Chief of Police John Wherry announced that a policeman has been assigned a collateral duty as Code Enforcement Supervisor, a procedure he says will help with the accountability of violations. The prevalence of junk cars in the city has been a hot topic at past city council meetings and this action will address the junk car issue. City Administrator Austin Edmondson said action has already been taken on removing junk cars but more remain to be addressed.
Alderman John Marcoline said the junk car issue was here before Police Chief Wherry joined the force and does not think he should be blamed for the current situation. Mr Marcoline said he feels this new approach will work out. He said junk cars have been identified and removed in his ward this past week. He added that people must report junk cars to the police in order to get rid of all of them.
A new squad car has been ordered through Morrow Brothers Ford as budgeted. Payment is not due until delivery, which is expected to be 12-14 weeks. Chief Wherry said they currently have three juveniles and two adults serving a combined total of 550 community service hours, managed by the Police Department.
The Minonk PD Is still actively investigating the most recent residential burglaries, and a report of a tri-county task force. They now have a positive identification on a suspect and suspect vehicle, which has been tied to multiple burglaries in LaSalle and Marshall Counties. He urges the public to report any suspicious activity or vehicles in their neighborhood.
For a report on last month's police activity, click here.
Sewer Treatment Plant Upgrade Bid
Shawn Mauer of the Farnsworth Group told the council of plans for upgrading the sewer treatment plant. The plant will be upgraded to have a lagoon irrigation system with a new pump station. He estimates the upgrade cost
will be around $2 million. He said now is a good time to release a bid on the upgrade as contractors are bidding extremely low right no. The council approved releasing the blueprints for bids.
Golf carts on Chestnut Street
The council did not approve a motion to remove the restriction that kept golf carts from traveling on Chestnut Street between 4th and 6th streets in a motion made by Alderman Russell Ruestman. Alderman Marcoline said it is very dangerous to back out from parking on Chestnut Street because it is so hard to see golf carts. Alderman Mark McNamara said people in his ward think they should be able to handle the risk of driving golf carts on Chestnut Street. Aldermen Nick Caverra, Ronald Marshall and John Marcoline voted no on the motion with Mayor Bill Koos breaking the tie by voting no.
City Administrator Austin Edmondson said there is an overage in the budget due to a payment of property taxes in the amount of $9,281.92. That expense has caused the administrative portion of the budget to be ahead of where it should be, but overall the General Fund is only 51% obligated. He added that the city won't be paying that property tax in the future.
The Water Fund has slipped deeper into negative territory with a cumulative loss of $11,671.98 on a cash basis, due to slightly lower seasonal water consumption. The Sewer Fund continues to hold a good positive margin of $58,960. The balance in the Garbage pick-up fund has grown a bit to $3,333.73. The Ambulance Fund deficient has increased to $29,136.24. The good news within the ambulance budget is that the rate of expenditures is right where it should be, it's just that revenues are lagging. The MFT Fund is over its budget because of increased cost in the annual repair program. Also, the Library expenditure rate is running at slightly higher than projected pace.
Mr. Edmondson added that the Elm Court Sewer Project is proceeding at a slow pace. He said 27 feet has been surveyed by the camera crew last week. He said getting the camera through the sewer lines will be a long and expensive process.
In other news the council approved a payment of $11,750 ofr the Audit Engagement Letter.
Alderman Caverra said he has received complaints of trash being discarded in the parking lot near The Minonk Chocolate Company and said the situation should be looked into. He said cars are parked every night in that area.
Alderman McNamara said the wooden playground equipment at Veterans Park needs to be repaired. Alderman Larry Fortner said he has received complaints on wooden playground equipment in other parks as well.