Mayor Bill Koos announced that Bill Moline of Minonk has been hired as the city's new Administrative Manager. Mr. Moline will start work on Tuesday, April 17, at a salary of $64,500. He fills the vacancy left by former City Administrator Austin Edmondson who resigned from that position last year.
In other business, the council denied a request for a Special Use Residency Variance at 251 East 10th Street. The motion to deny the request was made by Alderman Russell Ruestman based on the fact that the permit was not requested by the owner of the property but by the person who wishes to reside there. In addition, Alderman Nick Caverra said granting a variance to a building without water or sewer would allow anyone in the city with a shed in their backyard to rent it out to someone. He said the city should get legal advise on the legality of such a variance.
Alderman Jack Marcoline voted against the denial saying that the person who wants to live in the structure is not being treated fairly as that person was given a verbal approval by the previous City Administrator to live in the structure last year even though the structure was a portable shed moved onto the property without any water or sewer hookup. Mr. Marcoline said there are many structures in the city in worse shape than the one at issue and said there are different standards for different people. He asked why the city has a zoning board if the council keeps rejecting their recommendations.
Alderman Ruestman repeated that the motion was denied because the owner needs to submit the request, not because of who owns the property.
Alderman Mark McNamara said residents in his ward want to have a stop sign at the corner of 9th and Johnson streets to replace the existing yield signs. Mr. McNamara said there are safety concerns because Johnson street has many children walking or riding to school on that street as it leads south to the grade school.
Mr. McNamara also said there is a need for a street light at the end of Johnson street and wanted to know if that is the city's responsibility or the developer's responsibility. Alderman Ruestman suggested the residents in that area contact ComEd to see if they will put in the street light before the city takes any action.
The council discussed the no parking zone on West Fourth Street. The zoning restriction was changed to have the no parking zone on the north side of the street between 636 and 806 West Fourth Street. The council will vote on the zoning at the next council meeting.
Alderman Caverra said the ESDA building needs repairs to the roof for around $4000 and and to a truck for $1500. Mayor Koos said bids should be let for the repairs to the ESDA building before taking any further action.
The council approved the purchase of a new ambulance for $176,000 plus the cost to install a new radio.