The Minonk City Council approved the expansion of the jurisdiction of the Minonk Police force to outside the city limits at their normal bi-monthly meeting Tuesday night. Minonk police officers will now be able to have jurisdiction in Clayton and Minonk townships which would include I-39.
Minonk Police Chief Marc Wright said this new jurisdiction allows a Minonk police officer to take control of a situation when called outside the city instead of waiting 45 minutes or more for a county or state trooper to show up to handle the situation.
Chief Wright said he was called to investigate a drunk driver on Route 51 last week. He said he had to restrain the driver from leaving the scene until a county officer showed up. He said if he had jurisdiction outside the city he could have arrested the driver immediately rather than waiting for a county officer to show up. Also, if there is an accident and someone is injured, the ambulance squad cannot leave until the county or state police show up which may be 30 minutes or more.
Mayor Koos asked why the city police have to respond to these outside calls. Chief Wright said there are a lot of reasons but he said legally he has to respond in order to keep the peace. He said there are not enough law enforcement officers available to cover the area.
The Mayor asked if the city police have to have the same skills as the state troopers. Chief Wright said local police can handle the type of calls they get outside the city. He did mention that state troopers have more experience in handling traffic situations with trucks while local police have more experience in handling domestic affairs.
Mayor Koos said he was concerned that calls may be made to the Minonk police department just because the trouble may occur in the northeast part of the county and the Minonk police is the nearest law enforcement. Chief Wright said that will not be happening. He said the police department only gets 2 or 3 outside calls a month.
Alderman John Marcoline made a motion to approve the expansion of the Minonk Police Department jurisdiction and seconded by Alderman Russell Ruestman. The motion passed unanimously.
In other business the council approved the renewal of a 3 year contract with LaRose Disposal Service for garbage pickup. The contract calls for a charge of 15 cents per pickup to increase to 20 cents per pickup by the 3rd year.
The council approved an ordinance adopting the International Property Maintenance Code. The code defines a variety of requirements for property exterior and interior elements that are intended to maintain a minimum level of safety and comfort for both the general public as well as the occupants of a dwelling. This included requirements involving light, ventilation and occupancy limitations, plumbing facilities, mechanical and electrical fixtures and fire safety.
Some structures in the city do not comply with the new code but any time residences change in occupancy or ownership, the structure could be subject to the new code depending on the severity of the deviation from the code.
Alderman John Marcoline and Adminstrative Manager Bill Moline both agreed that money will have to be set aside to fund the likelihood of law suits or legal expense that will occur when attempting to enforce the new code.
Alderman Russell Ruestman said the key is to enforce the code. Mr. Moline said he will be the one who will be in charge of enforcing the code.
The council discussed the proposal to increase the ambulance fee by 10% to bring the ambulance revenue more in line with other ambulance services in the area. Ambulance Mindy Goodrich said the fee would need to be increased by 25% in order to be in line with other ambulance services. Then Alderman Marc McNamara made a motion to increase the fee by 20%. However, Mayor Koos said the agenda was set for a 10% increase and cannot be changed. The motion was tabled until the next council meeting at which time a motion to increase the fee by 20% could be made.
Fieldcrest Superintendent Dr. Dan Oakley made a presentation to the council on the status of the building project for the Fieldcrest school district. He said the school will place a referendum on the November election ballot asking voters to approve a $29 million budget for the building project.
Dr. Oakley said the buildings will have metal frame construction which will save $30 to $40 a square foot in construction cost. He added that the increase in taxes on a $100,000 home would be about $390. He said they are working with a land owner for the potential site of the high school building in Minonk.
Dr. Oakley said if the referendum does not pass, the school will be limited to $19 million to make the required life/safety changed mandated by the state. If the referendum is approved the proposed time line for the project is:
- July 2019 - Begin bids
- September 2019 - Start construction
- August 2021 - Complete construction
In public comments, James Liner asked if the new property maintenance code requires dwelling structures to have electricity and water. Mr. Moline replied that he thought that it did include those requirements.