Carbondale Reporter

Carbondale Reporter

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

City of Murphysboro City Council met August 27

By Philip Gonzales | Sep 16, 2019

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City of Murphysboro City Council met Aug. 27.

Here is the minutes provided by the council:

The Murphysboro, Illinois, City Council met in regular session, pursuant to its ordinances, on the 27th day of August, 2019. Mayor Stephens called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and Father Gary Gummersheimer led 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, Bill Pierson, Gary McComb, John Erbes, Dan Bratton, Mike Bastien, W.J. Pittman

Absent:Gloria Campos

Census 2020 Presentation: Rebecca Robinson stated the census will start April 1, 2020.

Would like the City of Murphysboro to be in partnership with the Census to be a

Complete Count committee. Packets of material and information were provided for each council member. She stated it is key to encourage more residents and non-residents to self-respond. The goal is to count everyone. All information collected is private and confidential, names are not included. Accurate counting helps with a multitude of things, including determining the number of representatives in Congress, Federal dollars, etc.

These are all based on census data. Everyone will receive a postcard mid-March. New this year they can be completed online and on your phone. We need to get people engaged. Ms. Robinson then took questions. Mayor Stephens asked if they are currently hiring? Yes, the City can host a job fair or there are other ways to apply. It will be short-term and temporary. Can also share on social media, websites, etc. Mayor

Stephens thanked Ms. Robinson for coming.

The council then reviewed the minutes from the previous meeting.

Motion: To approve the minutes of the August 13, 2019, council meeting. All aldermen received a copy of the minutes, for their review, prior to the meeting.

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Brown

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

Motion Carried

Mayor Stephens asked if Bower Trucking is the least expensive? Yes, considerably.

Alderman Bratton inquired as to:

#801 page 4 Nextiva? Phone service

#801 page 4 Sonic wall? Computer firewall

#801 page 5 Hach Company? WWTP monitor

Mayor Stephens inquired as to:

#801 page 2 Burke Electric – lift station work? Multi-troll, under warranty, will be reimbursed.

#801 page 10 Voss – service call? Yes, problems with the air conditioner.

Alderman Bratton asked if the shooting range was breaking even. Mr. Evans stated through July are $3000 in the hole. Chief Ellermeyer added it is mostly the utility bill.

Alderman Hughes inquired as to:

#801 page 5 Imco Utility Supply – routine? Yes.

Motion: To approve the accounts payable, register #799 & #801 through August 27, 2019. All aldermen received a copy of the accounts payable for their review, prior to the meeting.

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second 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: Nothing at this time.

New Business:

Presentation of Financial Reports by Scott Evans, Budget Officer: Cash balance is slightly down from May but still a decent number. The Balance Sheet has no major shifts. The Income Statement has some temporary deficits due to timing issues, will decrease. Will get a tax installment in September. Health Insurance is currently within budget. Sales Tax had another decent month, looks to be on target. Income Tax had a good month. This is also where the census makes a difference. General Fund spending is currently under budget. Salaries are currently over but July was a three payroll month. This will balance out over the rest of the year. Alderman Bratton asked about the Code Enforcement payroll having a $2900 deficit? Mr. Evans stated it is due to a three payroll month in July, is a timing issue. Alderman Bratton asked about Tourism, what is the money in and out, currently $19,000 over budget. Mr. Evans stated it is in the City wide Income Statement. Alderman Hughes stated that $15,000 was for the Main Street Project consultant. Alderman Bratton stated he would like to see a breakout of expenses. Mayor Stephens stated there is overwhelming community support for the tourism group. Mr. Evans stated they have approximately $34,000 in the bank. Mayor Stephens stated sales tax in 2018 increased eleven out of twelve months, better than the previous year. This shows a strong retail community. It is going well.

No public comment.

Alderman McComb opened discussion for Building & Grounds related items.

Old Business: Nothing at this time.

New Business:

Discussion regarding new sign and lighting at City Hall: Alderman McComb stated has received a bid of $850.18 from Clutts Enterprises.

Motion: To approve the bid of $850.18 from Clutts Enterprises for the new sign and lighting at City Hall.

Motion by Alderman Bratton

Second by Alderman Erbes

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

Motion Carried

Discussion regarding installation of Knox boxes on City Buildings: Chief McBride stated that we passed an Ordinance requiring Knox boxes. They have returned almost all the keys held. Need Knox boxes for the following City Buildings: Daum, Public Works, Sewer Plant, Youth & Rec Center, Senior Citizens Building and the Shooting Range.

Motion: To purchase Knox boxes for the City buildings that require them.

Motion by Alderman Erbes

Second by Alderman Bastien

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:

Presentation regarding a Community Garden: Alderman Jance Curry-Witzman and Austin Little from the University of Illinois Extension Office. Alderman Curry-Witzman stated they are educators serving the counties’ needs. They work with schools, with SIU and other groups. They provide education and training. They want to start a community garden. They will do the work needed to apply for grants for the materials needed. Will work with everyone from start to finish. Start with a community garden and grow to a food forest. Have seen some areas in Murphysboro where these could be located. This is an impoverished area where they could provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Mr. Little added that it would be a great asset for the city. One of their goals is connecting community groups together. There is an area bordering Shomaker/South 6th Street/Bridge Street that would be ideal. They are looking at perennials, such as fruit trees and fruit bushes. They are looking for approval to go forward with this site. Funding would be mainly from grants for this specific purpose. Labor and upkeep would be provided by the community and volunteers. Alderman McComb asked who owns the piece of property. Mr. Mills stated it is owned by Justin Baril. Mayor Stephens stated the county web site shows the city owns it. Alderman Pittman stated it now shows that Justin Baril owns it. Mayor Stephens asked how much space would be ideal. Mr. Little answered ½ to 1 acre. Alderman Pittman asked about partnering with the Presbyterian Church, where one is already located? Alderman Curry-Witzman stated it is already established. Alderman Bratton asked if it is started then no one continues to maintain it, who takes care of it? Mr. Little replied it would be in their long-term plan to keep it maintained. Low maintenance is the plan. Alderman Curry-Witzman stated they have the opportunity to promote the garden as they are actively in the community. There are many education opportunities. Mayor Stephens stated he will continue to work to identify available property. Alderman McComb stated the lots to the northwest side of the previously identified property are on the tax sale every year, maybe the county would donate them. Mr. Mills stated the city maintains those lots. Alderman Pittman asked about the land alongside the abandoned railroad site on North 11th Street. Mayor Stephens stated he will set up another meeting to discuss potential sites.

Request for volunteers – Apple Festival Kids Free Fair, Saturday, September 14th from 3-5 pm: Ms. Ripley stated volunteers are needed to help with games and other activities at the Kids Free Fair.

Motion: To approve the request for street closures for BBQ Cookoff.

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Bratton

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

Motion Carried

No public comment.

Alderman Bastien opened discussion for Public Improvement related items.

Old business:

Discussion regarding the condition of various properties:

1.Old Depot: No update. Mayor Stephens asked if the roof is out of code? He called Mr. Carter, whom Mr. Schaldemose is buying the property from contract for deed, and left a message. Stated we need to compel him to take action, pursue demolition order? Alderman Bastien asked I there are any violation orders to Martin? Ms. Bryant stated not recently. It is listed on the National Historic Register. Mayor Stephens stated he is ready for Code Enforcement to start sending notices again. Alderman McComb asked if he talked to Mr. Carter? Mayor Stephens answered no, left a message and has not heard back from him. Alderman Bratton stated he will reach out to Mr. Schaldemose. Alderman Bastien stated need to put a deadline on it. Leave this on the agenda.

2.North 17th Street: No update, have been working on.

3.South 14th Street: Another dumpster was emptied.

4.North 19th Street: The black covering is on the fence.

5.902/908 Locust Street: Mayor Stephens stated he has messaged Mitch Murphy, he has not responded, letters have been sent but no response.

6.22nd Logan: Alderman Bastien stated he has received several complaints concerning this property. They have until September 2nd to get it cleaned up. Alderman McComb stated they are hauling in brush and burning it. Alderman Bastien stated R. J. Ihle is the owner and he has also been notified.

New business: Nothing at this time.

No public comment.

Alderman Bratton opened discussion for Public Works related items.

Old business:

Discussion regarding Truck Usage on South 20th Street: Alderman Bratton stated want to keep the big trucks off. Alderman Pierson stated the farmers won’t be able to get fertilizer, haul their corn. If we close the street to 26,000 pounds they won’t be able to do anything. Alderman Bratton stated the sub surface under the street is too sandy. Alderman McComb stated if not careful will have a problem with the other manhole. Trucks can go out 149 to Route 3, they are not paying for maintenance. Will have to ask the State Police to set up a check there every now and then. Alderman Hughes stated places like Wright’s, FS, propane companies, could not make deliveries. Someone hauling horses could not use that street. Mayor Stephens stated he attended the County Road and Bridge meeting but they did not have a quorum.

New business:

Email from Harold Sheffer with updates. Mayor Stephens stated he called Mr. Simonds and asked him to move the city up on the schedule, try to have it done by Apple Festival. Also called Carrie Nelson with IDOT, regarding the form they needed to get back to E.T. Simonds.

Alderman Bratton stated the bids will be out in two to three weeks for the Waste Water Treatment Plant Road. It will take six to eight weeks to get the culverts after they are ordered. Thinks should go ahead and order, then whoever gets the bid, the culverts will be there so they can start the work. Mr. Stewart stated that Mr. Sheffer has that information. He said can leave it out of the bid. Alderman Bratton stated it would save two months’ time. Mayor Stephens stated it is not on the agenda, can put it on the next meeting’s agenda. Alderman Bratton replied put it on the agenda and get a price.

Alderman Brown opened discussion for Public Safety related items.

Old business:

Discussion regarding the Gillenberg Property: Chief McBride stated the insurance company has allowed Mr. Summers to get bids for demolition. He has contacted the county to let them know they will need to shore up the Willis Building. Mr. Mills and his workers put up orange fencing. You can still see slight movement, it is still dangerous.

New business:

Discussion regarding Adult-Use Cannabis: Mayor Stephens stated we received a letter from the Ministerial Alliance at the last meeting, if we do not do anything we are opted in as of January 1st. Alderman Pittman stated it is our option to allow businesses to sell in town, no option on use in town. Alderman Erbes stated it’s here, it’s legal, don’t want to keep a business out and miss out on tax benefits. Alderman Bastien stated he agreed. Alderman McComb stated you would have to have a large amount of money to start that type of business. It would create jobs such as 24-hour security. Not against it. Alderman Bratton stated he is against having it, don’t need that money. Alderman Pierson stated the only discussion so far is the monetary benefits, not social or moral issues. Money is not a valid argument. Alderman Pittman stated regarding the letter from the last meeting, if you asked them about liquor they would say the same thing. It’s a fine line, it’s a personal decision. Alderman Hughes asked Chief Ellermeyer his thoughts on the subject. Chief Ellermeyer stated he has been on a drug task force, fighting drugs, is not for it. Has seen what it does to families, same as alcohol, do we want to add to it? He does understand it is a change. He has spoken to doctors and knows that there are conditions that it helps with. Mayor Stephens stated the only action is opting out. Alderman Pittman asked if the city can license it with restrictions? Mayor Stephens stated he would have to review it. Alderman Erbes stated can create special zoning. Mr. Heller stated based on information provided to us, can do it under zoning, a special permit – can look at it individually. Alderman Erbes asked if he would bring that information to the next meeting. Mr. Heller stated that if the city is not going to prohibit it, there is an advantage to being out in front of it. The City would not see any money until September if we wait until January. Need to enact ordinances next month due to the 90 day waiting period. If not going to opt out, need to start the process now, to receive the economic advantages sooner. Alderman Pittman stated you need to talk to the people in your ward before we vote on it. 90% of the people he has spoken to have said we have to have this. There were a wide variety of people for it. Alderman Bratton stated the more accessible it is, more chance of someone trying it. Lot of crimes are blamed on drugs but now it is decided it is a good thing, can tax it. I will vote no. Alderman McComb stated can govern it through ordinances. Alderman Curry-Witzman stated we have another two weeks, do what Alderman Pittman suggested. Mayor Stephens stated can table it and consider it further at the next meeting.

No public comment.

Alderman Hughes opened discussion for Personnel related items.

Old business:

The Negotiating Committee will be meeting next week.

New business:

Will be interviewing for the Waste Water Treatment Plant Supervisor next week. It has been advertised, there are two applicants, both are internal.

No public comment.


Letter from Rick Runge, President – Murphysboro School Board: Mayor Stephens read the letter which thanked Chief McBride and his firemen for helping out at the General Logan School with cleaning the asphalt for outdoor play areas for the children since the new playground equipment will not be ready until next year. Mayor Stephens also thanked Chief McBride and the firemen who performed this task.

Update on Walnut Street Resurfacing: It is set for March of next year. The parking spaces are city maintained but will do with the city responsible for 20% of the cost for the parking spaces. They will remedy the non ADA compliant ramps which are 100% state responsibility. Asked if they will do 10-15 feet out onto the street approaches, they cannot do an 80/20 split but can speak to the contractor that gets the job and look at the worst ones. Asked that they wait until after the St. Patrick’s Day parade and before the Apple Festival parade.


Barb Hughes - Safe Route to School Grant? It is in process. Design work is being done then it will go to the state.

Jance Curry-Witzman Hotel update? Mayor Stephens stated he has filed the plans at the courthouse. Mr. Koppeis has the IDOT permit, plans are complete, nothing left for the city or IDOT to do. Will be calling him tomorrow.

Russell Brown Nothing

William PiersonChairs on Walnut Street, are driving stakes and roping off to mark spots. Can they do that, on city property? Can’t get out of a car at those spots, safety issue. Mayor Stephens comments the chairs are part of the tradition.

Gary McCombReceived two calls about the cemetery, not weed eating or giving a complete mow. There are weeds around the tombstones. Want to put it out for bid next year. Not calling anymore. Mr. Heller stated we can reject any bidder. Alderman Erbes commented stop paying.

John Erbes Don’t pay him.

Dan Bratton Don’t pay him.

Mike Bastien Don’t pay him.

Gloria Campos Absent

W. J. PittmanApple Festival Golf Scramble is September 12.


Ed Heller Nothing

Sandra Ripley Nothing

Scott Evans Nothing

Harold Sheffer Absent

Steve McBride Nothing

Jamie Ellermeyer - Jeff Bock is retiring September 6, thankful for his service. Prayers for the family of Trooper Nick Hopkins.

Eric Kennedy Absent

Tim LeeHave three water towers, were inspected, leak on 17th Street;

Bootcamp tower leaking-cracked, weld a collar; approximate cost $8000-12,000.

Brian Manwaring Absent

Darrin Mills Nothing

Jim Stewart Nothing

Katharine Volle: Nothing

Leandra Bryant: Nothing

Mayor Stephens introduced Curtis Winston, reporter for the new Murphysboro Times

and thanked Ms. Logan from Channel 6 for coming.

Motion: To adjourn

Motion by Alderman Bratton

Second by Alderman McComb

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

Motion Carried

Meeting adjourned at 7:57 p.m.

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City of Murphysboro City Council