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March 17, 2003

City council signs mutual aid agreement for emergency services

Monday, March 17, 2003
The Minonk City Council signed two mutual-aid agreements that will allow the city to be included in a group of communities that will provide emergency services to each other. The first agreement is an mutual aid pact for police only and will be state-wide. Police Chief Bill Butler said that extra police can be drawn upon when needed in case of emergencies.

The second agreement would provide mutual aid assistance in case of emergencies due to natural disasters, terrorism, or other unusual situations. Bob Hix, Woodford County EMA Coordinator, told the council that most cities cannot handle such disasters by themselves and will need extra help if a disaster occurs. This mutual aid would involve not only police but also ambulance, EMA, public works and fire departments. Hix said that the state wants the communities to work together to develop a uniform plan throughout the state. This agreement would be with the Tri-County Mutual Aid group.

Woodford County Sheriff Jim Piersall supported the agreement saying that Minonk is fortunate to be located close to Peoria which has heavily equipped emergency services and the city should take advantage of this geographical advantage. He said that the mutual aid pact is in the planning stage and any community that joins in the agreement will have a better possibility of getting grant money for disaster relief. He said it is better to get in on the ground floor. Tri-County Mutual Aid represents the statistically the second largest area in the state behind Chicago and the collar counties. The group will have a big influence with the state legislator.

Hix said that there will be no cost to the city for belonging to the Tri-County Mutual Aid group and that each city has the option to call back any of its emergency personnel from other areas if they are needed back in their own community. The council approved the agreement with Aldermen Bill Koos and Matt Fink voting no.

Other news

The council tabled a motion to hire Midwest Collection Services to take deliquent accounts for ambulance services to court in order to collect. The company would keep 50% of the bill collected as their fee. The city would make the choice on who to enforce the collection. The council decided that it needed more legal advice on undertaking this step.

Alderman Matt Fink said that the city wide Spring Clean-up Date will be April 15 and 16 with pickup set for the West side of the city on April 15 and the east side on April 16.

City Administrator Trent Smith said that the pump for Well #4 was ordered on Friday and should be delivered within two weeks. Smith was told by engineers from the Farnsworth group that the new well has the capability to pump at 150 gallons per minute.

Alderman Sherry Stalter said that new lights will be put up on the basketball courts at the Westside Park by the end of the week.

In a response to a question from resident Jerry Welch, City Administrator Trent Smith said that it is legal to have political signs on city property. Welch said that signs for fire trustee were posted in Sutton's Park and also on city property along south Chestnut Street. Mayor Mark Spencer said that he thought it was inappropriate for political signs to be posted on city property and was going to look into the matter.

Alderman Cathy McKay said that there will be a city wide garage sale set for April 12.

Fieldcrest asks City to free up some TIF funds

Thursday, March 20, 2003 Posted 9:30 p.m.
Fieldcrest Board of Education President Joe Knapp appeared before the Minonk City Council Monday night asking the council to pass on to the school district additional tax revenues in the city's TIF district that would result from an increased tax rate. Voters will be deciding on a tax referendum that would increase the tax rate by .90 on April 1. If the referendum passes, the school wants the city to give the additional revenue from the TIF district to the school.

Currently, the city has an intergovernmental agreement with the school district on TIF No. 1 and II beginning January 18, 2001. For each TIF, a base increment has been set at $50,000 for the first year and adjusted for inflation in each year following to the conclusion of the TIF. The City, throughout the term of the TIF, will retain up to a $50,000 cap adjusted for inflation and then divide the remaining revenues with 75% going to the City and 25% declared as surplus to all taxing districts.

Knapp said that the City of Wenona has already signed this agreement for the additional levy. However, Wenona's entire city is included in the TIF district and has not signed a prior agreement with the school district. This meant that all of the money in the Wenona TIF district stayed with the city and none has gone to the school district. Alderman Ron Redenius asked Knapp if that meant that the rest of the school district communities have subsidized Wenona's tax support of the school district? Knapp replied that is basically true but added, that he is keeping a positive attitude toward the situation and will continue to work with Wenona in order to ensure that each community contributes its fair share. He said the school has continually made an effort to have Wenona contribute some of its TIF funds to the school district.

Alderman Bill Koos asked Knapp if it made any difference if the city signs the agreement before or after the election. Knapp replied that he preferred that the council would agree to sign the agreement before the election because it may convince voters to vote for the tax referendum since more of the tax increase will be going to the education fund rather than staying in the TIF district.

Alderman Bill Koos made a motion that the council wait until it gets a legal determination from the TIF district legal representative on what impact the signing of this agreement would have in the long-term. The council unaminously approved the motion to table the agreement until the next council meeting.