Carbondale Reporter

Carbondale Reporter

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

City of Murphysboro City Council met May 28

By Michael Abella | Jul 9, 2019

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City of Murphysboro City Council met May 28.

Here is the minutes provided by the council:

The Murphysboro, Illinois, City Council met in regular session, pursuant to its ordinances. Mayor Stephens called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and invited Pastor Jim Frye to lead the council in prayer. Following the invocation, Mayor Stephens led the council in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

Mayor Stephens then directed City Clerk Hunziker to call the roll. The roll was called with the following:

Present:Barb Hughes, Jance Curry-Witzman, Russell Brown, William Pierson, Gary McComb, John Erbes, Dan Bratton, Mike Bastien, Gloria Campos, W. J. Pittman

Absent: None

The council then reviewed the minutes from the previous meeting.

Motion: To approve the minutes of the May 14, 2019, council meeting. All aldermen received a copy of the minutes, for their review, prior to the meeting.

Motion by Alderman McCombSecond by Alderman Bratton

Mayor Stephens called for a voice vote. All were in favor.

Motion Carried

Alderman Bratton inquired as to:

#777 page 3 ESA, Inc? sewer plant

page 4 Car washes? Agreed to clean her car due to work on the road at WWTP

page 6 Camera? From workman comp grant-security cameras for the Fire Department and Administration Building.

Alderman Hughes inquired as to:

Bill held from last meeting - the 2 service calls? Mileage split between the 2 calls

Alderman Erbes inquired as to:

#777 page 5 Mail Finance lease? Postal machine

Motion: To approve the accounts payable, register #775 & #777 through May 28, 2019.

Motion by Alderman McCombSecond by Alderman Bratton

Mayor Stephens called for a voice vote. All were in favor.

Motion Carried


Alderman Pittman opened discussion for Budget & Finance related items.

Old Business:

Status of Project Reimbursements: Mayor Stephens reported that he spoke to Lori Mingus at the insurance company and they are waiting on the engineer report, are still investigating. He has prepared a letter for Mr. Koppeis, stating a request for a timely response, the city can no longer wait. Alderman Bratton stated it sounded fine to him. Alderman Hughes requested it be friendly. Alderman Erbes asked if the insurance company has already denied the claim? Mayor Stephens answered that he had received incorrect information from Mr. Rawson, the insurance company is still working on it. Mr. Sheffer stated that they had received a call from their engineers, requesting drawings and information. Mayor Stephens added that they have asked him questions, also.

New Business:

Review of Financial Reports presented by Scott Evans, Budget Officer: Mr. Evans stated the General Fund is currently under budget, revenues are slightly under budget, for the first four months have a surplus. Salary is slightly under budget. Healthcare is looking pretty good, look to be on budget so far.

Presentation by Jason McKee, ST Network: Mr. McKee stated S.T. Network has partnered with Tri-Utility Cost Reductions. They do forensic auditing of utility bills. They go through them line by line, six to eight years back, working on a contingency basis. Thinks his company can find the city some money. Mayor Stephens asked what the terms of the contract are. Mr. McKee said the split is 50/50. To get started they need one copy of a utility bill. If there is a billing discrepancy, Tri-utility will submit the paperwork to correct the tariff, etc. If they find any savings, will split 50/50 for 36 months going forward. Alderman Bratton asked how long it takes? Mr. McKee stated it takes four to eight weeks initially, then six months before a check is cut. Alderman Pierson asked if the refund goes to his company first? Mr. McKee answered that no, the full amount goes to the city then the city cuts them a check. He also discussed Tri-Utility’s non-profit organization and how this helps fund it. Mayor Stephens stated we will have our attorney review it. Alderman Pittman stated we will put it on the agenda for the next meeting, which will give us time to look it over.

No public comment.

Alderman McComb opened discussion for Building & Grounds related items.

Old Business: Nothing at this time.

New Business:

Consideration of Replacement of Fiber Optics Cable: Mr. Manwaring stated he has set up monitors for the connection. Recommends replacing. Received two estimates, both approximately $5000. Alderman Bratton agreed it needs to be replaced. Alderman Hughes asked if it is for outdoor use? Yes.

Motion: To replace fiber optics cable.

Motion by Alderman BrattonSecond by Alderman Campos

Mayor Stephens called for a voice vote. All were in favor.

Motion Carried

No public comment.

Alderman Erbes opened discussion for Community Relations Committee related items.

Old Business: Nothing at this time.

New Business:

Consideration of Request for Street Closure, 1100 Block of Chestnut Street, Sunday, June 23, from 1 pm to 5 pm: Kristi Miller, fitness instructor, stated that Pound has a Pound and Pour, which benefits non-profits. She would like to hold a Pound class in the city parking lot, will do a workout then go to Brews Brothers. This will benefit Relay For Life.

Motion: To approve the request for the street closure of the 1100 block of Chestnut Street on June 23 from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Motion by Alderman McCombSecond by Alderman Pittman

Mayor Stephens called for a voice vote. All were in favor.

Motion Carried

Discussion regarding Noise in Neighborhood areas: Mayor Stephens stated this is directly related to River Rats, they have a beer garden in the back area, concerned with the noise. Rosanne Romero stated the stage is right next to her mom’s window. The noise is unbearable and then comes the yelling and hollering. She has spoken to the Police Chief regarding the outside noise. They stopped but now have an outside stage. This is a residential area and wants to know why this is being accepted. Alderman Erbes asked if it is any certain time? Ms. Romero stated two times, it was ok when Tippy’s was there. Alderman Bratton stated west of the stage. Alderman McComb stated when we gave him permission for the outside party. Alderman Bratton stated there were complaints when the Brews Brothers first started, but none now. Have you spoken to him? Chief Ellermeyer stated he has already spoken to him. Attorney Heller quoted some of the ordinance, part of which was have to contain the music within 100 feet, doubts that can be satisfied. Chief Ellermeyer stated it is the amplification, disturbing the peace. Mayor Stephens stated have a neighborhood standard, is in a non-residential area, was a restaurant and is now a bar. Feels Ms. Romero has a legitimate complaint due to quality of life. Ms. Romero asked why can’t they do it inside? Mayor Stephens replied they like their patrons to be able to go outside and enjoy the weather. Alderman McComb stated the problem is too large a crowd. Alderman Erbes stated historically there have been things like this, such as the Apple Festival, the Old Depot, etc. Alderman Bratton stated will have the attorney look at it with Chief Ellermeyer and come up with a recommendation. Mayor Stephens stated should have a better set of guidelines for beer gardens – maybe a wooden fence – to dampen the sound. Chief McBride stated with a wooden fence you run into an exit problem, has to have two means of egress and lock open. Need to determine what the allowable occupancy should be and have it posted. Alderman McComb asked how the speakers are facing? Chief McBride answered towards his own building. Alderman Pierson stated he could hear it from his house six blocks away. Need to control it, have let it get away from us, needs to be addressed. Alderman Bastien stated it will affect everything. Alderman Pittman stated he thinks 10:00 pm is a reasonable time. It will affect everyone and all businesses, also doesn’t think can shorten the distances. Mayor Stephens stated it is a difficult situation, affects people differently. Will hold on the agenda, do some research on it, in other communities. Alderman Campos stated that was special permission for a one-time event. Alderman Bratton thanked Ms. Romero and her son for coming to the council and we will address it.

No public comment.

Alderman Bastien opened discussion for Public Improvement related items.

Old business:

Discussion regarding the condition of various properties: Alderman Bastien stated:

1.Old Depot: Alderman Bastien and Bratton have spoken to Mr. Schaldemose, he is going to work on the lower windows this summer. Also said will hopefully roof this summer or by end of year.

2.Laclede: Alderman Bastien asked if the Fire Chief has inspected? Chief McBride stated Mr. Bost changed his mind regarding the inspection. We do have the engineer study on file. Stated the roof has been repaired inside, seems ok from the outside. Told Mr. Bost would like to walk through to get a view of the layout. Mr. Bost would like the request in writing. Alderman Campos stated she spoke to Mr. Bost and he wants to know why. There is no electric, gas or water, the roof is fixed, has some plans for it. Feels that the building being on our agenda will hinder his ability to find investors. Wants to know why? This is private property, told him she would pass it along to the council. Alderman McComb asked if any building sits unoccupied, can they deny access for an inspection? Feels Chief McBride or Mr. Kennedy should be able to go in. Attorney Heller stated to get non-emergency access would have to go to the circuit court to get access/a search warrant. Chief McBride stated it is private property not a business. Alderman Bratton stated can’t expect firemen to go in. Chief McBride stated they will not. Alderman Pittman stated he had a conversation with Mr. Bost who stated that he feels singled out. Chief McBride stated he does pre-plans on open businesses. Alderman Pittman stated we need to do it for all that meet the same criteria. Alderman McComb stated should be able to ask anyone. Alderman Campos asked if it is fair to say we are not doing this due to disrepair, would like the layout for the fire department. Mayor Stephens stated if it doesn’t meet code, that can be communicated with him, it is a historic building. Alderman Campos stated he talked about the windows, has the original windows boarded up to protect them. Mayor Stephens stated he saw some deteriorated boards.Alderman Pittman stated are we going to keep all on the agenda until they are done? Alderman Bastien stated we do not want it to fall through the cracks. Alderman Pittman suggested quarterly? Alderman Bastien stated if he checks with Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Bryant. Alderman Pittman stated need to treat all the same. Alderman Bratton stated that no one is picking on Mr. Bost. Mayor Stephens requested that Chief McBride draft a letter. Chief McBride stated he has already started a list, he checks on a certain number each year.

3.North 17th Street: No update, has started on some fencing.

4.South 14th Street: Dumpster is full, has called for it to be emptied. Does look better.

New business:

Discussion regarding planting of trees on boulevard at Longfellow Park: Joe Frye stated the Boy Scouts planted the trees on the boulevard to replace some. He was not aware of the restrictions. Would like to present his case before the council to get an exception. Mayor Stephens asked if they could be transplanted? Mr. Frye stated they are still small trees, could be transplanted. Wanted to keep it picturesque. Mayor Stephens stated when they grow bigger they impede the view at the cross streets and the roots upturn the sidewalks. Alderman Bratton stated need to lead by example, need to move them. Mr. Frye stated will do that.

Discussion regarding Walnut Street signage: Mayor Stephens stated he has received three complaints concerning the signage along Walnut Street. The feather sign where CBD is advertised for sale. Placed in the right of way. Those type of signs have been banned in other communities. Alderman Erbes stated the Farmer’s Market also uses that type of sign. Alderman Pierson stated there is an ordinance regarding signs on boulevards and sidewalks, don’t think it is enforced. Mayor Stephens stated the argument is that it is a flag not a sign. Does it bother anyone? Alderman Bratton stated enforce it for all or don’t. Alderman Hughes asked what does it actually say? Thought it was just for a lighted sign, need to look at it. Mayor Stephens stated he will revisit that ordinance with the attorney. Attorney Heller stated one of the rules is that it is no closer than ten feet from a public boulevard, standing can’t be higher than eight feet. Mayor Stephens stated will bring questions about charitable organizations, etc. to the next meeting.

Public comment: Alderman Campos asked about the house on 12th Street next to the Public Works building, the chain is gone. Mayor Stephens answered that there is a contract for demolition.

Alderman Bratton opened discussion for Public Works related items.

Old business:

Discussion/Update of flooding issue and legal action: Mr. Sheffer stated he is trying to have a plan that keeps it on school property.

New business:

Consideration of request to declare equipment as surplus: Street Department Equipment – 1998 Dodge 3500 – Pick-up (98-01); Lincoln welder – Trailer mounted: Lincoln Air Jack; Troy Bilt Log Splitter. Water Department Equipment – 1998 dodge 2X4 (98-03); 2002 Chevrolet S-10 (02-02): Alderman Bratton asked if anyone had anything to add? Alderman McComb asked how is it being gotten rid of? The log splitter has not been used. Alderman Bratton stated we usually take it to Cannings.

Motion: To approve the request to declare equipment as surplus: Street Department Equipment – 1998 Dodge 3500 Pickup (98-01); Lincoln welder – Trailer mounted: Lincoln Air Jack; Troy Bilt Log Splitter. Water Department Equipment – 1998 dodge 2X4 (98-03); 2002 Chevrolet S-10 (02-02).

Motion by Alderman CamposSecond by Alderman Pittman

Mayor Stephens called for a voice vote. All were in favor.

Motion Carried

Discussion regarding WWTP Backhoe: Mr. Stewart stated that it will cost more to repair than it is worth, cost is $2500. Have to have it. Alderman Bratton stated if you don’t need a backhoe, can borrow from Public Works. Mr. Stewart stated they do not want their worn out stuff. Alderman Bratton asked how much a used backhoe cost? Mr. Stewart stated he has seen a 2012 for $50,000-55,000. Mayor Stephens asked how many hours? Mr. Stewart did not know. Alderman Pierson asked where are we if we fix it? Mr. Stewart did not know. Alderman Hughes asked if it is inoperable now? Mr. Stewart stated have to pump up the brakes, etc. Alderman McComb stated if we keep paying for repairs, we should just get a used one. Alderman Pierson asked Mr. Evans. Mr. Evans stated there is a lot of money going out right now, for the WWTP road, the South 20th Street overlay. If it is financed, that might be better. Can look into it, maybe get a low rate. Alderman Pittman suggested financing it and when the old one is sold as surplus, apply that money towards the newer one. Mr. Mills stated that we could get a new one for the Water Department and transfer the 2008 to the WWTP. Mayor Stephens asked if we want to spend the $2500 in the meantime? Mr. Stewart answered no, can always borrow Public Works backhoe. Alderman Bratton stated if it is not safe, park it.

Discussion regarding Portable Generators: Mr. Stewart stated that we have two portable generators, need to be centrally located and currently they are not. Mayor Stephens asked what would he like? Mr. Stewart replied at the Public Works building. Alderman Pierson asked if there is room on the lot at the rear? Mr. Manwaring stated we also have four other generators.Mr. Mills stated there is not any room in the building. Alderman Pierson asked if can add onto the building? Mr. Mills replied that will take out the parking. Alderman McComb asked about the property below. Alderman Pittman asked if there is room at the Fire Station #2? Chief McBride stated that is where the other four are right now. Working on taking out some walls, there are some trusses inside that could be used if another building is built. Mr. Mills stated there is the lot on 11th and Hanson Street, would be able to have a building built there. Mayor Stephens stated we need more storage so should pursue adding more. Alderman Bratton asked if it can be just a pole barn, no heat? Mr. Stewart stated will need electricity. Alderman Pierson stated could add onto Public Works building and use Hanson Street for a parking lot. Mr. Mills stated the door on the north end is used for the concrete equipment. Alderman Bratton proposed getting a price on a building, get some quotes. Alderman Hughes asked if the four are stored in Fire Station #2, should they all be stored together? Yes. Let’s do it right and put them all together. Alderman Bratton stated he will look into it. Mr. Stewart added that the two portables are the critical ones. Mr. Manwaring stated the other four are not as critical but still need to be able to get to them quickly. Mayor Stephens stated he will get with Mr. Stewart to figure out what is needed.

Consideration of Motor Fuel Resolution for the 20th Street Overlay Project: Mr. Sheffer stated if approximately $155,000, is motor fuel tax monies. Will be Spruce to Division, through the intersection on South 20th Street.

Motion: To approve the Motor fuel Resolution for the 20th Street Overlay Project.

Motion by Alderman CamposSecond by Alderman Erbes

Mayor Stephens called for a voice vote. All were in favor.

Motion Carried

No public comment:

Alderman Brown opened discussion for Public Safety related items.

Old business: Nothing at this time.

New business: Nothing at this time.

Public comment: Alderman Campos asked about the North 20th Street bandit. Mayor Stephens replied there is a gentleman placing stuff in the roadway, the police department is working on it.

Alderman Hughes opened discussion for Personnel related items.

Old business:

Alderman Hughes stated they have had their first meeting with the Laborers and Clerical, the next meeting will be on the 10th.

New business: Nothing at this time.

No public comment.


Thanked Mr. Sheffer, Mr. Stewart and our attorney for the Jackie Krueger annexation.

Submitting a Build grant application for the two to four lane highway from Murphysboro to Vergennes.


Barb HughesNothing

Jance Curry-Witzman Nothing

Russell BrownNothing

William PiersonNothing

Gary McCombThanked Mr. Ensor for going to the cemetery with him to take pictures. Will be getting together with the contractor to discuss. Clean-up days are June 7th and 8th.

John ErbesNothing

Dan BrattonStatus of the dump truck? Estimated around June 1. Plants around the Welcome to Murphysboro sign look very nice.


Mike BastienNothing

Gloria CamposUpdate on the school crossing-ready by fall? Mayor Stephens stated have received notification of award but not yet on how to go forward, still watching.

W. J. PittmanNothing


Ed HellerBrief public hearing on June 25 at 5:25 for annexation.

Sandra RipleyNothing

Harold ShefferNothing

Steve McBrideStation #2 is now finished.

Jamie EllermeyerNothing

Scott EvansNext meeting will present the audit.

Leandra BryantNothing

Brian ManwaringNothing

Darrin MillsNothing

Jim StewartNothing

Katharine VolleNothing

Blain EnsorNothing

Motion: To adjourn

Motion by Alderman BrattonSecond by Alderman Pittman

Mayor Stephens called for a voice vote. All were in favor.

Motion Carried

Meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

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City of Murphysboro City Council