Benld City aldermen voted unanimously Monday night to approve a $172,000 contract with HMG Engineering for professional services associated with the design and bidding processes for a proposed water transmission line to bring water from the Litchfield Water Department to Benld.
Justin Vander Haar, an engineer with HMG, said he presented details of the contract to the city two weeks ago during a committee meeting. Accepting the contract, he said, would not preclude the city from continuing to negotiate with the City of Gillespie on a proposal under which Gillespie would buy water from Litchfield for distribution through existing infrastructure to its satellite customers, including Benld, Mt. Clare, Sawyerville, Wilsonville and Eagarville. After a recent meeting with representatives of its satellite customers, Gillespie city officials drafted the proposal as a means of supplying water to area communities for less than those communities would be able to buy water directly from Litchfield.
If Benld chooses to run its own water line from Litchfield, Vander Haar said, a 12-inch transmission line would be laid parallel to Illinois Route 16 from Litchfield to the railroad tracks. The line would then run along the railroad right-of-way south to Benld where it would connect to the city’s existing water storage tower. The contract approved Monday night covers only the design of the project and assistance to the city in making an application to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for a loan to subsidize the estimated $1.7 million cost of construction.
The measure was unanimously approved on a motion by Ald. Teresa Tucker, seconded by Ald. Peyton Bernot.
If Benld chooses to run its own water line from Litchfield, Vander Haar said, a 12-inch transmission line would be laid parallel to Illinois Route 16 from Litchfield to the railroad tracks.
Voting on the contract was Bernot’s last official action as a city alderman. After the council dispensed with committee reports and other pending issues, City Attorney Rick Verticchio administered oaths of office to Dustin Fletcher, who defeated Bernot in April’s Consolidated Election, and Brian Frensko and Jim Tilashalski, both of whom were re-elected to serve new terms on the council.
With the new council seated, council members approved Mayor Jim Kelly’s reappointment of Rick Verticchio as City Attorney, James Zirkelbach as Chief of Police and Ald. Tucker as Mayor Pro Tem to act in the capacity of mayor when Kelly is unavailable.
In a matter related to the city’s water supply, Mayor Jim Kelly reported that the city is seeking price quotes for radio telemetry equipment on the water storage tower. The equipment, which remotely communicates the water level and other factors, is in need of replacing.
MOTOR FUEL TAX PRICE QUOTES
On the recommendation of Jacob Kampwerth, also of HMG Engineering, the council voted unanimously to accept price quotes from Mike A. Maedge Trucking, Highland, and Polo Trucking, Bunker Hill, for material to be used during the city’s annual motor fuel tax street maintenance program. Maedge will supply road oil at a cost of $1.7129 per gallon and seal coat aggregate at a cost of $12.50 per ton. Polo Trucking will provide rock for chipping fresh road oil at a cost of $13.40 per ton.
“It’s totally up to you guys, but we would recommend Maedge for oil and Polo for rock,” Kampwerth said.
In January, acting on HMG’s advice, the council amended its ordinance on motor fuel tax purchases to permit the council to purchase materials without seeking formal bids when the cost of the materials does not exceed $25,000. The amendment takes advantage of a new Illinois Department of Transportation rule that increases the expenditure ceiling for mandatory bidding from $10,000 to $25,000.
Although formal bidding was not required, Kampwerth said he sought quotes from all vendors who had submitted bids for the city’s motor fuel tax project in the past. Macoupin County Asphalt, Carlinville, came within three cents of Maedge’s low bid for road oil. Beelman Logistics, East St. Louis, was within 19 cents of Polo’s low bid for rock.
No specific action followed a 30-minute executive session at the beginning of the meeting with City Attorney Verticchio to discuss pending litigation issues.
In open session, acting on Verticchio’s advice, the council voted to approve an emergency resolution declaring a tavern recently damaged by fire in the 300 block of Central Avenue as a public nuisance. Verticchio said the tavern was so severely damaged that “it could fall,” posing a danger to residents. The emergency status will enable the city to secure a court order more quickly to raze the remaining structure and abate the nuisance.
In other action, the council agreed to hire Tom Turiglitto as a part-time seasonal employee for mowing, and approved a business license application from James Dean, a Benld resident doing business as Off The Wall Catering. The business license will permit Dean to operate a mobile “taco truck” within the city limits. Dean is prohibited from parking the unit on public streets and must operate from private property only.
The council also agreed to enter into negotiations with Pam Allen, Shipman, to sell to her a 50-by-50-foot parcel adjacent to Allen’s existing burger stand. Mayor Kelly said Allen has plans to locate an ice cream stand on the property. Verticchio said the city could legally negotiate to sell the parcel to Allen without putting the property up for bids.
Ald. Tucker pointed out that the parcel was part of the original city-owned property the city sold to Allen last year. At that time, Allen said she did not need the parcel at the time. “She’s willing to buy it now,” Tucker said. “She’s done good. I think it’s good for Benld.”