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Benld Council makes final payment on water tower project, approves $78,000 motor fuel tax resolution for 2024

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Members of the Benld City Council on Monday night approved a final payment of about $19,000 to the company that repainted the city’s water tower earlier this spring, even though a telemetry sensor continues to malfunction. Mayor Jim Kelly said the city’s engineers, HMG Engineers, recommended making the final payment after determining it could not be proven the painting company was responsible for the sensor failure.

City aldermen voted unanimously to approve the final payment of $19,200, less $80 the city spent for electronic testing done on the sensor, to Neuman Company Contractors. The council had previously paid $72,018 to the contractor but withheld the retainer on the advice of the engineers.

The telemetry sensor monitors the water level in the water tower, which impacts water pressure throughout the city. Because of the sensor failure, city employees are monitoring the level manually, resulting in fluctuating water pressure for Water Department customers.

“We can’t leave the sensor on because it could cause the tower to overflow,” Kelly said. As a temporary measure, the city may bypass the tower and run the system off the Gillespie water system. That move would stabilize the water pressure, though the pressure would be lower than normal.

Vandeventer Engineering, Inc., St. Louis, Mo., who provided the sensor, has been on site but failed to resolve the issue. Vandeventer reportedly plans to bring in yet another consultant to inspect the sensor and offer a solution to repair the malfunctioning equipment.

MFT RESOLUTION

Also on the recommendation of the city engineers, the council approved a Motor Fuel Tax resolution in the amount of $90,000. The resolution, essentially an appropriation for the city’s annual street maintenance program, projects the amount of materials that will be needed and their approximate cost. Mayor Kelly pointed out the resolution could be amended next year, if necessary, to reflect material quantities and price fluctuations.

The resolution projects an expenditure of $37,308.50 for 12,035 gallons of road oil, $12,640.50 for 477 tons of rock chips, $9,329 to spread and roll the chips, $1,825 for 100 tons of bituminous patching material, $12,000 for 100 tons of CA-6 rock (also for patching), and $5,170.66 for engineering costs.

The resolution will be submitted to the Illinois Department of Transportation for final approval. Bids for materials will be secured next year, prior to the maintenance program. Streets to be resurfaced will be determined at a later date.

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FOOD TRUCK AMENDMENT

Council members voted unanimously to amend the city’s food truck ordinance to make property owners responsible for food trucks on private property for one-day events. Under terms of the amendment, property owners who have a food truck on site for an auction or social event will be required to pay a $25 permit fee, and will be held responsible for fines assessed if the food truck does not have a permit.

PAID TIME OFF ORDINANCE

The council directed City Attorney Rick Verticchio to prepare an ordinance governing requests for paid time off from city employees that will bring the city into compliance with a new state law set to take effect on Jan. 1. The new ordinance will require employees requesting paid time off to submit the request a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the leave. Additionally, the employee must request a minimum of two hours per request.

City Clerk Terri Koyne said the ordinance will affect only one city employee.

ORDINANCE VIOLATION FINES

Council members voted unanimously to formally adopt an ordinance increasing fines for ordinance violation citations. The council had voted to increase fines earlier but had not yet adopted the ordinance.

Under the ordinance, the fine assessed for a first offense is no less than $200, nor more than $500. A second violation of the same ordinance within a three-year period will result in a minimum fine of $750 up to $1,000. The minimum fine for a third violation of the same ordinance within three years is $1,250 and can go as high as $1,500.

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Court News

Macoupin County Courthouse News

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Cases filed during July 7 through July 13. Visit the “Court News” category under the “Community News” tab for other editions.

FELONIES

Timothy D. Conlee, 29 of Gillespie, is charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving in connection with a July 6 incident.

Dylan J. Arview, 25 of Benld, is charged with driving under the influence while license revoked or suspending, DUI, driving on a suspended license and driving 15-20 mph above the limit in connection with a July 5 incident.

Bobby L. Walker, 35 of Sorento, is charged with driving revoked/suspended with a DUI, driving on revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, displayed registration plate, and expired registration in connection with a June 27 incident.

Dustin W. Gooch, 34 of Beecher City, is charged with aggravated fleeing/bodily injury, unlawful display of a title, improper use of registration/title, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and registration light in connection with a June 17 incident.

MISDEMEANORS

Jordan A. Black, 24 of Gillespie, is charged with battery/causing bodily harm in connection with a July 8 incident.

Dustin R. Stieglitz, 37 of Shipman, is charged with aggravated assault/use of a deadly weapon in connection to a June 29 incident.

Steven A. Kroll, 33 of Eagarville, is charged with resisting a peace officer, fire fighter, or corrections employee in connection with a June 26 incident.

TRAFFIC

David B. Brown, 58 of Virden, is charged with cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a July 3 incident.

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Jennifer L. Roberts, 47 of Worden, is charged with driving on a suspended license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with July 5 incident.

Andrew L. Connoyer, 31 of Bethalto, is charged with improper use of registration, driving 15-20 mph above the limit, and no valid registration in connection with July 7 incident.

Megan E. Bertoldi, 37 of Gillespie, is charged with leaving the scene in connection with July 11 incident.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE FILED

  • Tasha McQuay versus David McQuay

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Community News

School board disciplines staff member; hires AD and Student Services Coordinator

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In a relatively brief meeting Monday night, the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education approved a “resolution of remedial warning” against an unidentified district teacher, and hired a new Student Services Coordinator and Athletic Director.

The actions followed an 80-minute executive session during which board members presumably primarily discussed personnel issues. The regular monthly meeting of the board was moved up by one week to fill key positions, such as the Athletic Director and Student Services Coordinator, prior to the start of the school year next month. The district was taken by surprise when former Student Services Coordinator Stephanie Bray and Athletic Director Mike Bertagnolli both announced their retirements within days of each other.

Supt. Shane Owsley said the resolution of remedial warning is a disciplinary action representing “a second strike, so to speak.” Neither the teacher or the nature of the infraction was disclosed in open session.

In other action, the board, voted unanimously to hire Shelsie Timmermeier as the district’s Student Services Coordinator for the 2024-25 school year, stepping into the vacancy created by Bray’s retirement, pending confirmation of certification and a background check. In a separate action, the board also appointed Timmermeier as an assistant high school women’s volleyball coach.

Jeremy Smith was hired, also by a unanimous vote, as the district’s Athletic Director for the 2024-25 school year. In a related matter, Smith’s resignation as middle school head baseball coach was accepted. Additionally, the board posted the coaching position as vacant for the coming school year.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Dennis Tiburzi, the board hired Alex Jasper as a high school social science teacher for the coming school year. The board also voted unanimously to hire Tate Wargo as a first-year, non-tenured physical education instructor, pending confirmation of certification. Both positions were vacated as a result of the sudden resignation of Dalton Barnes in April as head football coach, physical education teacher and social science teacher. 

In related matters, the board also hired Wargo Monday night as an eighth grade boy’s basketball coach, and accepted Jasper’s resignation as a district paraprofessional and posted the position as vacant.

In other personnel action, the board:

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  • Hired Amanda Ewin as a one-on-one aide.
  • Hired Anthony Kravanya as a freshman men’s basketball coach.
  • Appointed Melissa Heigert as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach.

In other action, the board gave routine approval to a list of policies provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Supt. Owsley also provided a brief update on the progress being made on safety projects expected to be completed before the start of the school year, including installation of a new intercom system, a card-reader entry system and shatter-proof protective film on exterior windows.

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Community News

Gillespie Library, United Community Bank to host Fraud and Scam Prevention seminar on July 22

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Gillespie Public Library (Photo by Gillespie Public Library)

Friends of the Gillespie Public Library and United Community Bank are hosting a joint “Fraud and Scam Prevention” seminar at on Monday, July 22 starting at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Public Library.

The seminar will focus on today’s common scams and frauds, which includes imposter and check scams, money mule fraud and those that target seniors. Presenters will be Jenni Alepra of Gillespie UCB and Kennen Bertolis of Carlinville UCB.

The seminar is open to the public and is free of charge. For additional questions, call the Gillespie Public Library at 217-839-3614.

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