The Minonk City Council unanimously approved the reinstatement of Police Officer J. T. Gentes who was fired two weeks ago. A large crowd was at City Hall to see whether or not JT would be reinstated as public opinion of his firing has been very unfavorable. The council immediately went into closed session at the start of the council meeting to discuss the matter. 30 minutes later the council delivered its decision in open session to reinstate Mr. Gentes. No stipulations or conditions were given for his reinstatement.
The council approved a motion to accept the resignation of former council member Ronald "Corky" Marshall who served Ward 2. Mayor Koos asked that anyone who wishes to replace Mr. Marshall as alderman should send him their request in writing to the Mayor's office. The Mayor said he will make a decision on a replacement by August 30 and submit a request to the council for approval at the next council meeting on September 5.
The city's engineering representative from the Farnsworth Group said the contract has been signed for updates to the city's sewer treatment plant and everything is full steam ahead. There will be a long lead time for getting the equipment needed for the update which means construction may not be started until late fall or early winter. The engineer also reported that almost 500 feet of 18 inch tile has been cleaned between Mary Street and Elm Court but a small portion is still plugged and needs to be cleaned out before a full assessment can be made on how to proceed with repairing the tile in that area.
The council approved an ordinance that enables the city to refinance its outstanding bonds that can be refinanced at a 1.5% rate reduction which will save the city over $8000 in interest charges.
The council approved a motion by Alderman Russell Ruestman to forego the purchase of a warning siren system for $20,000 and have the purchase be sent out for bids. Alderman Ruestman said he was not comfortable in spending $20,000 without the bid process.
City Administrative Austin Edmondson gave a budget review report to the council. On the revenue side, the city received its first installment of property taxes. Overall, the General Fund is only 26% obligated. One item that is high is legal service being 63% obligated in that line. The Water Fund continues to be in the black with a $1,322 profit and sewer has rebounded to show a $11,463 margin. The Garbage Fund is at $2,601 which has dropped a bit. This should go up a bit with the new rate going into effect this month. The Ambulance Fund is up $56,906. This is because tax revenue from the Fire District was received and improves the ambulance fund situation.
The sidewalk program list of improvements was submitted to the council. The total amount budgeted for sidewalk maintenance was $20,000. Below is a list of sidewalks to be improved.
West Side Park- 265'
100 & 200 Block East 8th Street - 200'
Southeast Corner of 5th & Johnson Street
Northwest Corner of 4th & Walnut Street- 10'
Comers of 2nd and 3rd on Walnut Street
200 Block Southside of West 4th Street
508 West 5th Street
309 - 301 West 5th Street
Northwest Comer of 5th & Locust Street to the North
200 Block of East 5th Street
200 Block of West 6th Street
531 West 6th Street North Side Trees
618 Washington Street
724 Locust Street
616 Maple Street
Corner of Maple & 2nd to the South
Comer of 8th & Locust to the North
Minonk resident Harold Tjaden asked when the sidewalk on his property will be worked on. Mayor Koos said the sidewalk list was prepared during the budget process in the spring and added that this is the first year the city will do the work inhouse instead of having it contracted out. The Mayor added that it is a function of time and availability of manpower to determine when sidewalks will be worked on. Public Works Director James Brown said sidewalk work will start after Labor Day.
Alderman Ruestman asked what the City can do to prevent future dog attacks. Mayor Koos said the County was supposed to take care of loose dogs in the past but their program was temporarily dropped. The Mayor said the City has no place to put stray or dangerous dogs. Mr. Ruestman asked if the City had a dog pen and City Administrator Austin Edmondson said the City does have a dog pen. Mr. Ruestman said the City needs to rewrite its code to handle loose or dangerous dogs in order to prevent future attacks.
Robert Hochecker: It is awesome to have him back and to be perfectly honest I really haven't seen a consistent patrol since this whole issue has been going on. JT it's great to have you back.
JT Ashley: Thank you it's good to be back.
Kathy Seanard: Congratulations
Stillwell Richard: Just found out that JT was reinstated. CONGRATULATIONS. HUGE win for Minonk.
Bobbie Evans Stewart: Good news!!
Byron Good: Well good deal. Great officer and model citizen.
Elaine Stephen: Very good to hear.
Nick Jordan: Good to have him back
Jan Beschorner: Great to have JT back to protect and serve our community. Thank you JT for all you doðŸ‘ðŸ‘ðŸ‘ðŸ‘
Brad Kearfott It should've never had to come down to this! Nice having you back JT.
Jesi Becker Milton Awesome. Jt for Chief!