Villa Grove City Council holds regular meeting

The Villa Grove City Council met on January 26, 2021 for a regular, voting meeting.

Mayor Eversole Gunter called the meeting to order at 6:04, with all members present save Blaney and Griffith.  

After saying the Pledge of Allegiance, the mayor called for approval of the consent agenda, which consisted of:
* Approval of the minutes of the last regular city council meeting, held January 11, 2021.

* Approval of the closed minutes of the last regular city council meeting.

* Authorization of the payment of bills in the amount of $64,914.12.

* Financial Statements for the month ending December 31, 2020.

Eversole Gunter then asked for public comments, and Bruce Allen was present to discuss the recently formed Economic Development Committee.  Initial committee members include Lon Tay, Derrick Roy, Bruce Allen, Michael Holmes, Mary Hite and Don Cler.  Allen stated that their initial meeting had been spent discussing pros and cons of Villa Grove living.  He stated that there has been a lot of negative press in the past, and he hopes that people living in the community will take pride in Villa Grove.

The mayor then called for a committee of the whole reports and finding none, moved to the administrator’s report.  Administrator Athey made a short report, stating that she was in the middle of preparing staff W2’s, Task charts and preparing a delegation plan.

Next, New Public works director Randy Lake noted that the inventory of the waste treatment plant was progressing nicely. 

Police Chief Rea then referred to the six-month progress report that he had provided the council, and there was general conversation about the document and about his progress.  

The mayor then reported that Pat Cler had let her know that the archway from the old Community Building was safely stored in their Camargo facility, and that she had asked the architects to incorporate it into the new building, set to break ground in the spring.  She also noted that she had completed administrator Athey’s evaluation, and that it was available for review by the council.  She then noted that Libby Neathery was putting together the employee manuals, and finally Eversole Gunter stated that the fireworks company was on board with a July 2 show.  

Mayor Eversole Gunter then moved on to new business including:

* Approval of Ordinance no. 2021-MC01-An ordinance authorizing the Mayor to Execute the employment agreement by the City of Villa Grove for the position of Director of Public Works.

* Next on the agenda was consideration of approval of a contract hiring Hartman Consulting LLC for assistance with the water and sewer systems. At this time, Villa Grove resident Mike Cline clarified that Hartman Consulting would be assisting with the RFP for the utility, and that the city should request information from any potential buyer considering the price, the company’s rate increase history, any IEPA violations, and perhaps the resume of the potential Operations supervisor.  He also suggested that Villa Grove discuss the possibility of becoming a regional storage and distribution center for any company that would purchase the utility.   He also suggested that the city look into any sort of charitable partnerships the company would be willing to join with the city.  Attorney Mark Miller then joined the discussion, noting that the market for utilities had gotten a slight bit softer during the pandemic.  He also noted that any sort of concessions the city sought would have to be included in the RFP.  He noted such things as being allowed to select the colors the water tower would be painted and being allowed to put antennas on the water tower as two such items to consider.  Finally, he noted that a fact sheet was being produced to let all interested parties know the numbers, both for and against selling the utility.  

* The city voted to accept the resignation of Robin Cowman as Senior Center activity coordinator

* Approve final payment to Camargo Township District Library per TIF grant agreement

* Authorization to move forward with TIF redevelopment agreement planning regarding a request from Derrick Roy

All motions were approved unanimously.

The Council then moved to executive session at 6:44, emerging at 7:06, and a motion to adjourn passed unanimously at 7:08 p.m.

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