a good samaritan to help a young man in need. Mayor Williams commended her for her actions.

Michael Morris, on behalf of Centralia Clean & Green Board and staff, addressed the City Council thanking them for their continued support. He also noted the support and generosity of the residents in the community that has been provided. Mayor Williams stated that he appreciated the efforts of Centralia Clean & Green to make Centralia more beautiful.

Mark Hamilton addressed the City Council in regards to requesting that City Manager Ramey follow thru on his resignation. He questioned if City Manager Ramey prepared the budget and employment contracts or if they were contracted out. He stated that the City Manager Search Committee members are professionals and are capable of making a recommendation to fill the position. He also stated that the Fraternal Order of the Police have called the Police Department staffing dangerously low. He expressed his concern with only currently having twenty officers working in addition to the three new officers that were recently hired. He noted that this is below the recommendation of the FOP to have 30 officers. He stated that City Manager Ramey has previously stated that the City has taken a number of steps to promote the officers safety by implementing body cameras and the safety of the public through brighter LED lighting in northeast sections of Centralia and increased the equipment provided to the department. He questioned what was being done to increase the safety of the public other than brighter lights. He stated that the FOP and people of Centralia have both requested more officers. He also asked if there were a liquor licenses available for application and how the Gary Gaetti Academy and Castle Ridge Event Center & Restaurant already received one.

Steve Coleman addressed the City Council with his concern of loud motorcycles in his neighborhood and concerns of bicycles that have engines on them as well. He expressed his concern with the closure of Family Dollar & IGA. He stated that more stores are needed on the East side of Centralia and asked if the Mayor and City will be able to attract more businesses to fill those locations.

Vernell Burris addressed the City Council in regards the incident that Ms. Korzenewski assisted with. He stated that the incident was near his home and the problems are due to outside influences upon the youth. He stated that he is in support of continuing to employ City Manager Ramey until the position can be filled. He stated that he is an outstanding individual, City Manager, and businessman.

There was discussion among individuals in attendance that noted the inability to hear people addressing the Council and speaking during the meeting due to individuals protesting outside the doors and window of the City Council Chambers. Councilman Sauer addressed the complaint stating that the Council has tried at previous meetings to accommodate those that were protesting during the meeting. He recalled that the City Attorney has stated that if they were disturbing the meeting, the City Council could request that they move to the side. The Council discussed if it was distracting and disruptive. Mayor Williams requested the City Attorney to advise the Council. Attorney Gruenke stated that the law states that if someone is disrupting a meeting the Mayor may have them removed so the disturbance is gone. Mayor Williams stated that the meeting is being disturbed and requested that the Chief of Police ask the protestors to move further down the block as to not to continue to disturb the meeting any further. He stated that they could have a peaceful protest and the City could hold a peaceful meeting as well. Councilman Sauer noted that the protesters were turning their loud speaker toward the Council Chamber’s windows.

CONSENT AGENDA

A Motion was made by Councilman Jones and seconded by Councilman Smith to Approve Items 1-4 of the Consent Agenda.

1. Approval Of The Minutes Of The July 22, 2019 Council Meeting

2. Approval Of The Minutes Of The August 8, 2019 Public Hearing(CDBG Infrastructure)

3. Approval Of The Minutes Of The August 8, 2019 Public Hearing(CDBG Street)

4. Approval Of Payrolls And Vouchers In The Amount Of $ 607,206.64

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

Mayor Williams expressed his appreciation of the Search Committee and the work that they are doing to review the resumes that have been submitted. City Manager Search Committee Chairman Forrest Langenfeld and Committee Member Chuck Lane provided further information regarding the City Manager Search Committee. Mr. Langenfeld stated that the committee has met over the course of the last month and a half and in between meetings they have been reviewing the resumes that are being submitted. He thanked the City Council for allowing the ad to also be placed with the ICMA. He stated that there have been more than 25 applicants that includes some well-educated and talented individuals which also includes some local applicants. He stated that based upon the criteria that the City Council has provided, they have created a rating system. Each of the committee members are ranking the individuals with the goal to submit their recommendations to the City Council. He commended Mayor Williams and Councilman Sauer for continuing to keep the committee moving forward. He stated that the next meeting is scheduled for August 21st at 3 p.m. and an ILCMA Senior Advisor from Champaign will be attending that meeting. He stated that the advisor has taken part in eight searches over the past two years and will be sharing information with the Committee to help them with the process as well. Committee Member Lane added that while the Committee wants to find a new City Manager as quickly as possible, the committee asks for patience with the process. They want to find best person possible and they don’t want to rush with the selection while they are reviewing the candidates. Councilman Sauer asked if the meeting would be noticed as a public meeting. City Clerk Enke confirmed that it would be as the other meetings have been with an agenda. Councilman Jones asked for explanation of what the advisor will be providing at the meeting. Mr. Langenfeld stated that the advisor is the liaison from the ILCMA and it is a free service to communities going through this process from the ILCMA. Langenfeld stated that the committee is trying to be as thorough as possible and wants to provide as much information as possible to make the best decision. Mayor Williams once again reiterated the importance of finding the best City Manager during this difficult process. He stated that they are not trying to find a City Manager, but the best City Manager for Centralia to continue to move Centralia forward. Mayor Williams stated that City Manager Ramey is to resign on August 16th and no one will be in place by that time. Mayor Williams asked Attorney Gruenke to explain where the Council stands at this time legally in this situation. Attorney Gruenke stated that the City Manager is an appointed officer of the city. He stated that the statute first requires that the City Manager be appointed for an indefinite time. He explained that while there may be contracts, the contract mainly sets the terms and conditions of employment and not a time period of employment. He stated that the statute is in the Illinois Municipal Code Section 3.1-30-5(d) which pertains to an appointed officer resigning. He stated that if there is not a replacement by August 17th, there is not a need to reappoint by law, he will continue to serve until his successor is appointed. He added that the exceptions include if the appointed officer ceases to perform the duties or hold the office due to many reasons including death, physical or mental disability, conviction of qualifying crime, dismissal from office or abandonment of office then the Mayor may appoint a temporary successor. He stated that if the City Manager did something that caused a reason of termination, that would extinguish the employment. Also if the City Manager did not want to continue, then the City Council could appoint a temporary successor. He stated that the statue is designed so there is not a lack of a person in the appointed offices which includes the Police Chief, Fire Chief or City Manager. He stated that the approval of the contract that is on the agenda is for the approval of the contract, but stressed that it is not a motion to appoint the City Manager because his appointment continues until there is a successor. The vote is only to revise the contract. The changes in the terms of the contract relates to the resignation notice that he has already given since he will not be continuing long term, only accepting the request of the Council to stay on until a successor is found. Councilman Sauer asked if one of the exceptions does not apply, does the Council have the right or option to appoint an interim. Attorney Gruenke stated not if none of the exceptions apply. Attorney Gruenke stated that in order to remove the City Manager, the Council would have to go thru the removal process or he could also decide not to continue. Councilman Sauer clarified that with either the City Manager’s refusal or cause, then the Council could appoint an interim.

BIDS

None

ORDINANCES

City Manager Ramey explained that the bid for the properties included a minimum amount of $20,000.00 along with a stipulation of submitting a business plan with new construction within a year. He stated that the bid was received for $20,000.00. He stated that he was happy to see a laundry mat available in Centralia once again. He stated that residents are going to be happy with the business and how it is going to be operated. He stated that he strongly recommended approval of the bid. A motion was made by Councilman Marshall and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve An Ordinance Accepting The Bid and Approving an Agreement for the Sale of Certain Real Estate By the City and Authorizing Said Sale - 5 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

A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Marshall to Approve An Ordinance

Approving A Development Agreement Between The City Of Centralia And Meadow Woods Holdings LLC.

City Manager Ramey explained that that there are several types of agreements that can be made including TIF agreements, which is where the owner pays the property taxes to the TIF with a certain amount reimbursed. He stated that there is another type of agreement which is for properties that are located in enterprise zones. He explained that those that are built in enterprise zones can get 100% of their real estate taxes exempt for a certain number of years. He stated that this property was previously a restaurant and golf course that had shut down and been abandoned for several years. He stated that this project began when the former Mayor and the City Manager met with the developer and expressed that they would like homes to be built there along with a restaurant and boat dock. He stated that the developer then purchased the property. He added that since that time, the Planning and Zoning Board reviewed their plan which includes the 18,000 sq. ft. sports complex that Gary Gaetti and others are involved in. He stated that this development will also include a 14,000 sq. ft. restaurant and banquet facility. Later a canoe water park feature will be added with canoe rentals as well. He stated that he anticipates this facility bringing visitors to Centralia. He noted that their plan also includes adding some large cabins as well. He stated that it will become the nicest wedding venue in Southern Illinois overlooking the lake. He added that the developers have already had the expense of adding utilities including electricity. He stated that the TIF agreement being presented includes an 80% rebate, which is the same as the agreement made in the past with Country Bob’s. City Manager Ramey explained that currently the sewer line stops a couple blocks before the building where the manhole and lift station is located. He stated they will need main water and sewer extensions for construction. He explained that they will be running their own water and sewer lines and paying 100% of the cost of the extensions and lift station and then after a year they will dedicate them back to the city. He added that as an enticement to the developer, 1⁄2 of the sales tax that the city receives will be rebated back to the developer until August of 2022. He hopes this will encourage them to complete the restaurant and have it operating sooner. He also stated that he recommended that 80% of the real estate taxes to be rebated after they have paid them. He stated that the road from Country Club Rd., has been an issue for a while due to the sharp curve. He stated that they are wanting to reduce the radius of the curve. He stated that currently it is a 16 1⁄2 ft. wide oil and chip road. The engineers have estimated to run from Country Club Road on Meadow Lane to go to where it intersects with Tee Lane. It is estimated to cost a little over $300,000.00. He stated that he is asking the Council to accept the TIF agreement, but also agree to allow for the borrowing of funds over a period of time. The City would make the payment on the $350,000.00 loan for the and the amount of money that the developer would be getting rebated out of the 80%, would be reduced by half until the City received the $350,000.00 back. He stated that this is similar to the Walmart development, but on a much smaller scale. He stated that this is a great project and the City has also worked with the developer to get the Opportunity Zone for future incentives. He stated that the work recently completed at Point Park is going to tie into the development with it becoming a destination for visitors. Greg Sutton from Meadow Woods Holdings, LLC thanked the community for their support at the recent groundbreaking. He stated that the sports academy is expected to be completed in October. He added that the restaurant and event center groundbreaking will be soon after with the opening planned for the next spring. He noted that this year is the 100th anniversary of the clubhouse and they intend to preserve some of the history of the clubhouse. He stated that upcoming weddings and events are already starting to be scheduled. He stated the construction of the cabins and houses are anticipated to begin next fall.

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

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

City Manager Ramey stated that this lease agreement is also part of the development with Meadow Woods Holdings. He stated that they will have a boat dock/marina at the facility as well and be making improvements to the shoreline such as rip rap and construction to allow for walking near the lodges that they anticipate building. He stated that it is a 20 year lease of the shoreline with the right to renew and is contingent upon the business continuing to operate. It will allow them to do the work and construction that they are planning contingent upon any other building permits or approvals that are required. There is not a fee for the lease, it will just allow the developer to have exclusive access to the property noting that the City will still have the right to the property by easement. City Manager Ramey also stated that this item would require 4 votes from the Council to pass and not just majority to approve the lease agreement. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Marshall to Approve An Ordinance Approving A Raccoon Lake Lease Agreement For Meadow Woods Holdings LLC.

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

City Manager Ramey stated that this loan in is reference to the $350,000.00 project on Meadow Lane that was discussed earlier in the meeting. He stated that this loan will be similar to the loan for the Walmart project when bond counsel was hired. He stated that the City would solicit bids from the local banks for a 9-10 year note to borrow $350,000.00. He stated that the proposals will be brought back to the City Council with the lowest rate recommended. He stated that the TIF money from the taxes will repay it during that time and this resolution will authorize the City Manager to solicit for the bids. A motion was made by Councilman Marshall and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Authorizing The Solicitation Of Requests For Bid Proposals To Loan Money To The City To Pay For Infrastructure And Other TIF Eligible Expenses.

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

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

City Manager Ramey commended the Code Enforcement & Community Development Department for their work to continue the process to remove the dangerous and dilapidated buildings. He stated that the photos of the properties show the roofs caving in and depict the major issues effecting each one. He stated that there are health and safety concerns as well. He added that this will allow the Attorney to pursue condemnation in court. A motion was made by Councilman Jones and seconded by Councilman Marshall 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

City Manager Ramey explained that a few months ago the library contacted him in regards to the increase in the number of people utilizing the library and the parking lot. He stated that a sidewalk from 2nd St. to Broadway on the West side of the library with parking is needed. He stated that the library will be pouring more sidewalk on their own property and be adding more lights and decorations as well. He stated that he told the library that the City would provide the public sidewalk that extends 440’ and 5’ wide that will run North and South on the West side of the library. He stated that three bids were received for the labor of the project. He stated that Shores Builders was the low bidder at $11,334.00, Depew & Owens bid was $22,000.00 and T’s Concrete was $12,650.00. He stated that he is glad to see that the Centralia Library has that demand due to so many other libraries in the area not being used. He stated that this project will accomplish several things including helping the library with their issue and also provide a sidewalk for pedestrians. Councilman Smith asked if this project would be able to be done by City staff instead of putting it out for bid. City Manager Ramey stated that it was put out for bid to make sure the City received a competitive bid. He stated that the staff is capable, but due to the amount of other projects that the staff is working on this will allow for those projects to continue in addition to this project getting completed as well. A motion was made by Councilman Marshall and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Waiving the Bidding Requirements And Accepting A Proposal From Shores Builders For Sidewalk Construction At Library Park In The Amount of $11,334.00.

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

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

City Manager Ramey recalled the past financial status of the sewer fund stating that it has now leveled out. He stated that the City currently has a line of credit for the sewer fund in the amount of $300,000 that the City is trying to pay off. He stated that the City will temporarily pay half of it off with sewer funds. He stated that in the next few months the Line of Credit will be redone to pay off the General Fund. He stated that it is a cash flow issue. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Marshall to Approve A Resolution Authorizing The Temporary Transfer Of Funds From The General Fund To The Sewer Fund.

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 Dr. Jerry Beguelin and James Rueter are both being appointed to the Industrial Commission and these appointments will complete the appointments that need to be made. A motion was made by Councilman Marshall and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Confirming Appointments Of Certain Individuals To Various Boards And Commissions Of The City Of Centralia.

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 thanked those that have accepted appointments.

City Manager Ramey explained that as a partner with the City, an agreement with South Central Transit has been made to utilize their drivers and SCT has agreed to store and maintain the vehicle as needed. He stated that the rate to use their driver will be $35/hour. SCT will provide the workers compensation and insurance for the driver and provide the City Of Centralia insurance as additional insured. The City will charge for the use of the trolley when it is requested and those fees will be used to pay the driver and be used for the maintenance and upkeep of the trolley. He stated that it has already been used during the 4th of July Parade and it is an economic development tool. He noted that it is a partnership with SCT adding that SCT has been fair with their contract price. A motion was made by Councilman Jones and seconded by Councilman Sauer to Approve A Resolution Approving A Cooperative Intergovernmental Agreement With South Central Illinois Mass Transit District For The Trolley Vehicle.

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

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

City Manager Ramey discussed the recent heavy rain and drainage issues on the West side of Centralia. He explained that this project will extend the 4th Street concrete roadway where it stops at Oak Park to Randolph. He stated that it would also include a new 20’ roadway on Randolph from 4th St. to 161. The existing culverts will be removed and the drainage issues will be corrected. He added at the same time the City will be doing Oak Park East and Oak Park West and Middle Street. He stated there are multiples sizes of culverts and clogged culverts that the engineers will evaluate to get the best drainage possible. He stated that is a large project estimated at $680,000.00. The City is asking DCEO for a $630,000.00 grant and the City would provide $50,000.00 for the project. He noted that hearing was held concerning the project and the application will be submitted quickly for approval. Councilman Sauer stated that these funds are the funds that the State took from the City and this is an effort to get the funds back to be used in the community. He thanked the City Manager, Kala Lambert, and the former Mayor, Tom Ashby for putting this project together. He stated that it is likely that Centralia will get the Revolving Loan Fund money back, unlike some other communities that won’t. Councilman Jones also thanked the City staff for putting the grant request together. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Of Support And Commitment Of Local Funds For A Street Improvement Project.

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

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

City Manager Ramey explained the history and steps that the state took in order to take back the revolving loan funds from communities across Illinois. He stated that the projects have to hit the low moderate income of at least 51%. He noted that during the grant process, new census data was received which did not qualify so a survey was completed by Kala Lambert and Rose Aldag-McVey which resulted in an acceptable LMI percentage for the grant. He stated the City’s LMI is 59%. He stated that the 2nd project is the water tower near Conagra. He stated that last year the City sandblasted the interior of the water tower. He stated that the bid last year was close to $400,000.00 but it was not completed. He stated that the engineer is estimating it at close to $500,000.00 and $29,500.00 for inspection. He stated that it would be submitted similar to the road project and the public hearings have already been held as well. He stated that it will be good for the other communities that are provided water and also good for Conagra. He stated that he recommended the Council approving the submission of the grant application for $471,000.00. Councilman Jones questioned if this would be the rest of the $1 Million that was taken from the City. City Manager Ramey stated that the City would be getting every bit of it. A motion was made by Councilman Marshall and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Of Support And Commitment Of Local Funds For A Public Infrastructure Project.

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

Nays: None

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

Councilman Smith asked for some clarification from the City Attorney. Councilman Smith stated that the City Manager gave his resignation that was accepted by the City Council with the date of August 16th. Councilman Smith asked if the City Manager automatically stays on August 17th can an interim be put in or could they have a window of time to look for an Interim City Manager before the committee meeting on August 21st. Attorney Gruenke clarified that an interim can’t be appointed without one of the factors being present. Attorney Gruenke stated that the factors include if the municipal officer ceases to perform the duties or fails to hold the office due to death, permanent disability, conviction of a disqualifying crime, dismissal from, or abandonment of office. Councilman Smith clarified by questioning if other than those factors could anything else be done to look at an interim on August 17th. City Manager Ramey stated that there is something else that could be done. City Manager Ramey stated that he has not asked to stay, four Councilmen have come to him to ask him to prolong his application. He stated that he would be more than happy to keep his resignation date that was submitted. City Manager Ramey stated that he is not wanting to stay, but he wants to make sure the town continues on. City Manager Ramey stated that he has no control over the selection of the City Manager or the time period. He stated that he is not a quitter and if the Council feels like they want him to stay, he will even though he wants to take his retirement and has been talked out of it several times. He stated that there are several things going on right now that would make an interim difficult, but that is not his decision. He stated that the City Attorney has also told him this but if the City feels like they can get someone close to him, he would be perfectly happy. He stated that it has been an honor to serve as long as he has and has tried to make some things happen in the City. He stated that it is showing that it has worked. He stated that he has agreed to stay on until a new City Manager is selected. Councilman Smith stated that he commended that, but he was curious about it since the interim was used for the Mayor previously. Councilman Smith stated that if they can’t have a window, they are going to have to hire a City Manager. He stated that it is one of the most important jobs that they have and they need to move forward. He stated that whoever that person may be, they may not be familiar with the City and the projects that are moving forward. He stated that he was trying to grasp the idea that the Council can’t look at an interim or bring someone in short term until the committee meets again with the advisor from Champaign and reviews the candidates further. Councilman Smith stated that he wants the City to continue to prosper and move forward and he is not being personal. He stated that he is asking the questions and concerns that the constituents of the City have. He stated that it sounds like by law there is nothing that can be done. City Attorney Gruenke stated that when it was getting closer to the time frame when there wasn’t going to be someone in place, he brought the statute to the City Manager showing him that he would continue on. Councilman Smith stated that he recalled conversations about it but there were some people that wanted to know the situation that the City was bound by. Councilman Sauer stated that the City Manager is not like a part of a car that you can change interchangeably. Councilman Sauer stated that he would like someone with local experience to come into the position in the future. He stated that it is not that they want Dan Ramey as the City Manager, but having an Interim would be a problem due to the 2-3 months with a newcomer that has not done it before. He stated that when they do get a City Manager, Mr. Ramey is going to have to be on call for several months. He stated that he would end up training the Interim and training the new City Manager. Councilman Jones stated that it is the best interest of the City to keep City Manager Ramey until someone else is chosen. He stated that they are moving forward but during this time they need to also keep continuing the projects. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Approving A Month-To-Month Agreement With The City Manager.

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

Nays: Councilman Smith

A majority of the Council voting aye, the motion carried

OTHER BUSINESS

None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

None

REPORTS

City Treasurer Agee stated that since the last council meeting the first property tax distribution was received from Clinton County. It was approximately $285,000.00 which is about 10% of the total levy. He stated that he anticipates the distribution from Marion County soon.

City Manager Ramey stated that earlier it was questioned what his qualifications were when he was hired. He stated that he had the qualifications that were recommended by the search committee contrary to the statement made. He stated that he doesn’t contract the budget out to anyone. He stated that in 2011 there was a negative balance of $21,000 and 5 contracts were due. He stated that during that year with the Council’s strong support, he did hire a labor attorney to assist with those negotiations. He stated that the next contract negotiations in 2015, an attorney was not used for those and he handled them himself.

City Manager Ramey discussed the recent Centralia Youth Football League event at the old Evers Field. He stated that there was a large crowd and a great event. He also discussed the dog park that was added at that location last year and the concrete that was added recently to the shelters. He stated that the dog park is starting to be used more and more.

City Manager Ramey stated that city is fortunate to be offering the family health insurance package to their employees. He added that he thinks the city offers the best health insurance benefits South of Springfield, Illinois. He added that many towns including Mt. Vernon and some school systems don’t provide insurance for their spouses and family. He stated that health insurance was a major issue in 2011 when the City was self-insured and then the city switched to Blue Cross Blue Shield. He stated that the collective bargaining agreements have included that the City will pay the first 5% and the employees will have to pay anything over that percentage. He added that an insurance committee was formed as well. He stated that the last three years the insurance with Blue Cross Blue Shield has been kept at 5% so the City has paid 100% of the increases. He stated that currently the increase is approximately 20% higher. He stated that for the second year, the insurance company has collected less in premiums than what they have paid in healthcare. He stated that they are still negotiating, getting other prices, and meeting with the insurance committee to try to get the cost down for the employees although the City will need to pay 5%. He stated that he will report back to the Council as it continues.

City Manager Ramey stated that the garbage contract ends on September 30th. He stated that the City doesn’t mark up any of the garbage fees charged to residents. He stated that the fees are approximately $17.00 per month for residents. He stated that the amount the City charges the residents is the same amount that the City pays CWI to provide the services. He stated that it seems to be a very good deal. He stated that in three states, Centralia is one of the only cities that CWI provides leaf vacuuming for. He stated that currently he is negotiating a new contract with CWI but it currently it is a 16% increase, which would raise the fees to approximately $20.00. He stated that he is looking at some other options and still negotiating in order to decrease those amounts.

City Manager Ramey discussed the concern of bicycles that are being ridden on the sidewalks. He stated that Chief has instructed people to be watching for it and he has seen the Police pull some people over as well.

City Manager Ramey applauded Jennifer Price for remodeling the building that the Chamber of Commerce will be moving into. He stated that it is a unique building that they remodeled on their own and part of the downtown revitalization.

City Manager Ramey stated that the concrete has been poured around the handicap swing at Fairview Park in order to allow someone with a wheelchair to use the swing. He explained that there is a gate that will raise up to allow them to swing. He applauded Jeff Schwartz and Pat Stedelin for completing the project. He stated that netting was also added to the tennis courts at Fairview Park. He noted that with the lighting more people are using the courts. He stated that enjoys seeing more and more people utilizing the park and the kids getting occupied.

City Manager Ramey stated that right now the 5 union contracts are due. He stated that they are all 4 year contracts and the negotiations will not start until 90 days before the contracts expire at the end of December. He stated that there is a lot of rhetoric at contract time and it is normal business. He stated that he will be responding to more and more comments. City Manager Ramey stated that by being in his job for 8 years, he has made many people upset. He stated that people have been upset when they have not been hired due to not being as qualified. He added that when tearing down houses and not hiring friends, other family also become upset. He stated that it happens with the job. He stated that is why the terms of most City Managers is only 2 years, but he accepts those things and realizes that is what has to be done. He stated that he feels strongly that he has support, otherwise he wouldn’t continue. He stated that he respects Councilman Smith and his opinion. He stated that he is more than willing to leave but he takes it very seriously. He added that he is honored with the authority the City Council has given him to make something happen. He stated that they don’t agree all the time but they work it out. He stated that the City started with 136 employees and now have 106 either thru attrition or by cutting positions. He noted that none have been cut from the Police Department and the City has been running within the budget. He stated that he respects Councilman Smith as an elected Councilman but it is important to say that he had to terminate him after many years for some very serious issues. He stated that those feelings can’t help but go over. City Manager Ramey stated that he accepts those things. City Manager Ramey stated that anytime Councilman Smith would like to meet with the group or the press to go over those things, he would be happy to. He stated that he acted in the best interest of the City. He stated that he doesn’t show the baggage on things and usually when it is not shown, people question why it was done. He stated that it has happened many times with the last several people from other departments that he has had to discharge, the reasons and seriousness are not seen. He stated that he doesn’t want people outside the city to see the negative things that are happening. He stated that every town has them. He also noted that everyone is human and makes mistakes, including him and he accepts that. He stated that in world of politics, when you win elections 55 to 45 that is a landslide. Some elections are only 1, 2 or 5 %, but he stated that he feels honored. He stated that he doesn’t want to say things but at the same time there is always another issue behind it and more to the whole story such as being mad that someone didn’t get a contract for whatever reason. He stated that if anyone wants to bring up something that they are upset about or if they feel that they have been done wrong, he is willing to discuss every single decision that he has made. He added that he is not going to bring up dirt. He stated that many things that he sees on Facebook many times are complete lies. He reiterated that from day he started till the day he ends, it will be operated the same way and that is the best that he knows how to do. He stated that whoever is fortunate to become the next City Manager, this is a great town to invest in and good things that can happen. He stated that he wants the next City Manager to keep the City going and to get the tax base stronger so they can afford more personnel and do different things. He stated that the City can hire more Police Officers but there is more to the problem than that. The kids need to get occupied and parents need to be involved. He stated that he is pleased seeing the kids using the park playing volleyball, playing basketball in Youth Center, and getting involved with the City Youth Commission. He stated that people use statistics and reporting is different than it was before. In reference to the FOP, he stated that a 2004 Sheriff’s report was mentioned, but they don’t discuss how much the State Police was cut during that time. He stated that they have to live within their means. Every year the Police Department’s Budget has been increased and most of the time within 1-2% of what was requested. Every year 24 officers have been budgeted and to hired if someone leaves the department. There has never been a delay on the City Administration’s part. He stated that unfortunately due to regulations, schooling, and various circumstances such as termination or resignation, they can be put in a bind. He stated that with every dollar paid in salaries, the City has to pay 52% in pension costs. He stated that there is more to it than what is seen. He stated that they want more officers but instead of catching people when they do things, he wants to do things that will stop them from doing things. He noted that the money spent on that is much better spent. He welcomed any suggestions and stated that it is going to take the whole team. He stated that these are very tough things and he added that while they can fight about these things, he has no doubt that every single person on the Council loves Centralia and wants the best for it as he does too. He stated that once a new City Manager is hired, he will help whether it be with a phone call or an agreement, he just wants what is best for the city. He stated that saying yes or agreeing is easy, but it is much tougher than that, you have to live within your means and you can’t spend more than you have. He stated that is why the city was negative $21,000.00 when he started. He stated that the audited numbers reflect that the Recreation Department was borrowing money for 5 years in the excess of $1 Million because they could not keep up with the expenses. He noted that every department couldn’t keep up, so it has had to be tweaked as needed. He stated that the City and City crews are doing a better job and many projects are being done noting the Wabash and Calumet road projects. He encourages the support of the new City Manager and City Council but there is still a lot of work to do in the next few months.

Councilman Jones thanked Dan Ramey for being willing to stay until a new City Manager is found. He noted that they are continuing the search, but the City still needs to be ran until there is someone to take over.

Councilman Jones thanked Mike Morris from Centralia Clean and Green for what their group does in addition to the community members, organizations, and groups that help at the Recycling Center every Saturday. He reminded residents of the cleanup scheduled on Wednesday prior to Balloon Fest Weekend and encouraged residents to help.

Councilman Smith stated that he wasn’t going to stoop to that level and didn’t mean to touch a nerve in reference to the City Manager’s comments. He stated that he wants to move the City forward and what happened in the past, is in the past, and he hasn’t brought up anything about the past. He stated that he has never directed or stated anything of that nature. He stated that he is here for the City and the voters of the City. He stated that he doesn’t know what this has to do with anything that they are doing now, but he is not going to stoop to that level.

Councilman Smith also reminded residents that school is starting this week. He reminded residents to watch for the kids crossing streets and the busses that will be operating.

Councilman Sauer noted the remark made from the audience that yelled that Mr. Ramey was a liar when addressing the question of the city paying to have the budget prepared. He stated that he has been on the Council and the City has never paid anyone to prepare the budgets. He stated that he doesn’t know where people get these ideas that are negative and unnecessary. He stated that he is so happy that the City has people like Jennifer Price that is spending money to improve downtown and Greg Sutton that is putting $5 Million into the community. He added that without that, the City would have some problems. He stated that the City does have some negativity that needs to be overcome.

Councilman Marshall commended Jessika Korzenewski and called her a hero.

Councilman Marshall discussed comments made concerning the staffing levels of the Police Department and was in hopes of having a crime forum. He stated that some of the rhetoric should be discussed. He stated that each year of negotiations it is intense, but the City is mandated at 24 officers. All departments could use additional staff if money grew on trees. He stated that they already see the other cities raising taxes due to pension costs. He stated that if the taxes continue to be raised, business owners look as that and a high tax base can be a deterrent. He stated that to see a Council that is running within the budget and with the money allocated from the taxpayers is amazing. He stated that other communities are looking at this and understand that the City Manager is running the City within the budget.

Mayor Williams shared his condolences to the family of C. B. Jones, a former City employee, that passed away and to Gayla Harting for the loss of her family member.

Mayor Williams stated that there was a tremendous community event that the United Men’s Organization organized by many volunteers for a back to school bash for children in the community. He remarked that a there was a large crowd of people and it is good to see more unity in the town. He asked Calvin Lawson to discuss the event. Mr. Lawson stated that is was a great event for a diverse group that was unified. They gave away hotdogs and backpacks and offered a community wobble dance.

Mayor Williams shared the event to be held at the Masonic Lodge on August 15th with guest speaker, Bruce Wells, to discuss the Veteran Honor Flight.

Mayor Williams stated that he City Council wants the best Police Department possible. He stated that there are situations that come about that is not anyone in particulars fault, noting that several officers were lost through various situations that did cut the number of officers down. He stated that this should not take away from these men that are out there doing what they can to protect. We know that they are short-handed recalling a recent conversation with an officer. He stated that Joel Brooks and the Police Commission are trying to replenish the list for hiring Police Officers. He stated that he is trying to recruit and encourage young people from Centralia to apply. He asked the Chief to confirm when the new patrolmen will begin. Chief Atchison stated that they will be in uniform on the street with other officers in early November and they will be on their own in February. Mayor Williams stated that he is aware that everyone wants the new officers to start, but they have to be trained first. He stated that it is not a poor police department, but it can improve just as everyone can in life. He stated that there is no perfect person or perfect situation. He stated that he supports the Police Department and hopes everyone else will too. He reiterated to the residents if they see it, tell it. He recalled the situation that Jessika Kornewski was involved in stating that there were many others there that didn’t say anything. He stated people should not be critical if they don’t get involved. He again thanked Jessika for being there and getting involved in the situation.

Mayor Williams encouraged Mr. Coleman to contact the Police about the bikes when he sees them, so it can be addressed by an officer.

Mayor Williams reminded residents to attend and support the Balloon Fest as well as the city clean up prior to the event.

Mayor Williams stated that on May 20th he was sworn in to be the Mayor of Centralia, to do what is right, and to do the best job he can to make Centralia a better place. He stated that the selection of the City Manager cannot be done overnight or in a few weeks. He stated that he wants the best person that can be found from the applicants that are being reviewed. He stated that when the Mr. Ramey was hired, out of the many applicants, the best applicant was from Centralia. He stated that City Manager Ramey has done a great job bringing the cost factors down and doing what needed to be done to run in a positive manner. He stated that is what he is looking for in the next City Manager. Mayor Williams explained that he is aware that some are disappointed that City Manager Ramey will be continuing on a month to month basis, but the economic and other factors that make this decision to keep City Manager Ramey on a month to month basis is the most sound thing that they can do at this time for Centralia. If a new person would be brought in from the outside with no experience, he stated that it would only take one day for it to be a factor that is not good. He stated that he is trying to run the City on a positive factor. He thanked City Manager Ramey for accepting the challenge from the City to continue to make Centralia grow. He stated that residents can be critical and not agree, but he encouraged residents to acknowledge that the Council is trying to do the best that they can for Centralia which is the most important thing.

ADJOURNMENT

A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Jones to Adjourn the meeting to Closed session under 5 ILCS 120/2(C)(1) the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees of the public body or legal counsel for the public body, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee of the public body or against legal counsel for the public body to determine its validity; under 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(2) Collective negotiating matters between the public body and its employees or their representatives, or deliberations concerning salary schedules for one or more classes of employees; and under 5ILCS 120/2(C)(11) litigation, when an action against, affecting or on behalf of the particular public body has been filed and is pending before a court or administrative tribunal, or when the public body finds that an action is probable or imminent.

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 8:12 p.m.

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