The Villa Grove city council met for its monthly voting meeting on September 14.
In the absence of Mayor Eversole-Gunter, Alderman Blaney took the gavel and called the meeting to order at 6 p.m. Role was called and all were present save Mayor Eversole-Gunter and Alderman Garrett.
After reciting the pledge of allegiance, Blaney called for a vote on the consent agenda and approval which passed unanimously. Items included in the consent agenda were:
* Minutes of the last regular council meeting, held August 10, 2020.
* Closed minutes of the last regular council meeting, held August 10, 2020.
* Minutes of the last regular COTW meeting, held August 24, 2020.
* Closed minutes of the last COTW meeting, held August 24, 2020.
* Minutes of the special COTW meeting, held September 1, 2020.
* Minutes of the special COTW meeting, held September 2, 2020.
* Minutes of the special COTW meeting, held September 10, 2020.
* Authorization for the payment of bills in the amount of $319,346.89.
* Approval of financial statements for the month ending July 31,2020 and August 31, 2020.
* Approval of hiring two full time police officers (start date 10/05/2020).
Next, Blaney called for public comments, and finding none, moved to admin reports.
There were no engineering reports, but Public works director Scott Arbuckle did inform the council that the MFT road work was nearing completion for 2020, and that the McCoy crosswalk project would be completed by the end of the week.
Administrator Athey then noted that much of her time had been spent planning and hosting the special strategic planning meetings that were held on September 1 and 2. She also noted that she and Mayor Eversole Gunter had held meetings with Union Pacific concerning a donation to the city for the new community building.
In the mayor’s stead, Alderman Blaney reported that the VFW would be meeting soon to discuss the annual Halloween Costume Party. The decision was made to continue with trick or treating on Halloween night, October 31, from 4 to 7. However, due to the pandemic, the council wanted to stress that participation is strictly voluntary and that only those houses with outdoor lights on should be approached.
Next, VGPD Chief Rea noted that he had received complaints from several citizens concerning the traffic lights at the bridge project not functioning correctly, and that he had spoken with the company on site and it was determined that heavy fog could impede the light sensor’s ability to function. Rea also noted that he had received complaints from residents on Spruce street, west of the 4-way stop, that motorists were using their road as a detour, and not always driving safely while doing so. At this point, Alderman Johnson noted that there had been several accidents at the corner of Route 130 and East Jefferson street since the light’s installation. “I’ve been at that corner when traffic is backed up, and visibility is near zero,” Johnson stated. Rea noted that there had been two accidents to his knowledge but said that it would take an ordinance to correct the issue, and that the bridge work was about to change sides, and that perhaps that might alleviate some of the issues.
At this time, Blaney then moved to new business, including:
* Ordinance 2020-MC11- An ordinance approving an intergovernmental agreement between the city of Villa Grove and Villa Grove Schools regarding the services of a School Resource Officer.
* Ordinance 2020-MC12-An ordinance approving the addition of Champaign County as a Designating Unit of Government, and corresponding boundary modifications to the area known as the Douglas county enterprise zone.
* Ordinance 2020-MC13-An ordinance pertaining to the local CURE program.
* Ordinance 2020-MC14-A ordinance approving Tentative Police Union Contract. At this time, Alderman Hooker expressed his gratitude to Chief Rea and Administrator Athey for their hard work in coming to an equitable agreement with the officers.
* Accepted bids for annual MFT road projects with Illiana Construction (BAM work) for $99470.00 and Earl Walker Co, (seal coat work) for $23631.00.
* Approved purchase of Watchguard car and body cameras for the police department at a cost of $45,900. Chief Rea then took a moment to note that a state mandate to equip officers and squad cars with cameras was in the works.
* Approved remodel work to the police station in the amount of $3352.84.
* Approved payment of $5960.00 to Frick Concrete for the sidewalk at the McCoy crosswalk project.
* Waived the formal bidding process to solicit proposals for finishing the parking area and drainage at the Emergency Services Center.
* Approved the Architectural agreement to create community center Phase 1 bid packets.
* Approved October 10 as the date for annual fall cleanup date as specified in the city’s contract with Advanced Disposal. It was noted that only yard waste would be picked up curbside, and that instructions for preparing said waste would soon be posted on villagrove.org. It was also noted that leaves could either be placed in paper waste bags or in the totes used for garbage collection, but that all refuse must be removed from the tote prior to yard waste being placed in it.
Finding no further business, Alderman Hooker moved to adjourn at 6:20 p.m. and the motion passed unanimously.