The Benld City Council on Monday night saw the swearing-in of recently re-elected aldermen and officers but otherwise dealt with routine business during a relatively brief monthly meeting.
City Attorney Rick Verticchio, asking officeholders to place their right hands on his mother’s Bible, administered oaths of office to newly re-elected Mayor Jim Kelly, City Clerk Terri Koyne, along with Ald. John Balzraine, Lance Cooper and Mickey Robinson.
Council members ratified the Mayor’s reappointment of Verticchio to continue serving as City Attorney and Ald. Balzraine as Mayor Pro Tem to act in his absence or incapacitation.
Kelly announced his appointment of members on a Police Liaison Committee which includes, Ald. Robinson, Ald. Dustin Fletcher and citizen representative Jack Burns.
The Mayor’s committee appointments for the current term are largely consistent with the past year with the exception of his decision to revive the Police Committee which had been dismantled after the city contracted with Gillespie to provide police protection. Kelly said he decided to resurrect the committee in part because of the council’s decision last year to employ an ordinance enforcement officer. The new Police Committee is chaired by Ald. Robinson, with Ald. Fletcher and Ald. Brian Frensko serving as members.
Other committee assignments are as follows:
- CITY PROPERTY: Ald. Blazraine, chair; Ald. Fletcher: and Ald. Jim Tilashalski.
- HOUSING: Ald. Frensko, chair; Ald. Cooper: and Ald. Robinson.
- ORDINANCE/JUDICIAL: Ald. Tilashalski, chair; Ald. Coope:r and Ald. Frensko.
- FINANCE: Ald. Cooper, chair; Ald. Tilashalski; and Ald. Balzraine. City Clerk Koyne serves as co-chair in an advisory-only capacity.
- PROPRIETARY: Ald. Fletcher, chair; Ald. Balzraine; and Ald. Robinson.
EXECUTIVE SESSION/LEGAL ACTION
The council met for a half-hour in executive session with City Attorney Verticchio to discuss litigation but took little direct action upon returning to open session. Mayor Kelly apologized to spectators for the length of the closed-door session. “Sorry it took longer than we thought,” he said. “We had a lot to talk about but it was all things that will be good for the city.”
On Verticchio’s recommendation, the council voted unanimously to approve a resolution declaring a property at 615 S. Eighth Street a public nuisance. The declaration paves the way for Verticchio to seek a court order requiring the nuisance to be abated.
Though not discussed in open session, Verticchio apparently reported to the council that Macoupin County Circuit Court has entered a court order allowing the city to demolish a nuisance structure at 301 Central Avenue.
The Council heard briefly from a resident who complained about nearby neighbors on South Sixth Street operating four-wheel all-terrain vehicles recklessly on city streets. “One of them about hit my wife the other day,” he said. The resident said he and other neighbors had contacted the police and he confirmed police officers had contacted the alleged offenders but the behavior was continuing.
“It doesn’t seem much is getting to them,” he said. “This has been going on for a long time.”
Mayor Kelly said he would contact the Gillespie Police Department and ask for extra patrol in the area with an eye toward catching them in the act. “Riding four-wheelers on city streets is a violation of city ordinance,” he said.
The council unanimously approved the purchase of two new computers to replace two aging units in the City Clerk’s Office. Carpani Technical Solutions, Gillespie, will provide the new computers, install them and transfer data from the older machines at a cost of $1,778.
City Clerk Terri Koyne reminded aldermen that they’ve been supplied with copies of a proposed appropriation ordinance to be formally approved next month. She urged any alderman with questions or suggestions to contact her or the Finance Committee as soon as possible. The appropriation ordinance, which sets spending limits for specific line items, must be passed before the end of June.
Council members voted unanimously to give the Mayor authority to hire temporary summer help to assist with mowing and other maintenance duties. Temporary employees will work approximately 32 hours per week at $11 per hour.
Mayor Kelly reported that former Police Chief Jim Zirkelbach, who transferred to the Maintenance Department when the city Police Department was disbanded, has been sidelined by health issues and will be unable to return to work for at least the foreseeable future.
Ald. Balzraine reported he attended a recent meeting of the Library Board of Trustees after being appointed to replace Ald. Tilashalski as the council’s representative. He said board members had a number of questions for him and that he scheduled a July 14 meeting with the trustees, the Mayor and himself to answer concerns.
Mayor Kelly reported he had started getting prices for a new truck to replace the deteriorating 2002 Dodge currently used by the Maintenance Department. The issue is likely to be brought to a vote after additional information is collected.
Council members voted unanimously to declare as surplus property a backhoe bucket and agreed to sell it to the Village of Sawyerville via intergovernmental agreement for a price of $300.