Carbondale Reporter

Carbondale Reporter

Saturday, February 22, 2020

City of Murphysboro City Council met January 28

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Feb 13, 2020

Meeting372

City of Murphysboro City Council met Jan. 28.

Here is the agenda provided by the council:

The Murphysboro, Illinois, City Council met in regular session, pursuant to its ordinances, on the 28th day of January, 2020.  Mayor Stephens called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. and 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, Russell Brown, William Pierson, Gary McComb, John Erbes, Dan Bratton, Mike Bastien, Gloria Campos, W.J. Pittman

Absent:          Jance Curry-Witzman

The council then reviewed the minutes from the previous meeting.

Motion:  To approve the minutes of the January 14, 2020, council meeting.  All aldermen received a copy of the minutes, for their review, prior to the meeting.

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Hughes

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

Alderman Bratton inquired as to:

            #849 page 1 Benefit Planning? HRA account for employee deductibles.

            #849 page 4 GE Money Bank? Repaired trash pump.

            #849 page 5 Malwarebytes? Anti-virus anti-malware subscription.

            #849 page 8 Bank of Carbondale? Charge to take Murphysboro water bill payments-for the whole year.

            #849 page 8 Home Depot? Sewer plant supplies

Motion:  To approve the accounts payable, register #849 through January 28, 2020. All aldermen received a copy of the accounts payable for their review, prior to the meeting.  

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Erbes

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

Motion Carried 

 

COMMITTEE/COMMISSION REPORTS

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: Sales Tax Report – best January in last seven years, this was for October sales. Income Tax Report – above average. General Fund Operating Expense v Budget – has a surplus, slightly under budget. Budget v Actual – Under budget in spending; January 2nd payroll was processed December 30, 2019, so are over by that amount. Loan Balances: For the backhoe, dump truck, waterline replacement and new WWTP.

Consideration of Waiving the Bid Requirements for new Extrication Equipment: Chief McBride stated they are the only company that does not have a proprietary battery, DeWalt is compatible and is cheaper. Alderman Erbes asked if he had a grant for some of this? Chief McBride stated no, this is budgeted. Is looking at a grant for other equipment. Alderman Hughes stated $48,000 budget.

Motion:  To approve Waiving the Bid Requirements for new Extrication Equipment.

Motion by Alderman Campos

Second by Alderman Bratton

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

Motion Carried 

No public comment.

Alderman McComb opened discussion for Building & Grounds related items.

Old Business:

Consideration of Replacement of the Front Doors at the MYRC: Alderman McComb asked that this be held over to the next meeting, waiting on bids.

New Business:  

Consideration of Replacement of the Fire Department HVAC system: Alderman McComb stated there is mold in the ductwork. Chief McBride stated he has received two bids, is waiting on two more. Requested this be held over to the next meeting.

Discussion regarding purchase of Mine Subsidence and Earthquake Insurance: Ms. Ripley stated our agent asked about this. The city has mine subsidence coverage already. Earthquake coverage is for two million but will not cover twenty-two million of city property. To add will cost $4000/year. Alderman Pierson asked what the deductible is? $25,000 per occurrence. Mr. Manwaring stated if we have an earthquake, would probably qualify for Federal assistance. Mayor Stephens asked if it would make sense to recalibrate how much we want to insure? Alderman McComb asked if the agent could get us the cost to insure different amounts? Alderman Bratton asked covers the sewer plant? Yes.

No public comment.

Alderman Erbes opened discussion for Community Relations Committee related items.

Old Business: Nothing at this time.

New Business: Nothing at this time.

No public comment.

Alderman Bastien opened discussion for Public Improvement related items.

Old business:

Discussion regarding the settlement of the Beckman property issue: Alderman Bastien stated Mayor Stephens and Alderman Pierson met with Mr. Beckman. Mayor Stephens stated Mr. Beckman had items of value to him that were removed. Alderman Pierson handed out a copy of Mr. Beckman’s list. Mayor Stephens stated his amount is $1942, the city paid $3582.84 to Mr. Rawson. Mayor Stephens apologized to him, he asked to not pay anything. Alderman Bratton asked can this be paid with city/taxpayer money? Attorney Blake stated it needed to be addressed as a safety issue, that was the distinction. Alderman McComb stated we should have pulled it in and let him clean it up, what amount did he ask for? Mayor Stephens stated he would not pursue the city for the $1942 if the city would waive the $3582.84. Alderman Campos stated there was a mistake made, let’s call it even. Alderman Erbes asked if there was any salvage value? Alderman Bratton stated it was given to Mr. Beckman. Chief McBride stated it was approximately $382.00. Alderman Pittman asked if this will be paid out of the demolition fund? Mayor Stephens stated that would make sense.

Motion:  The city will pay the whole Ryan Rawson bill if Mr. Beckman will sign a release to not sue the city.

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Pierson

Yeas:  Alderman Hughes, Alderman Brown, Alderman Pierson, Alderman McComb, Alderman Erbes, Alderman Bratton, Alderman Bastien, Alderman Campos, Alderman Pittman

Nays:  None

Absent: Alderman Curry-Witzman

Motion Carried 

Update on the code violations at 811 North 14th Street: Alderman Bastien stated the notification was sent, Mr. Reeves stopped in the office to get the paperwork, has thirty days. Will keep on the agenda.

New business: 

Consideration of Easement off of North 7th Street for Ameren Gas Pipeline: Mr. Sheffer stated two easements, has been talking to Ameren. Attorney Blake asked if we need a different description? Mr. Sheffer answered they have to go deeper than expected, water main is there.

Motion:  To approve the easement off of North 7th Street for Ameren for the installation of the gas pipeline.

Motion by Alderman Bratton

Second by Alderman Pierson

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

Motion Carried 

No public comment.

Alderman Bratton opened discussion for Public Works related items.

Old business:  Nothing at this time.

New business: 

Discussion regarding acquiring the property at 432 North 9th Street: Ms. Ripley stated Mr. Kennedy asked that this be placed on the agenda. Ms. Bryant stated the owners want to give the city this property, Eric will run a title search if the city wants it. Alderman Bratton asked if there were any other liens? Need to find out if there are any first. Requested this be held and placed on the next meeting’s agenda.

No public comment.

Alderman Brown opened discussion for Public Safety related items.

Old business: 

Discussion regarding the Gillenberg Property: Chief McBride stated Mr. Summers will be using Rawson as his demolition contractor. Talked to the EPA and given permission regarding the county building to check on it. Mr. Summers is having documents drawn up, should begin in the next two to four weeks. Mayor Stephens stated he received a text, will be putting up a fence similar to the one used during the Apple Festival.

New business:

Consideration of purchase of 2014 Chevy Caprice with Seized Asset Funds: Chief Ellermeyer stated he has spoken to all the council members concerning this. It has approximately 38,000 miles and he had it checked out. Will sell it to us for $8000.Can outfit it with older equipment for a total approximate cost of $12,000.

Motion:  To approve the purchase of a 2014 Chevrolet Caprice with Seized Asset Funds.

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Bastien

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

Motion Carried 

Consideration of adding a School Resource Officer to the Police Department: Chief Ellermeyer stated the school would pick up approximately 75% of the cost. Next step is to come up with a contract to give to the School Board and Mr. Grode. They appear to be on board with it. Feels it is a good idea/liaison. Alderman McComb asked if the city will use the officer when school is out? Yes. Alderman McComb stated it has worked well for Trico and Officer Marks. Alderman Pierson asked if it will be a new officer hired? Yes. Will we pay the training fee? Feels we should.

Motion:  To pursue adding a School Resource Officer to the Police Department.

Motion by Alderman Bratton

Second by Alderman McComb

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

Motion Carried 

Discussion regarding people living in uninhabitable residences or residences without utility services: Alderman Pierson stated someone came to him regarding a vacant house a squatter is living in, was told by the code office cannot get them out. Attorney Blake asked if they have an agreement with the owner? If they are trespassing, should not be a problem. Chief Ellermeyer stated would have to know from the owner, could knock on the door. Alderman Pierson stated he will get the owner information to Chief Ellermeyer. Chief Ellermeyer stated he will talk to Mr. Kennedy regarding this. Alderman McComb stated people are arrested by the police department but the States

Attorney refuses to prosecute. Mayor Stephens stated City Ordinance 18-6-9 addresses dwellings unfit for human habitation/occupation. The Municipality can place a placard on the dwelling, have to be out in a reasonable amount of time. Attorney Blake stated he has spoken to Mr. Kennedy regarding clarifying the city code, living without water, utilities. What we have is vague, need to shore that up. Mayor Stephens stated use it as a tool to improve quality of life. Chief McBride stated if they are living without utilities it increases the fire risk.

No public comment.

Alderman Hughes opened discussion for Personnel related items.

Old business:

Update on Fire Department Contract – close but not done yet.

New business:

Discussion regarding Full-Time Mayor: Alderman Hughes asked about going into Executive Session. Attorney Blake asked if that violates the Open Meeting Act? The Mayor is an elected official not an employee. Alderman Hughes stated there is a committee, they met yesterday to explore the possibility of a full-time Mayor. Mayor Stephens sent everyone a letter concerning this. Reported on area cities with City Managers and/or Mayors. Scott did a feasibility report. We want Murphysboro to continue to grow – will a full-time Mayor help with that? How does the council want the town to grow? Asked the council to read the information, ask questions, provide feedback to the committee. Can we afford it and will it make our city grow? Mayor Stephens stated the narrative he sent out is his perspective. Alderman McComb stated he does not think the city needs a full-time Mayor. Increased the Mayor’s salary and provide health insurance. Feels this is more about Will Stephens than the city. Stated Mayor Stephens has done a lot of good work. Mayor Stephens stated it has been talked about for a while and has to look towards his future, so he can make the best decisions. Stated he earned that raise, wanted to explore full-time, was brought up by others – council members and citizens. Alderman Bratton stated Will has done a good job, we all make mistakes. To be fair to Will need to be prepared to vote at the next meeting, so he can make further decisions. What if you move on and the next person that comes in is not good? Alderman Pierson stated this is a vote for a full-time Mayor for the whole city, biggest decision in a long time, not about Will. Need to think seriously about it. A City Manager will be out of our range. Maybe Public Works/Code Officer/etc. into one position. Alderman Campos stated she likes the options. We can stay as we are or move forward. We get what we pay for. It is up to us as a council. Alderman Pittman stated we all believe you go above and beyond what is expected of you. If you have to scale back due to a different job, we still think you would do a good job. Alderman Erbes stated this is a Murphysboro issue not a Will Stephens issue. Take effect at the next election. Alderman McComb stated would have to set what a full-time salary would be. Alderman Campos stated last time we discussed this, we talked about a part-time City Manager and a part-time Mayor but cannot be both. Alderman Hughes stated you have the information, let the committee know if there is anything you want to discuss. Mayor Stephens stated whatever you decide, you will not be treated any differently. This is total teamwork. Will continue to work together no matter what the outcome.

No public comment.

MAYOR’S REPORT

Consideration of Annexation of Property: Still in a holding pattern.

Update on the Ruble Flooding Issue: Mr. Sheffer provided everyone with a map of the area, stated acquire the parcels shown: 1- Ruble, 3-Anthony Neighbors, 2-Carol Lee Trust. Recommended setting up a meeting with Mr. Ruble to get started. Landlocked with these properties. There is a platted street/right of way/easements to get access. Mayor Stephens asked what the last communication was with Mr. Ruble? Attorney Blake stated nothing since the last meeting. Mr. Sheffer stated he told him will set up a meeting. Mayer Stephens asked Mr. Sheffer to get with Attorney Heller and schedule a meeting.

Consideration of Bid for Awnings Downtown: Not ready for this yet, hold to next meeting.

Consideration of Request from Main Street to purchase planters: Mayor Stephens asked Mr. Evans to help us understand this request. Mr. Evans stated he is on the board, they have re-applied to the Illinois Department of Revenue to get tax exempt status. They are 501(c)(3) with Federal. Would like to purchase these through the city and then reimburse the city. Mayor Stephens stated he has called and spoken to the local State Representative regarding their tax exemption. Mr. Evans stated they are waiting to hear from the state. Alderman Bratton asked where are the planters going to go? Alderman Hughes stated on Walnut Street.

Motion:  To approve the purchase of the Long Shadow planters for the Main Street Group who will reimbursement the city for the cost.

Motion by Alderman Pittman

Second by Alderman Campos

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

Motion Carried 

Alderman Erbes asked what all are we purchasing? Alderman Bratton asked if they checked with the Street department to see if they are compatible? Mr. Mills stated they have not but assuming they are the same as what they already have.

Motion:  To approve the purchase of a receptacle and picnic table for the Main Street group who will reimburse the city fort he cost.

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Bastien

Mayor Stephens stated just for the planters, will get more information concerning the receptacle and picnic table. Motion was withdrawn.

Consideration of Appointment of Don Siefert to the Kincaid Reed’s Creek Conservatory district:

Motion:  To approve the Appointment of Don Siefert to the Kincaid Reed’s Creek Conservatory district.

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Bratton

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

Motion Carried 

Consideration of Appointment of Vicki Ardrey to the Fire & Police Commission:

Motion:  To approve the Appointment of Vickie Ardrey to the Fire and Police Commission.

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Bratton

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

Motion Carried 

ALDERMEN ANNOUNCEMENTS/REQUESTS

Barb Hughes                Nothing

Jance Curry-Witzman Absent

Russell Brown              Nothing

William Pierson            Thanked Darrin and crew for a job taken care of.

Gary McComb             Thanked all the staff for working together.

John Erbes                   Nothing

Dan Bratton                 Nothing

Mike Bastien                Nothing

Gloria Campos            Has a letter about selling gas to municipalities, asked the Mayor to look at it.

W. J. Pittman               Had a call from a resident, Mr. Lee took care of it quickly.

DEPARTMENT HEAD ANNOUNCEMENTS/REQUESTS

Richard Blake            Nothing

Sandra Ripley            Nothing

Scott Evans               Nothing

Harold Sheffer          Working on pricing for the water tanks. EPA grant forgiveness. Mr. Lee stated the two towers are approximately $200,000 each.

Steve McBride          Is writing a vehicle grant for a ladder truck. Will write one to replace SCBA. Is working on a small equipment grant.

Jamie Ellermeyer      Nothing

Eric Kennedy            Absent

Tim Lee                     Nothing

Brian Manwaring       Nothing

Darrin Mills                Nothing

Pat Gladson              Nothing

Katharine Volle:         Nothing

Leandra Bryant         Nothing

Motion:  To adjourn

Motion by Alderman McComb

Second by Alderman Pittman

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

Motion Carried

Meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

http://www.murphysboro.com/government/administration/council_meetings/meeting_agendas_and_minutes.php

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City of Murphysboro City Council