With Ald. Dave Tucker filling in as Mayor Pro-Tem in the absence of Mayor John Hicks, members of the Gillespie City Council on Monday nigh approved on a proposed payment schedule for the Village of East Gillespie to pay its share of a water infrastructure project currently underway, and directed City Attorney Kevin Polo to prepare a draft ordinance to impose a water rate increase to take effect within the next few months.
Following a fairly extensive discussion the council voted to ask the Village of East Gillespie to pay $85,000 of its $115,000 obligation to the City of Gillespie, with the remaining $35,000 due at a later date, presumably upon completion of the water infrastructure project. The agreement is subject to approval by the East Gillespie Board of Trustees which also met on Monday night.
Earlier, East Gillespie Village President Larry Norville appeared before the council and expressed reservations about paying the entire $115,000 in one transaction. The Gillespie Council voted the previous month to send a $115,000 bill to the Village of East Gillespie in view of substantial completion of the water project within the village. An agreement between the two municipalities obligates East Gillespie for $115,000 as its total share of the project.
“I’m a little reluctant to pay the whole thing when we have tap-ons to be done and clean up,” Norville told the council. He also noted that an agreement between the city and village fails to address when and how the bill must be paid.
City Treasurer Dan Fisher agreed that the contract between Gillespie and East Gillespie fails to specify a payment schedule, but noted the council voted to bill the entire amount because of the city’s obligation to finish the project. “We’ve got large amounts of money going out,” he said, noting the city billed the entire $115,000 to “recoup some of that money that has been paid out.”
Norville, however, said the agreed-upon $115,000 covers installation of water mains as well as tap-ons that have not yet been completed. Fisher said the nearly installed mains probably won’t be pressurized until sometime next year. Final clean-up of damage created by the project may be two years away, Fisher said.
Norville then asked for a breakdown on the cost of water mains which have been completed vs. tap-ons which have not. Without providing exact figures, Fisher said water main installation represents about 65 percent of the project cost. The cost estimates the city has been paying to the contractor, he said, has been for work done to date which basically means the city has been paying for water main installation only. Fisher said the mains have been virtually finished in East Gillespie while the installation is just getting underway in Gillespie.
Fisher said its customary for customers for major construction projects to withhold five percent of the contract total pending completion and final acceptance of the project. He suggested that the village pay 95 percent of the bill.
“There’s a portion that is not finished,” Norville said when asked what he would like to recommend to his Village Board. “What I would probably recommend to them would be 65 or 70 percent.”
“I think we’re being wishy-washy,” said Ald. Wendy Rolando. “I think we need to give him a figure for him to take back to his committee.”
“Okay,” said Ald. Tucker, “let’s have you guys pay 65 percent, the same as us.”
Fisher calculated that 65 percent would factor out to about $85,000, leaving $30,000 to be paid at a later date. Ald. Rolando formalized that proposal in a motion, seconded by Ald. Rick Fulton, which was unanimously approved.
Also related to the water project, the council voted to direct City Attorney Polo to prepare a draft ordinance to increase the minimum consumer bill for water by $1.50 per month. Essentially a surcharge on monthly water bills, the additional $1.50 per month per customer is expected to raise enough additional revenue service $6 million in bond debt associated with the water infrastructure project. The Waterworks System Revenue Bonds were issued through the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program.
“We already have an estimate on how much we need to raise water rates by for the project,” Fisher said. “I think it would behoove us to have Kevin go ahead and draw up an ordinance to do that.” The interest rate for the bonds cannot be raised and is unlikely to go down before the city has to start repaying the debt. Fisher said the city will have spent the $6 million in bond revenue within the next few months, after which it will start spending down about $4 million in Rural Development grant funds.
“We should be finished with the Rural Development financing soon, and that’s the time we would need to raise rates,” Fisher said.
The council approved the recommendation on a motion by Ald. Dona Rauzi. The rate increase will not become effective until after the ordinance is presented to the council and approved.
Before adjourning, the council unanimously approved three resolutions authorizing payment of pay estimates submitted for work completed so far. Those payments included $406,812.07 to Haier Plumbing and Heating, the project’s general contractor; $12,611.22 to Curry and Associates for engineering work; and $764 to Kevin Polo for legal work done in conjunction with the project.
MEDICAL SERVICES AGREEMENT
The council referred to City Attorney Polo a proposal presented by Police Jared DePoppe to utilize the Macoupin County Public Health Department’s Maple Street Clinic to provide immunizations and other medical services for city employees and officials at a “greatly reduced cost.” DePoppe said it is especially important for police officers to be immunized against communicable diseases such as hepatitis because they sometimes are required to be in situations or in contact with people that could put them at risk of infection. DePoppe said he spoke with an MCPHD representative specifically about medical services for police personnel, but the services also would be available to Street and Water Department employees, as well as elected officials.
According to DePoppe, the clinic also could perform physicals and drug screenings. “I’m a big proponent of drug screenings,” he said. He said MCPHD already has agreements with other municipalities in the county to provide vaccinations, physicals and other services.
For emergency services after the clinic’s regular hours, police could still obtain testing and other services at area hospitals, DePoppe said. He provided a copy of a proposed contract to Polo for review.
In lieu of the contract, Polo said “I think we really should write this as an intergovernmental agreement.” He said some areas covered in the contract deal with issues the city recently renegotiated with the Fraternal Order of Police. He said he would contact FOP representatives to make sure the union has not objections.
Polo is expected to write an intergovernmental agreement to be presented to the council for action at a later date.
MINI-EXCAVATOR COMMENT SPARKS DISCUSSION
An off-the-cuff comment by Ald. Fulton about the possibility of purchasing a mini-excavator sparked a lengthy discussion by City Treasurer Fisher about the need to identify the means to pay for such purchases before proposing them. Fulton said he had watched city workers using a mini-excavator in conjunction with the water infrastructure project and indicated it would be a wise purchase for he city in the future.
“We don’t have a way to pay for that,” Fisher declared, adding that aldermen should discuss ways to finance a proposed purchase in committee before proposing the purchase during a regular meeting of the council. “You have to come up with A, B and C before you propose D.”
Fulton defended himself, saying he was not making a formal proposal but simply a casual observation.
PROPOSED RULE FOR OLD LAKE
The council referred to committee a proposal to set a 25 mile per hour speed limit on Old Gillespie Lake. Currently, the lake is a “no wake” lake which effectively bans the use of outboard motors.
Lake Manager Gary Thornhill said he and other workers recently undertook cleaning up the swimming area and found portions of the lake moss covered and choked with duckweed.
“We need to start stirring up the Old Lake,” he said, adding that allowing outboard motors would facilitate water movement and impeded weed growth.
He said he did some research and found that the No Wake rule was never approved by the council, nor was it imposed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
“The rule was created by some individuals who worked out there who no longer work for the city,” he said.
CIVIC CENTER ROOF
No action followed an extensive discussion led by Ald. Rauzi regarding the condition of the Civic Center roof. She said the city recently paid $200 to patch a leak but during recent rainfalls the roof continued to leak in other areas. She said she went up on the roof with the contractor and saw that the roof has multiple holes and is likely to continue leaking until it is replaced.
“We’ve got to do something,” she said. “We can’t keep putting it off. We charge people the same rate (to rent the hall). What are we going to do? Hand them an umbrella?”
Both Rauzi and Rolando noted that the city is likely to get complaints if a wedding party or other renter decorates the hall prior to an event only to have the decorations ruined by leaks. They also said the city could face serious liability claims if someone falls and is injured because of water on the floor.
“I would say the same thing I said before,” Fisher commented. “Come up with a way to pay for it first.”
In other action, the council:
- Voted unanimously to hire Jared Link for a utility position at the Water Treatment Plant for a 40-hour work week at a base rate of pay. Link will fill a vacancy created several years ago.
- Approved an ordinance to commence work on updating the City Code Book.
- Set the date for the annual city-sponsored Senior Christmas Dinner for Sunday, Dec. 8.
- Agreed to co-sponsor a Grow Gillespie 5K Walk/Race set for Saturday, Aug. 31, at a cost of $100. The race will follow the same route as the Black Diamond Days 5K. United Community Bank and Ageless Fitness and Apparel are major sponsors for the event.
- Agreed to permit the M & M Shrine Club to conduct its annual paper drive on either the third or fourth weekend of October and to tentatively make the date a permanent date in coming years.
- Voted to transfer lake lot leases for 372C to Bill and Jolene Mermis, Alton, and for 368 to Diane Martinez and George Letford, Collinsville.
- Approved purchase of chlorine scales for the Water Treatment Plant at a cost of $5,082 and a Ph meter at a cost of $834.