No action on FOIA ordinance amendmentAmong the business items were that of the revision and amendment of the city’s current Freedom of Information Act ordinance. The amendment proposal from alderman Joe Cochran made some clarifications on several items essentially unclear in the current ordinance. It would specify that the first 50 pages of records should be available free of charge. Additionally, further pages exceeding that amount is not to exceed 15 cents per page. It also specifies that there should be no charge for requests for electronic delivery. The exception will be for the cost of the media storage method, e.g. a CD or USB flash drive. There did appear to be some confusion and concerns about the line that stated that “every effort should be made to accommodate the request in electronic format.” However, it does not seem apparent the reasoning for said confusion or concern. There was no action on the ordinance until there is a closer evaluation, as the city prepares to fulfill a FOIA request with a large document quota from a local resident.
Amendment to public comments policy tabledAn amendment was brought forth by Cochran regarding the public comment policy, Resolution 2018-6. The amendment would extend individual public comments to five minutes from its current three-minute period. It also extends overall public comments to an hour from 30 minutes. However, the City of Assumption did adopt Robert’s Rules of Order as its guidelines for parliamentary procedure. any member of the council can ask to extend public comment time beyond the hour limit. The council will revisit the amendment at a later meeting.
Other items with no actionAlso tabled was an ordinance to increase sewer rates in the city, action of sidewalk replacement, and a decision on the tornado siren.
Items forwarded to committeesThere was no action taken in relation to parking at the Locust Street apartment complex. After some discussion, further action will be under consideration as necessary by the streets committee. There is some uncertainty regarding the mayor’s spending limit, which is not specified in any city ordinance. However, over the past two decades, there has been an arbitrary limit of $1,000 per day, or $365,000 a year. The issue will move back to the finance committee. Likely to be a business item before the finance committee is a failed motion to approve payment of bills as they appear on warrant sheets. There were some questions and concerns regarding some of the bills. Some of those questions and concerns did receive answers, but it was not satisfactory enough as the motion failed 2-3.
Historical insight into Illinois Street ParkA business item involving a liquor license for Joyce Throneburg was pushed up. It would then receive unanimous approval. While still on the agenda, Mayor Roger Cox would yield the floor to Throneburg. Throneburg was among two individuals making presentations relating to Illinois Street Park. Throneburg would hand out documents of a historical timeline of Assumption. It was originally Tacusah when the Illinois Central railroad system founded it in 1853. Three years later, Elisee Malhiot would start purchasing land around Tacusah, calling his “town” Assumption after his home parish in Louisiana. In the following 12 years, Malhiot would encourage other people of French-Canadian descent to settle in Assumption, with 50 families making the move along with other French-speaking people. What is currently Illinois Street Park was originally the public square of Malhiot’s settlement of Assumption. Other notable information would include that the naming of Louisiana and Samuel streets were of significant relevance. Louisiana was Malhiot’s home state, and Samuel was his son. The two entities would merge into one town in 1868.
Park renovation project receives early estimatesThere was a presentation relating to Phase 1 of the park renovation project, which did include a rough estimate of the project’s potential costs. The large ticket item on the project is very likely the entrance pad to the park, as the option of a poured concrete pad would cost at least $7,300.
Council approves remote meeting policyThe council approved Ordinance #767, which establishes a remote meeting policy in the event that a member is not able to attend in person. However, it is a permissive policy, which means in-person council members will have to vote as to whether that member can attend, even after they give notice prior to the meeting to the city clerk. The other option for the ordinance would have ensured the policy as a matter of the right of the member to attend remotely.
Other business before Assumption councilOther items of business occurring in the September 1 meeting include:
- A motion to approve payment of the TIF agreement to 1905 Brewing Company would pass. The agreement involves an annual payment over a 15-year period of time.
- Other approved payments include: well pump parts for repairs $3,000, sewer disbursement $215,558.39 (Petersburg Plumbing $190,557.81, engineering costs $25,000.58), water disbursement $116,550 for the nitrate project, a disbursement to Burdick & Burdick, Inc. for $36,941.44 ($34,901.87 non-lead and $2,849.57 lead), and a disbursement for charge orders in the amount of $11,242.05 ($10,969 non-lead addition and $273.04 lead addition).
- Reports were given relating to water bill shut-offs and both phases of the water project.
- The council would approve an amended contract with Chastain and Associates.
- Several residents spoke during the non-agenda public comment period on a variety of issues.
- The council entered into an executive session at 8:45 p.m. to take action on a matter relating to the acquisition. No reports on the action taken were available as of press time.
Upcoming committee meetingsThe following committees will convene on the following dates:
- Police on September 14 at Assumption City Hall
- Streets on September 15 at Bromwell Lodge
- Water on September 21 at Bromwell Lodge
- Finance on September 27 at Bromwell Lodge
This is a corrected, SEO-friendly version of a story published in the September 8, 2021 edition of the Assumption Golden Prairie News and Blue Mound Leader.
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