Nelsen receives appointment to Ward 1With Page becoming interim mayor on October 12, there was a vacancy in Ward 1 to fill. Page did specify that there were several who expressed interest in the position. It was narrowed down to three. One of those finalists to fill the vacancy, unfortunately, had to drop out, and the decision was down to two people. Based on interviews Page had with the final two people expressing interest in filling the vacated aldermanic role, he felt that Gary Nelsen was the best person to fill the vacancy. It was at the meeting that he formally appointed Nelsen to fill the vacancy in Ward 1, and it was approved without objection. Moredock gave the oath of office to Nelsen, officially solidifying his role as alderman.
Assumption senior citizens mealsJan Baker from Assumption Senior Citizens stated that she has been looking into financials for the past few years, making cutbacks whenever necessary. She would notice on tax records where money from property taxes is taken out for senior citizens. She would thank city clerk Janet Waller for being very helpful in getting Baker some of the information she needs. Communications would relay that there was a form to fill out in order to get some of this money back for the existing program in Assumption. Currently, Pana, Taylorville, Kincaid (South Fork), and Morrisonville get money back for their senior citizens’ programs. “Two of these communities are about our size,” Baker would state about the funds. “If they can get it, why can’t we get it?” The uncertainty came as she thought the program previously received money from that fund. However, the information under the care of their long-standing treasurer is long lost.
Specific costs for meals in discussionBaker would continue by laying out what is done with the meals, as Assumption Senior Citizens provides the main entree. Participants often help by bringing in side dishes. She said the cost of the meat can range from $40 to $50. A nominal fee is charged to anyone who doesn’t bring a side dish. She did add that most out-of-pocket costs relate to the meat entree. Baker cited that from looking at the financials, they have at best three years as a self-sufficient entity before they would have to consider shutting down. A member of the council would inquire as to whether they were paying for the use of the Bromwell Masonic Lodge. Baker stated that the Bromwell Lodge has not charged them, and they try to donate $100 yearly for use of the facility. The cost for the meat entree would roughly run $820 for a year if they had to purchase it every month. Page asked Moredock to look into the issue and provide an update in December. The finance committee will meet on November 23 and consider a one-time donation to Assumption Senior Citizens. An individual spoke up later in the meeting relating to previous remarks from Baker who was communicating with someone with the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 137 out of Springfield. There may be potential intent to offer a one-time donation to cover the annual costs. The matter will be a point of discussion at their budget meeting.
Spending limit ordinanceAlderman Joe Cochran had previously questioned how former Mayor Roger Cox and prior mayors had a set limit for emergency expenses at $1,000 a day. Investigation showed there was no ordinance or resolution authorizing such an expense or limit for the office of mayor, or the power to spend any money at all. Cochran would elaborate on some discussions with mayors and aldermen from other communities, discovering that they either have an ordinance or resolution on their books allowing such an expense. The limits set grants authority to spend, under emergency circumstances. He received a copy of a resolution from a Taylorville alderman, which set spending limits for the mayor, committee chairs, and departmental superintendents. Cochran would introduce a scaled-down version of that resolution, setting limits based on their population. The proposed limits will be for the mayor, committee chairs, departmental superintendents, and the city clerk. Discussion on the ordinance will continue in December.
Business relating to Assumption water projectsThe council heard some updates relating to the sanitary sewer system and water plant projects During Bingham’s updates, he reported that there was a change order of $233,962.15 as a result of reconciling their records. The order would receive approval without objection. Other business items relating to the water projects include:
- Approval of a water disbursement for $27,495, with a disbursement of $25,567.20 going to Burdick Heating and Plumbing and $1,927.80 for engineering costs.
- The approval of a sewer disbursement for $429,419.43, with a disbursement of $410,736.58 going to Petersburg Plumbing and $18,682.85 for engineering costs.
- Approval of a bid for the Larochelle project from Burdick Heating and Plumbing in the amount of $379,900.
Property lien lifted by councilAn individual from Moweaqua wants to purchase the lot at 104 W. First Street, but the city currently has a lien on the property in the amount of $129,230.96 which has been standing unpaid since 2005. The property owner at the time would never return contact attempts to make payment for services done by the city. Page would state that he would like to have the lien removed. He would further elaborate that there is likely no chance of recovery or receiving any payment. Additionally, Page would note that it has been 16 years since the issuing of the lien. Keeping the lien in place would prevent the property’s sale. The council voted to lift the lien on the property.
Other businessOther business before the Assumption council included:
- Approval of the city’s insurance from IMLRA for $45,585, with a discount available if paid by November 22.
- Approving Palmer via resolution as IMRF treasurer for Assumption.
- Approval of closures of Second Street. The first was for November 6 for an event at the Knotty Pine. The other is for the Christmas tree lighting on Saturday, Nov. 27.
- Approval of an amendment relating to the city’s current ordinance for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries.
- The city received a bid for video equipment with the intent to provide better-quality archives of council meetings. The bid came from Computer Techniques, Inc. (CTI) in the amount of $1,429.86. There was some confusion as to whether they have live-streaming capabilities. The action, however, was in consideration due to some residents having issues listening to the meeting audio. The matter will be in further discussion before the finance committee.
- Moredock would officially earn confirmation as city attorney.
- There was some clarification about some expenses in the warrant sheets that were coming out of the Parks and Recreation fund, which should start coming out of the general revenue fund. The matter will be in further consideration after the meeting.
New officials sworn in last month
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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.