South Central Reporter

South Central Reporter

Sunday, February 23, 2020

City of Centralia City Council met July 22

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Sep 13, 2019

Meetingroom04

City of Centralia City Council met July 22.

Here is the minutes provided by the council:

The City Council for Centralia, Illinois met on Monday, July 22, 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; Jeff Schwartz, Public Works 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 Nancy Peebles.

AMENDMENTS AND/OR ADDITIONS TO AGENDA

None

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

The swearing in ceremony for Patrolman Niedbalski, Patrolman Perry, and Patrolman Temple was held. Chief Atchison discussed the training that the officers will be completing. He stated that there are now 23 officers in the Police Department. He noted that testing will be announced soon to hire another officer for the department. Mayor Williams congratulated and welcomed the new Patrolmen.

Bev Virobik addressed the Council stating that she has organized a group to help clean up the city prior to Balloon Fest. She stated that she would like any volunteers that are interested to meet in the City Hall parking lot on August 14th at 6 p.m. to join in on the clean-up efforts. She stated that she will be focusing on the one way streets in order to make the city look nice for the visitors.

David Parker apologized to the City Manager for statements that he had previously made about him. He stated that he has plans to petition to change the City of Centralia to a Strong Mayor form of government. He stated that if the City Manager doesn’t resign as planned he will no longer plan to petition the change. He stated that the city can improve if the community works together to make Centralia as great as it can be.

CONSENT AGENDA

A Motion was made by Councilman Jones and seconded by Councilman Marshall to Approve Items 1 & 2 of the Consent Agenda.

1. Approval Of The Minutes Of The July 8, 2019 Council Meeting

2. Approval Of Payrolls And Vouchers In The Amount Of $731,005.16

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 asked the City Clerk to provide a report concerning the City Manager Search Committee.

She reported that following the resignation being submitted by the City Manager on April 22nd with an effective date of August 16th, the job ads were ran and placed on the IML website, ILCMA website, the City of Centralia website, Centralia.Works job board, and advertised in the Centralia Sentinel. She stated that the ad is still listed on those websites and the committee is accepting resumes until the position is filled. She reported that following Mayor Williams being seated, on June 10th the advisory search committee was formed and seven individuals were appointed. The committee met for the first time on June 19th. At that meeting they reviewed the ad and the qualifications. At that time there were 7 applicants and the committee determined that they needed to investigate other advertising and search options to get more applicants. They met again on June 26th and determined that they wanted to utilize the ICMA website. After using the ICMA website, 24 candidates had submitted resumes by the July 15th deadline. The Committee met on July 17th and suggested that they needed to get more direction from the City Council about the review process and qualifications that the Council was looking for. She stated that following that meeting Councilman Sauer and Mayor Williams drafted a letter that included what qualifications they desired from the candidates and the process. The City Clerk read the letter that was proposed to be submitted to the Committee. Councilman Jones thanked the search committee for their work and agreed that experience in municipal government is necessary and the best candidate needs to be chosen. He stated that he agreed with the letter. Councilman Marshall stated that he felt that budget and fiscal management experience was important attribute for the next City Manager to also have. Councilman Sauer stated that the letter is a reflection of the job description for the City Manager. He stated that the committee was looking for what skills the City Council feels is desirable and clarified that the letter states that the candidate is required to have significant municipal experience with a preferred five year minimum in a leadership position in municipal government. He stated that they are asking the committee to weigh the experience of the candidates, adding that candidates with more experience are going to be preferred. He noted that one of the committee members had pointed out that candidates that have five years of experience have experienced and worked with contact negotiations, grant cycles, and budget cycles to see it in place and also have the working knowledge. He added that with a $27 Million budget, the City needs someone with verified municipal experience. Mayor Williams stated that the City Manager positon is one of the most important positions that the city has and Dan Ramey has done a great job. He stated that he hopes the next City Manager, whether they are local or not, becomes part of the city and a leader that will take Centralia to another level. Councilman Smith asked how many applicants were from Centralia. The Clerk reported that there are two candidates that have Centralia addresses. A motion was made by Councilman Marshall and seconded by Councilman Jones to Submit The Letter Of Direction From The City Council To The City Manager Search Committee.

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

Nays: None

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

BIDS

The opening of the bids for the surplus property that includes the 5 Combined Parcels of 123 W. Broadway, 125 W. Broadway, 129 W. Broadway, 131 W. Broadway, and 106 S. Walnut was held by the City Clerk. There was one bid placed by Rueter Laundry, LLC in the amount of $20,000.00. The Clerk noted that the deposit and business plan was submitted with the bid and that the business plan will be reviewed further for approval at an upcoming meeting.

ORDINANCES

A motion was made by Councilman Jones and seconded by Councilman Smith 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 – 1518 S. Poplar.

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 Sauer noted that Nicholas Heath, a previous councilman candidate, was the winning bidder of 330 Melrose. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer 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 – 330 Melrose.

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

Mayor Williams stated that there have been several appointments made recently and stated that there are many people that want to get involved and stressed the importance of getting younger people involved as well. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Marshall 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

Councilman Smith asked for explanation of Estoppel Certificates. Attorney Gruenke explained that Estoppel Certificates are approved by the Council when someone is getting a loan on the property that they are leasing from the City. The bank requires that the City sign the estoppel certificate stating that the lease is valid and there is not a breach in the lease since the lender is loaning money on the leased property. Councilman Sauer stated the City will have to notify the lender if there is a default, which he stated he is not in favor of, but added that without approval of the estoppel the improvements will not take place on the lake. Attorney Gruenke stated that in the past, there have been leases that were terminated and the City has notified the lender to give them an opportunity to cure it and step into the lease. City Manager Ramey stated that there is a $500 administrative fee for the estoppel review process. A motion was made by Councilman Sauer and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Approving A Lessor’s Estoppel Certificate For A Mortgage In Reference to Lake Lease Site C-5.

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 Marshall and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Waiving the Bidding Requirements and Accepting a Proposal from QT Petroleum on Demand for the Purchase of a Self-Serve Fueling Terminal at the Centralia Municipal Airport in the amount of $11,245.

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 it is necessary to remove the sludge from the water plant basins when it builds up to allow for further water production. He stated that Oros & Busch has been used for several years. A motion was made by Councilman Smith and seconded by Councilman Jones to Approve A Resolution Approving A Contract With Oros & Busch Application Technologies Inc. For Disposal Of Wastewater Material.

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 Smith to Approve A Resolution Approving A Proposal From The Illinois Counties Risk Management Trust (ICRMT) For Liability And Workers’ Compensation.

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 noted that the City is paying approximately $50,000 or 5% less than what the City paid the previous year. He stated that the liability insurance and the coverage on the buildings was increased. He stated that the $70 Million in coverage was increased to $90 Million. He stated that there was additional coverages added that included cyber liability and law enforcement liability. City Manager Ramey explained the process to calculate the workers’ compensation premium. He stated that the multiplier was reduced this year by 10% to 1.80 from 2.08 the previous year. He stated that he had met with ICRMT Risk Assessment to set up further training for the departments that will continue to reduce the amount of claims and premiums. He also noted the importance of continuing to work with a local agency.

OTHER BUSINESS

None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Gayla Harting shared a flyer from the Marion County Coalition Against Drug Use for their upcoming event. She also reported that the Centralia Youth Commission will once again be hosting a free sand volleyball tournament on Sunday, August 25th. It will include a cookout at 1 p.m. with games scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. It is limited to 14 teams and she encouraged all ages from 7th grade and older to participate.

REPORTS

City Treasurer Agee reminded everyone that the first installment of the Marion County property taxes are due and the Correctional Center’s water bill is current for the first time in several years. He stated that last week the City received approximately $37,000, but at one point they owed $250,000. City Manager Ramey added that the Murray Center is also now current.

City Manager Ramey responded to Councilman Smith’s request at the previous meeting concerning signs and fishing restrictions at the lakes. He stated that each year the Department of Natural Resources does testing, takes samples, and reports the condition of the lake and the fishing. He stated that in 2013, they did note the condition of the catfish. Since 2014 the reports have been good and thousands of fish have been added over the past few years. Most recently in 2018, 26,000 fish were added. He stated that he also asked them about the condition of the crappie and their size and there are no concerns at this time. The DNR have not reported that any changes need to be made. He stated that currently the only restriction is a limit of 6 fish per day for largemouth bass and channel catfish and they need to be 15” long. He stated that trot line fishing was eliminated by the council several years ago and in the future, a recommendation may be made concerning spider fishing and the number of poles used. He stated that there is a sign at Centralia Lake and another one will be made for Raccoon Lake.

City Manager Ramey also provided information regarding #16 Holiday Terrace that was discussed at a previous meeting. Photos were provided and City Manager Ramey stated that the house had burnt 7-8 months ago and was demolished 5-6 months ago by the owner. He stated that Gayla Harting inspected the property and took the pictures provided. He stated that he thought it looked like it was in good shape after the demolition and hopes that someone will build a house at that location.

City Manager Ramey discussed the Ameren Illinois street lighting project that he had previously advised the Council of in April. He stated that the project would include replacing 219 lights that include mostly vapor lights to be replaced with brighter LED lights in the Northeast portion of Centralia. He stated that the application for the project was submitted and he has recently spoken to the Ameren Representative that has reported that the City was approved for the funding of the replacements to be made. He stated that instead of paying $250 per light, the cost will only be $75 per light. He provided the previous correspondence and map that illustrates the lights that are being replaced. He stated that more lighting around the hospital on Pleasant Street was also necessary and being added.

City Manager Ramey updated the City Council on his recent discussions with Mr. Powers that had attended the last City Council meeting. City Manager Ramey provided photos of the property and correspondence with Mr. Powers that states that he agrees to remove the old wood and plumbing debris as well as agreeing to clean up the yard. He stated that once Mr. Powers completes what he has agreed to, the City Manager will be signing the insurance check as requested.

City Manager Ramey stated that concrete sidewalks at the Dog Park are being added around the watering bowls and to the covered seating area. He stated that when the free trees are received by the City from IDOT, some of them will also be added to that area as well. He added that concrete at Fairview Park is also being poured around the handicap swing area and parking lot area to allow access for wheel chairs. He stated that the section between Wendy’s and the entrance is also being cut out and the sidewalk is being extended to allow for easier access as well. He added that sidewalks are also being poured at Rotary Park by the batting cage area.

City Manager Ramey reported that following the request at the last Council Meeting, Jeff Schwartz has installed signs on the sidewalk to restrict bicycle traffic on the sidewalks downtown.

City Manager Ramey reported that the employee health insurance has been increasing each year. He stated that the Council has agreed in contracts that they will pay the first 5% of the increases each year and the employees will pay the difference or use a higher deductible plan. He stated that the City is working closely with the local insurance agent to get the increase reduced but this is the 2nd year in 4 years that the claims have been more than the premiums. Currently the increase is at 16% but they are still reviewing it for further reductions or other options from Blue Cross Blue Shield over the next few weeks. He stated that the employees have not had to pay any increases over the course of the last 4 years, but the City has paid 5% more.

City Manager Ramey stated that he will be meeting with Charter to discuss their contract further. He stated that Charter has agreed to pay all of the construction costs to provide service to Greenwood Drive due to the addition of the new development by Shores Builders in that area as well. He stated that he hopes a new non-exclusive contract will be able to be agreed upon.

City Manager Ramey expressed his appreciation for the continued improvements by the Foundation to the Carillon Park area, most recently the asphalt parking lot improvement next to the City’s parking lot on the South side of Broadway. He noted that the City added a manhole between the lots for better drainage and the area looks more attractive.

City Manager Ramey discussed the anticipated IDOT bid openings. The projects include Hickory from Broadway to 17th St. that includes new streets, blacktop, and new sidewalks with safety curbs and Frazier & East Broadway blacktopping.

City Manager Ramey stated that at the next Council meeting, the Meadow Woods Development TIF agreement will be presented. He stated that they had a great turnout at the initial groundbreaking and stated that Greg Sutton & the group was appreciative of everyone showing up. He stated that it is a $4.6 Million project that is going to be a great project for the City. It will include a state of the art sports facility, restaurant & banquet facility, kayaking area, boat dock, and new homes being built. He stated that the new taxes generated by the facility will go into the TIF with some of the funds being rebated back to the development. The City will be putting in a new road from Country Club Road to Meadow Woods in order to reduce the curve and widen the roadway. The developer will be adding water and sewer lines. He stated that the new taxes generated will be funding the improvements. He encouraged any of the Councilmen that have questions about this agreement to contact him before the next Council meeting.

Councilman Jones asked the Police Chief to provide the Police Academy dates for the new hires. Chief Atchison stated that the Academy start date is August 5th with graduation to be held on November 8th. The Officers are anticipated to be eligible in early February.

Councilman Jones stated that he appreciated the City Manager following up on the LED lighting project. He reminded everyone that the lighting issue was brought up by a concerned citizen and the lighting improvement is going to make the area brighter and safer for the residents.

Councilman Jones encouraged all residents to take part in the cleanup that is planned on August 14th prior to Balloon Fest. He noted many visitors will be in Centralia for the event and wants a good impression to be made.

Councilman Smith thanked the City Manager for the information regarding fishing at the lake and 16 Holiday Terrace.

Councilman Smith recognized Seth Baltzell and City Hope Church for holding the recent Serve Centralia Day. He commended their group of volunteers and the work that is being done to the new facility.

Councilman Smith questioned the recreation public private partnership. He stated that Fairview Park looks good but the infield of the ball diamonds have grass taking them over. He stated that he has received numerous phone calls about the condition of the field. He would like to know who is responsible for the maintenance, why they have been allowed to be in that condition, and he would like a report or update concerning it. He stated that the Monken family and Legion provided for the renovation of the fields. He stated that he thought that it was to continue to be maintained and wants to know who is responsible for keeping the fields maintained. He added that kids are being encouraged to get out and be active and the field should be available and safe at all times. The City Manager stated that he is not aware of any time that the fields have not been disked up when requested by someone that wanted to schedule a practice on the Fairview Park fields. He explained that what seems to be happening is that most of the games are now played at Rotary Park and Jaycee Park. He stated that the other fields are becoming priority and being taken care of more due to them being used the most. He stated that he has talked to Sonya recently about the fields and will follow up with her. He added that he will keep a closer eye on the fields as well.

Councilman Sauer also commended City Manager Ramey for the LED lighting project. He stated that he not only arranged to get better lighting, he negotiated a deal and saved the City over $38,000. He noted the ability of the City Manager to not only get projects completed when needed, but his ability to get them completed at a good cost.

Councilman Marshall stated that he was also appreciative of the addition of the LED lighting that will help reduce crime.

Councilman Marshall also stated that he was pleased with the reduction of cost of the workers’ compensation and liability premium. He stated that less claims will continue to drive the cost down.

Mayor Williams thanked the staff for their ongoing work that they continue to do.

Mayor Williams echoed Councilman Smith in regards to Fairview Park. He discussed the Gaetti Tournament that was recently held and its great success. He stated that he hopes that in the future they can host a tournament that includes the use of Rotary Park, Jaycee Park, and Fairview Park that will bring many people into the community.

Mayor Williams stated that he received a thank you note from the Ray Hanenberger family following his funeral. Mayor Williams thanked Pastor Peebles for offering prayer at the meeting.

Mayor Williams thanked Mr. Parker for his apology while addressing the Council.

Mayor Williams encouraged everyone to participate in the clean-up efforts on August 14th.

Mayor Williams stated that he is happy to see that the Police Department is now staffed with 23 Patrolmen.

Mayor Williams asked that the City Manager or Police Chief assess the traffic between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Rexford between Pleasant and Lincoln. He stated that there seems to be a lot of speeding and is concerned about the danger to the children in the area. He suggested that it be reviewed to see if a crosswalk needs to be added or a lower speed limit needs to be set.

Mayor Williams noted the progress of the painting of the parking lot walls at City Hall.

Mayor Williams recognized Bobby Patton and the City employees for their recent efforts to come to the aid of an injured animal. It was explained by Gayla Harting that Mr. & Mrs. Gaetti had reported to the non-emergency number that an owl was injured in a tree. Bobby Patton responded and requested the assistance of the Fire Department for the use of their ladder to get to the injured owl out of the tree. The owl was uninjured and flew off. The Gaettis expressed their appreciation and noted the ability of the departments to work together. Also Rose Aldag-McVey reported that a family during a birthday party called the non-emergency number reporting that a cellphone had been dropped into a storm sewer grate and they were unable to get it. She stated that within 3 minutes the fire department showed up and was able to get into the drain and get the phone out. The children was able to take some photos with the firemen and the kids loved it. Mayor Williams stated that these types of experiences are the types of stories that need to be shared.

Mayor Williams also commended the City Manager Search Committee for their efforts to find the next City Manager.

ADJOURNMENT

A motion was made by Councilman Jones and seconded by Councilman Smith 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 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 7:21 p.m.

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City of Centralia Council