The Gillespie City Council on Monday night authorized upward of $58,000 in contracts to replace the roof on the Police Department building and make long-awaited repairs to the roof of the city hall/civic center complex. In other action, the council discussed possible problems with building inspections and building permits, approved trick-or-treating dates and times, and considered the purchase of a $28,000 rolling machine.
Ald. Dona Rauzi, appointed to the position of Mayor Pro Tem last month, helmed her first meeting in the absence of Mayor John Hicks. Ald. Landon Pettit and Ald. Bill Hayes also were absent.
Council members voted unanimously to “tentatively” enter into a contract with Bolash Roofing and Construction, Divernon, to repair and recoat the city hall/civic center roof, contingent upon confirmation that Bolash’s bid includes the Fire Department roof, which is part of the same building complex. Ald. Bob Fritz assured the council that the contractor’s bid was for “the whole enchilada,” including the Fire Department but a previous bid offered by the company reportedly excluded that portion of the building.
Bolash was the only contractor to submit a bid in 2019. Ald. Rauzi said an updated bid from the company came in at $45,008—just $1,844 more than its 2019 bid. Rauzi further indicated the new bid specifically calls for resurfacing the Fire Department in addition to the Civic Center and City Hall and confirms the company will comply with the state’s prevailing wage mandate.
Under terms of the contract, Bolash will tighten seams and repair failing sections of the existing metal roof. The seams will then be treated with a waterproof coating before the entire roof is sprayed with a waterproof coating up to an inch thick. In recent years, the roof has leaked in various spots and the council has authorized stopgap repairs. Council members also had discussed more sweeping measures, including removing and reconfiguring the rooflines to improve drainage. Ultimately, action on approving a major project was delayed by the COVID pandemic and other factors. Monday’s actions tentatively conclude years of debate about how to best deal with the roof issue.
Bolash presumably will move forward with the project, provided the company’s bid includes the Fire Department roof.
On a motion by Fritz, the council also approved a $13,700 contract with Young’s Roofing, Litchfield, to replace the Police Department’s shingled roof with a metal one. Young’s bid for a metal roof was the lowest of three bids submitted for that type of roof, though the company’s bid for a shingled roof exceeded the low bid submitted by J.S. Chiatello Roofing, Dwyer, Ind., by less than $1,000.
Rauzi opened the bids and read them to the council Monday night. Young offered a bid of $10,180 for a shingled roof and $13,700 for a metal one. Henson-Robinson Co., Springfield, submitted a bid of $14,462 for shingles and $44,017 for metal; and Chiatello offers a bid of $9,500 for shingles and $40,000.
Ald. Wendy Roiando pointed out that Young’s bid for a metal roof was only slightly more than Chiatello’s low bid for shingles, and that a metal roof could be expected to last much longer than traditional shingles. There was no explanation for Young’s bid for metal roofing coming in $30,000 below Henson-Robinson and Chiatello’s bids for metal roofs.
Ultimately, on a motion by Fritz, seconded by Ald. Frank Barrett, to accept Young’s bid was unanimously approved.
In a related matter, following a 20-minute executive session to discuss real estate issues, the council authorized City Attorney Dan O’Brien to go to Adam Tallman with a proposal to lease a parking lot behind Tallman’s place of business for two years at a cost of $500 per month with an option to buy the property for $13,500. The lot is being used by the city to provide additional parking for the Police Department.
BUILDING INSPECTIONS/BUILDING PERMITS
On Ald. Fritz’s recommendation, the council authorized filing property liens against five parcels where the city has been mowing grass and weeds. Fritz said he recently facilitated the collection of $430 in mowing liens on the sale of a property on which he had filed a lien. The filing fee for each lien, he said, is $57 but the liens will generate revenue for the city as parcels are sold.
O’Brien said there is no budget line in the city’s budget for filing liens, but City Treasurer Dan Fisher said the fees could be paid from General Administrative Expenses. Fritz said that when he previously served on the council, the city maintained a separate fund from which to pay filing fees and to deposit revenue collected from liens.
Though taking no action, the council briefly discussed issues with building inspections and building permits. Ald. Fritz led the discussion, saying he had noticed several rental properties where new tenants had moved in prior to the premises being inspected and approved for residency.
“Have you talked to the building inspector?” Rauzi asked Fritz.
“You can’t get ahold of him,” Ald. Barrett complained. “It may be that we need a new building inspector.”
“I think we need to talk to him before we start talking about getting a new building inspector,” Rauzi concluded.
Fritz also complained about building permits being issued for projects that later turn out to be problematic when constructed. A Dollar General Store on the city’s south side, he noted, included the construction of an entryway without a culvert. That omission, he said, causes water to back up into the street during rainfalls.
“Are you suggesting we get a building inspector who’s an engineer?” Ald. Rolando asked. “I can look at blueprints and I can understand them, but I’m not an engineer.” She suggested that aldermen go to the building sites in their wards and review the building plans before signing off on the permit. “If there are any questions, you can call the Street Department to have a look,” she said.
On Rauzi’s recommendation, the council set Halloween trick-or-treating hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 31.
The council deferred action on the purchase of a used self-contained roller currently being used by the Street Department to make repairs in the wake of the city’s recently completed water infrastructure project. Ald. Rick Fulton said the city has an opportunity to buy the machine for $28,000 but City Attorney O’Brien advised against approving the purchase without a formal contract.
“You don’t have a contract to vote on,” O’Brien said.
Fisher suggested that Fulton ask the vendor to provide a contract that can be presented to the council next month. In the meantime, he suggested reaching an agreement to rent the equipment for another month with the rental payment to be applied to the purchase price.
“It’s really been working out good for them,” Fulton said, advocating for the purchase. “They used to have to just drive a truck over it a few times instead of rolling it.”
The council voted unanimously to give the Mayor authority to sign a revised contract with the police union which facilitates changes in scheduling for police dispatchers. Police Chief Jared DePoppe said a tentative agreement with the union has been reached and is awaiting ratification by the membership, after which the Mayor will be asked to sign off.
“Are you satisfied with the contract?” Ald. Barrett asked.
“Yes, I am,” DePoppe responded.
The Mayor also was given the power to act on accepting a new mailing machine contract. Rauzi noted that all bids for the office machine had not yet come in. Mayor Hicks will review the bids and accept the lowest bid.
Council members unanimously approved a facade improvement grant to be paid from Tax Increment Financing funds to Dee Dee’s Floral Designs on Macoupin Street. Peace Corps Fellow Ethan Fogg said the business plans to redo its signage, replace doors and windows and rehabilitate a rock garden at the side of the building. Under terms of the grant program, the recipient must complete the work, then submit invoices to be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of the project’s total eligible costs.
The business is eligible for up to $6,370 in TIF funds and is planning a project costing about $12,000.
OPEN MEETINGS ACT
O’Brien offered a short review of provisions of the Open Meetings Act, advising aldermen to be cautious about discussing city business in settings other than a formal council or committee meeting. O’Brien said the act defines a meeting as any gathering, whether in person or electronic means, of a “majority of the quorum” during which city business is discussed. He said that could include a discussion on Facebook in which four or more alderman participate.
A key component is whether or not the city officials engage in discussions of city business.
“There can be four of you at a wedding reception and it’s not a problem,” O’Brien said. “It’s just something you may not have thought about that you need to be aware of.”
In other action, the council:
- Gave permission for the Downtown Beautification group to close about one-half of the block at Chestnut Street from 10 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, to sell food and beverages in conjunction with the Gillespie High School Homecoming parade.
- Accepted the resignations of Jeff Steward from the Water Department and Nathan Thornhill from the Lake Department.
- Approved a resolution authorizing payment of $12,713.97 to Curry & Associates Engineers.
- Approved an ordinance to enter into an agreement with the Rural Development arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that essentially authorizes the city to receive a $14,700 Rural Development grant for the purchase of a police squad car.