The Minonk City Council approved a motion to refinance a $200,000 bond for infrastructure improvements. The city will save about $10,000 over 5 years in interest payments by refinancing the bond with the current lower interest rate which is 3 and 1/4 percent lower than that being paid on the bond. The refinancing will take place at the earliest in August if interest rates continue to remain relatively low.
In another cost saving measure, City Administrator Austin Edmondson said he received confirmation from the State of Illinois that property owned by the city is not subject to property taxes. This will save the city around $9000 a year in property taxes.
City Administrator Edmondson said there will be a public hearing on the city budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 on April 17th at 6:45 pm. Alderman Nick Caverra questioned the $800 expense for police car cleaning. Alderman Russell Ruestman then asked if anyone on the council can approve $800 for car cleaning in the Police Department. Upon hearing no objections, Alderman Ruestman made a motion to strike that expense from the budget and was unanimously approved by the council.
Alderman Ruestman also objected to the $435,000 budget deficit. He said the city has no long term plan to reduce the budget and is relying too much on TIF money to pay the bills.
City Administrator Edmondson disagreed saying much of the deficit is for spending on capital improvements and replacement which are one time expenses, not normal everyday expenses. He said the city should have a depreciation schedule for its capital assets so when they need to be replaced there is money available. Mr. Edmonson said a deficit budget is not a good thing but maybe this is a wake up call for the city to start depreciating its capital investments.
Leaks at the Library
Alderman John Marcoline said there has been water leaking into the Filger Library at an alarming rate during the past rain storms. He said at first it was thought the roof was leaking but after an inspection by Contractor Dick Meierhofer and city employees it was determined that the water was coming through some of the limestone blocks underneath the roof. Alderman Marcoline said the situation is serious and needs to be remedied quickly.
Police Department Calls
Alderman Ruestman questioned how the Police Department calls between 2 and 6 am for the past 6 months went from 81 to 11. Police Chief John Wherry said the 11 calls where considered emergency calls. The other calls were routine.
In other news, City Administrator Edmondson said the city will soon be switching to a new emergency warning system called Switch Reach. He said there will be a link to the system on the city's web page in the near future.
Mayor Bill Koos said Eric Aeschliman and Tom Palmore have resigned from the Zoning Board and is looking for their replacement.