City of Kewanee City Council met June 24.
Here is the minutes provided by the council:
The City Council met in Council Chambers at 7:00 PM with the Mayor calling the meeting to order and the following answering to roll call:
Steve Faber Council Member
Chris Colomer Council Member
Michael Yaklich Council Member
Michael Komnick Council Member
Gary Moore Mayor
News media present was as follows:
Mike Helenthal Star Courier
Sean Kernan WKEI
The Pledge of Allegiance was said.
Mayor Moore asked for a moment of silence for our troops still fighting overseas.
Mayor Moore explained that the next items were placed on the consent agenda and were considered to be routine in nature to be passed as a whole with one vote of the Council. Mayor Moore requested that any member of the Council or the audience wishing to have an item removed from the consent agenda for individual consideration to make the request and the item would be removed and considered following the approval of the remaining consent items. The consent agenda included minutes from the June 10, 2019 Council Meeting, payroll for the pay period ending June 8, 2019 in the amount of $222,895.02, reports from Permits, and a request from the Hog Capital Barbeque Inc. to use certain streets, parking lots, and public areas for the 66th annual Hog Capital of the World Festival from Friday, August 30th through Monday, September 2nd , 2019. The consent agenda items were approved on a motion made by Council Member Colomer and seconded by Council Member Faber. Roll call showed 5 ayes, no nays. The motion passed.
Bills submitted for approval totaling $360,030.82 were approved on a motion made by Council Member Komnick and seconded by Council Member Faber. Bills from Auto Electric and Nationwide Retirement were questioned by Council Member Faber. It was explained by Grounds Maintenance Manager Newton that the bill from Auto Electric for $1262.75 was to repair the A/C system in an ambulance. Fleet Technician Vic Kluever was gone at the time and so the work was contracted out in order to keep a quick turnaround time for the ambulance. City Manager Bradley explained that the Nationwide bill was a payout for the unused sick hours of a fireman who had recently retired. Chief Shook reported that a side letter agreement to the Fire contract had been signed in April that allowed the buyout for firemen hired before 2010 but they go off the City insurance and cannot go back on. Council Member Yaklich asked what the Vision readers were. City Manager Bradley explained that it was the hardware and software that the new automated garbage trucks use to read the carts when they are dumped. Public Works Operations Manager Rod Johnson explained that the bill included a $2500 set-up and training fee for the software and $16,900 was for the hardware for 2 trucks used with the software to read the RFID tags when the carts are dumped. The readers also send information to City Hall identifying when a cart is not out, has overflow garbage, or is blocked and cannot be emptied. Council Member Colomer asked where the budget stood for the purchase of the automated trucks, carts, etc. Johnson stated we were still under budget. Council Member Colomer requested the amount of annual fees to be paid in the future for the Vision software. He also asked what the bill for internet training from Blue Line Learning Group was for. Chief Ainley explained that it was for annual Haz Mat training. Colomer also asked about the annual bill from K9 Training Institute. Chief Ainley stated that it was for certification of the K9 dog and the revenue brought in by the dog more than covers the $1000 annual fee. Council Member Yaklich stated that he saw we paid an internet bill for the Depot and asked if there were office hours for the Henry County Tourism Bureau. City Manager Bradley responded that there was an agreement with HCTB to lease the office space and they were to have office hours. He was not sure if the agreement listed a specific number of hours or times that they had to be there. Roll call showed 5 ayes, no nays. The motion passed.
Mayor Moore then asked if anyone wished to speak regarding a non-agenda item. Sammie Borst spoke about the need for speed bumps and a traffic sign on West Third Street behind the old Boiler Shop. She complained that people were riding ATVs in the area and vehicles were speeding. Council Member Faber asked if Chief Ainley could send extra patrol to the area.
A citizen came forward asking to have a business re-established as a bar and grill. Mayor Moore explained that by the time the request was received it was too late to include it on this agenda. It will be addressed at the next meeting.
A request from Shell for a proposal of a combination liquor license died due to a lack of a motion or second to approve it.
A request for a fireworks permit for the annual July 4th fireworks display was approved on a motion made by Council Member Colomer and seconded by Council Member Faber. Roll call showed 5 ayes, no nays. The motion passed.
Resolution #5172 authorizing the City Manager to execute an amendment to an agreement with Patriot Fuels, LLC was approved on a motion made by Council Member Komnick and seconded by Council Member Faber. Council Member Yaklich asked what Patriot Fuels owed us. City Manager Bradley explained that they had paid $80,000 last year and had agreed to pay another $80,000 due to a mistake in the original agreement with the end date. Roll call showed 5 ayes, no nays. The motion passed.
Resolution #5171 ratifying certain expenditures for emergency repairs to the surge tanks at the North and South Water Treatment Plants was approved on a motion made by Council Member Faber and seconded by Council Member Komnick. Roll call showed 5 ayes, no nays. The motion passed.
The minutes of the Zoning Board of Appeals was approved on a motion made by Council Member Komnick and seconded by Council Member Colomer. Roll call showed 5 ayes, no nays. The motion passed.
Ordinance #3969 granting a variance to Michael Nichols at 803 Page Street was approved on a motion made by Council Member Faber and seconded by Council Member Colomer. Council Member Faber reported that he had drove by the property and could see no problems. Mayor Moore agreed that he did not think it would cause an obstruction. Council Member Komnick asked why there was one vote against the variance. Community Development Director Edwards explained that one member voted no because the petitioner was not at the meeting and felt that he should have been there. Roll call showed 5 ayes, no nays. The motion passed.
Ordinance #3970 granting a variance to Jose Chavez for the front yard at 1200 W. Division Street failed on a motion made by Council Member Faber and seconded by Council Member Yaklich. Council Member Faber expressed his concern that there was no front yard for the variance. Mayor Moore asked for clarification that this was not for an addition on the front of the house. Community Development Director Edwards explained that no square footage was being added to the rooms of the house. The variance was to add a screened in porch to the front of the house. The variance is needed as the porch would no longer be considered an open terrace with the roof extended and could be considered an obstruction. The property is already out of compliance with the zoning and setbacks. The Zoning Board of Appeals voted against the variance as they felt it was going to be a vision obstruction. Edwards suggested that possibly a roof over the porch without being screened in could be considered. The Council and Mayor felt that the Zoning Board of Appeals had taken all of this into account when they voted. Roll call showed no ayes, 5 nays. The motion failed.
Ordinance #3971 granting a variance to Jose Chavez for the rear yard at 1200 W. Division Street was approved on a motion made by Council Member Colomer and seconded by Council Member Komnick. Council Member Faber felt there was no obstruction in the rear yard. Mayor Moore stated that there was a privacy fence in place now and he did not feel there were any issues. Roll call showed 5 ayes, no nays. The motion passed.
Resolution #5170 authorizing the City Manager to execute an agreement with Stewart Spreading for bio solids removal and associated services for the Waste Water Treatment Plant failed on a motion made by Council Member Faber and seconded by Council Member Komnick. Council Member Faber asked what the costs were. Mayor Moore explained that the initial costs would be higher up front and then less after the pond is completely drained. He stated that Bock Inc. had informed them at their meeting that the pond needed to be completely drained in order to make repairs to the pond wall. Council Member Yaklich felt that the Council had been kept in the dark and given limited options to solve the problem. He explained that the Council had just been through a very intense budget session and cut money from the employee Christmas party 2 months earlier and now we were surprised with this problem. Sludge removal is not a new process for the City of Kewanee. We have spread sludge from the WWTP for the past 5 years and he asked what happened this year. Mayor Moore reported that Bock Inc. was reluctant to throw anyone under the bus, but said the person they had been in contact with for the last year before this problem came about was no longer employed with the City of Kewanee. Mayor Moore stated that the City is in the same situation no matter whose fault it is. Council Member Faber stated that we need to make sure that a situation like this never happens again. Council Member Colomer agreed that someone dropped the ball and this is costing the taxpayers a lot of money this year that we do not have. City Manager Bradley reported that the total cost would be $83,500 to remove and apply 1.1 million gallons of sludge this year and approximately $60,000 per year on an ongoing basis with a CPI adjustment for each of those 3 years. Bradley reported that we had budgeted $42,000 this year and $32,000 last year for sludge hauling. Bradley also reported that there is projected to be a $117,796 surplus in the Sewer Fund at the end of this fiscal year and an ending balance well above the minimum fund balance. Council Member Colomer asked if water and sewer rates will go up. Discussion continued regarding the cost savings to Bock Inc. if Stewart Spreading is hired to remove the sludge. Council Member Colomer asked if Bock Inc. has offered to share any of the costs if they are the ones saving money. Council Member Yaklich expressed his concerns about having to make a decision based on the information currently available. Council Member Colomer stated that he hated to be painted into a corner and asked if anyone has approached Bock Inc. to see if they are willing to share the costs. The City Manager indicated that he had not. Council Member Komnick agreed that the costs should be shared. The council wanted additional information regarding costs if we are able to haul some of the sludge ourselves vs. Stewart Spreading hauling it all. City Manager Bradley forwarded an email to the Council that had pricing for hauling out 600,000 gallons. Roll call showed no ayes, 5 nays. The motion failed.
City Manager Bradley gave a presentation addressing a list of concerns distributed by Council Member Yaklich at the previous council meeting. He spoke on a variety of topics such as sales tax analysis, private streets, road repairs, late charges, incentive programs, audit reports, costs for the Animal Control Facility, Ambulance Billing, Health Insurance Fund balances, and Financial Reporting. City Manager Bradley quoted excerpts from past council meeting minutes and cited dates and documents provided in past council packets.
Council Member Colomer praised all involved in the Nolan Keane baseball tournament this past weekend.
Council Member Komnick reported on a city in California that had fallen prey to a $600,000 ransomware attack. He asked about the City’s training. City Manager Bradley reported that some departments have attended training, but the City had no formal training for cyber security. Council Member Komnick offered to come in and train staff if needed.
Council Member Yaklich reported that he stopped by City Hall last Friday and gave Community Development Director Edwards a packet of complaints that he had received in the last couple of weeks and asked him if he could give a short report touching base on those items. Edwards reported that he had sent out an email regarding the complaint about the fence that was installed with non-compliant materials. He did give the homeowner information about getting a variance for that material. His only concern was the wind load requirements for the solid material used. Edwards reminded the council that the material used was not in compliance before the current fence ordinance was changed. Not being able to prove when the fence was installed, Edwards felt the best option would be to have the homeowner apply for a variance rather than have to remove the materials and rebuild the fence. Discussion continued with the other complaints regarding the number of pets at a residence and the definition of a kennel operator, various weed notices, and the property on Sixth Street where dirt was removed for the Ameren site. Community Development Director Edwards explained that former City Engineer Dale Nobel had drafted all the documents and signed off on the Sixth Street project before he retired.
Council Member Faber brought forward a complaint that there were 3 gas stations in the City that did not have designated handicap parking spaces. He also asked the status of the Franklin School property. The City Attorney has been asked to expedite this case. Council Member Faber asked Chief Ainley if he had any information he could share regarding home repair scams and the elderly. Chief Ainley said that information had gone out to the newspaper and radio today regarding tips to keep from becoming a victim of fraud.
Mayor Moore stated that he has received a lot of positive communication regarding the progress with the East Street project.
City Hall and the Transfer Station will be closed on Thursday, July 4th. There will be no change in Tuesday or Wednesday’s garbage routes. Thursday’s route will be picked up on Friday.
There being no further business, Council Member Colomer moved to adjourn the meeting and Council Member Faber seconded the motion. Roll call showed 5 ayes, no nays. The meeting adjourned at 9:13 PM.