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April 7, 2003

City to cover insurance for proposed sports park

Monday, April 7, 2003
The city council approved a motion by Alderman Sherry Stalter to have the city include the proposed sports park to be developed by the New Millenium Group at the north edge of the city in its liability insurance. City Admimistrator Trent Smith said that there will be no extra a charge to include the park on the city's policy. The insurance would cost the New Millenium Committee a minimum of $10,000 a year if they were to buy liability insurance because of the inclusion of a skate board park at the facility.

Smith added that the agreement with the New Millenium Group specifies that any increase premium costs due to claims at the park will be paid by the group.

Alderman Dean Barth, who voted no on the motion, objected to the council's actions. He said that the city was not supposed to get involved in the development of the proposed sports park, but now the city is getting involved even before the first shovel of dirt has been dug. Barth said he asked former Alderman Sean Cunningham last year about the finances that were available to the New Millenium Group for developing the proposed Community Center. Barth said that Cunningham told him that it was none of his business on how much money the group had. Barth said that if community money is going to be used for development of the park, that the people of Minonk should have a chance to be involved in the process.

Council hires collection agency

The Minonk City Council approved a motion to turn over hard-to-collect bills to Midwest Collection Service of Peoria. The agreement stipulates that the collection agency will retain 50% of the collection as their fee. Alderman Bill Koos questioned if 50% wasn't too high of a figure. Mayor Mark Spencer replied that it was an industry standard and that it is better to get 50% of something than all of nothing.

The mayor said that City Administrator Trent Smith will determine which bills should be turned over to the collection agency. Alderman Dean Barth said that he didn't feel that the City Administrator should be responsible for determining which debts should be turned over but rather it should be done by a committee. Mayor Spencer replied that the City Administrator is a professional and that he would do the job without getting involved in politics.

Alderman Koos was concerned about the fact that the collection agency could still charge for expenses if the city decides to withdraw a collection. City Treasurer Steve O'Riely said that the city would have no reason to withdraw a collection once it is submitted. O'Riely said that it is important to attempt to collect bad debts if for no other reason than to put the debtors on a credit watch so that other companies may check their credit before doing business with them.

The council voted to accept a motion by Alderman Sherry Stalter to accept the agreement with aldermen Barth and Koos voting no.

Council agrees to secure picnic tables in park

The council agreed to pour a concrete pad underneath the picnic tables at the downtown city park and secure them to the pad so that they can't be moved. The action is in response to a request by the Minonk Garden Club.

Club members complained that kids were moving the tables close to the flower beds and then trampling over the flowers. Alderman Bill Koos felt that the picnic tables were not the problem but the congregation of the kids was the problem. He suggested that city police pay closer attention to activity in the park to prevent the tables from being moved. Alderman Sherry Stalter countered that she doesn't want a Gestapo presence at the park. She said you can't prevent kids from being kids.

Alderman Dean Barth suggested that the council give the garden club $1000 in addition to the $150 needed to construct the concrete platforms. Barth said the club could then plant more flowers all around the city. No action was taken on his suggestion.

Council rejects second round of bids on Park Pavilion

The council approved a motion to reject the two bids for building the proposed Westside Park Pavilion. The two bids were $215,000 by Fox River Lumber of Ottawa and $169,780 by Kudela Builders of Peru. The bids were opened at 2:00 p.m. Monday afternoon. When questioned why the bids were so high, the contractors replied that the materials specified in the blueprints were of top quality and did not feel that the structure could be built for the $80,000 alloted by the committee for its construction unless changes are made to its design.

Westside Park Pavilion Adhoc Committee chairman Dean Barth said that the committee will meet at 7:00 p.m. at St. Paul's United Church of Christ. Barth said that the committee will discuss alternative plans to getting the pavilion built.

Other news

The council rejected a motion by Dean Barth to give a peddlers license to a local man who wants to sell balloons in the city parking lot.

Alderman Ron Redenius thanked those who voted him to a two year term in Ward 2. Alderman Dean Barth thanked those who voted for him as a write-in candidate. Barth said that he thoroughly enjoyed most of the last four years as councilman.