WITT (Heartland Newsfeed) — A Witt-based organization presents a community spirit award and more business was tabled despite barely making quorum with the absence of aldermen Donna Yeske and Brandon White and aldermanic vacancy in Witt City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
Representatives from Envision Witt presented before the council the Speedboy Hometown Spirit Award to Hillsboro High School student David Anderson, who received the Topper Pride Award for December 2017, which was met with applause from the council as well as those in attendance.
Council member Jay Martin inquired as to whether the water surcharge was going to be set up as a line item in the treasurer’s report and that funds needed to be deposited in a savings account. City clerk Angel Lynch noted that they had to deposit $2,500 to open up the account but fortunately, they haven’t pushed the balance to zero, but surcharge fees will be deposited to the account beginning Jan. 31.
Fire chief Tom Rogers noted there were 16 calls received since the December meeting, 14 of which were EMS calls – 6 calls in Witt and 8 calls in Irving. The two fire calls were a New Year’s Day call at 9:02 a.m. for a natural gas leak at 15021 Illinois Route 16 in Irving and on Jan. 11 at 2:20 a.m. involving a single-vehicle accident along Illinois Route 16 near the FS plant in Irving. Rogers also presented the 2017 fire report, in which there were 230 calls sent out. Specific breakdowns by fire and EMT calls, locations of calls, mutual aid calls, days and times of calls and monthly figures were presented.
The fire department is holding a rib dinner on February 17 and dine-in and carry-out tickets will be available for $15. A silent auction will be held at the event. It was noted that this is their biggest fundraiser of the year, as proceeds from the event help make their payment for their fire truck, which is due every February. With a little extra money in the bank, the fire department expects to pay a little more than normal to pay off the balance quicker. Interested individuals can contact Rogers or any member of the Witt Fire Department, as tickets are expected to sell out quickly.
The department participated in a hot dog eating contest at Wright Automotive in Hillsboro last month, where they made it to the championship round and won, earning a total of $550.
Some members of the department are currently taking their EMT-B courses at Nokomis-Witt Ambulance Service, with others recently completing their CPR course.
The department submitted for an AFG grant in the amount of $60,599 for newer radio equipment with a 5 percent match from the city in the amount of $2,947. It will likely be several months before anything is done, as grant applications are still being accepted. A $26,000 small equipment grant was also submitted for firefighter gear, as some of their firefighters have gear that’s older than 15 years old.
In old business:
- Mayor Greta Akers said she was going to speak to Chris Sherer, who is looking through the proposed fire department ordinance so further action was tabled until the next meeting.
- There was no action regarding the employee handbook and further action was tabled until the next meeting.
- A revisited discussion on outside contract labor was brought up. There was much discussion and at the same time confusion as to what would qualify as “outside contract labor.” The issue has been referred to the Finance Committee and has been tabled until clearer language regarding what qualifies as such has been determined by the committee.
- The private line along Oak Street will be capped off in two weeks as the customers along that line are switching over to Montgomery County Rural Water.
- Akers spoke to water superintendent Stephen Bowers regarding issues at the water department, as well as the Monroe Street lift station. Parts have been ordered to make the repairs, but repairs have been delayed due to cold weather.
In new business:
- Akers appointed White to be mayor pro-tem and was approved by the council.
- Kenny Vallelonga was appointed and sworn in to fill the aldermanic vacancy in Ward 2 created by Tim Taylor, who resigned from his post last month.
- Akers presented CERTOP’s water loss report, in which she noted that it isn’t extreme. The report is showing a gain, but that is likely due to attempted repairs at the water plant which didn’t quite fix the ongoing problem. Corrective action is still being taken.
- The council voted to pay $3,000 toward their DRAW loan and voted for monthly inclusion to bills in the amount of $500 per month in separate motions. Pending extra funds, the city can always submit a higher payment.
In additional business during the meeting:
- The municipal utility tax was received in the amount of $4,262.05 for the month of December.
- The council voted to approve the December meeting minutes, treasurer’s report and January bills.
- A motion was made to approve repairs not to exceed $750, if city employees can make the repairs themselves, to replace two cylinders on a backhoe. If employees can’t make the repairs, a cost estimate will need to be submitted for the applicable repairs.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.