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Villa Grove City council seeks utility proposals

The Villa Grove City Council met for its regular monthly meeting on March 22, 2021, and Mayor Eversole Gunter called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m.

Roll call found all members of the council, plus Clerk Osborne, Administrator Athey, Public Works director Lake, Chief of Police Rea and Planning and zoning chair Broeker in attendance.

After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Eversole Gunter called for a motion to approve the consent agenda, consisting of:

* Minutes of the last regular city council meeting, held March 8, 2021

* Financial Reports for the month ending February 28, 2021

The motion was made and passed unanimously.

Next, the mayor then elected to move ahead to new business, as there were several city landlords in attendance whose participation had been requested.  

* There was discussion of property maintenance, code changes and enforcement, and landlord Sam Laws stated that many of the issues surrounding excess waste in apartment dumpsters was caused by non-residents dumping furniture and appliances into the receptacles where they didn’t have a right to do so.  Then, the residents would have to put theirs on top, resulting in much spreading of garbage. He asked for the council to consider making a roll off available only to people who own rental property in a secure location, so that they would be able to police their own areas.  He also mentioned that if all landlords work together, it would be much smoother than if they tried to address the issue on their own.  Rental property owner Paul Pizzola then stated that he hadn’t had many problems, but when he did, he took care of them himself.  Alderman Hooker then asked PW director Lake if there was a secure spot for a roll off that could be made available by appointment, and Lake said he would look into it.  Finally, Mayor Eversole Gunter said that Chief Rea had been having his officers patrolling alleys, looking for illegal dumpers and for people who aren’t in compliance.  She then thanked the area rental property owners for taking time to come in and discuss the issue, and that she and the council looked forward to working with them on the issue.

* The next item on the agenda was Ordinance 2021-MC04, an ordinance authorizing issuance for a Request for Proposal of the sale of the city water and sewer systems.  The motion was made and passed, with Alderman Griffith casting the lone no vote.

* The status of the Garbage Franchise agreement was next on the agenda, and it was agreed that the city would solicit bids up until April 16  for the new contract, set to begin in June.

* The Council then voted unanimously to accept the resignation of a full-time public works employee, and to promote a part time public works employee to full time to assume the workload.

The mayor then moved to receive the administrator’s reports and Administrator Athey stated that she had received verbal approval from IEPA regarding all three projects currently underway, including installation of scrubber at the water plant, demolition of the old water plant, and upgrades to McCoy subdivision water lines. She then reported that the Electronics Recycling company had agreed to provide the service once again during city wide clean-up days on June 4 and 5.  She also noted that the city building had experienced water leaks around the north facing windows during the recent rains, and that someone would be coming to check them.  She then mentioned that there is a bill in the legislature which would allow municipalities to potentially grant TIF loans to businesses who had experienced losses related to Covid 19. She then mentioned that there were still loans available from the small business administration for companies who had suffered pandemic related issues.  Alderman Pangburn then asked if there was a specific time frame for businesses to act when they received TIF loans, pointing specifically to the old Tondini space on the south end of main street.  “We took care of demolishing it, and it doesn’t look much better than it did before,” Pangburn stated.  Administrator Athey agreed and said that she would look over the contract for verbiage concerning time to act.  Finally, she noted that the fire department needed to replace a light bar on one of their vehicles at a cost of $1500.  No vote could be taken, but a consensus was reached to purchase the vital equipment.  

Chief Rea the made his report, stating that Officer Rasmussen had recently completed an audit of burned out street lights in town, and that the city had forwarded his report to Ameren, who had crews in town replacing the non-working bulbs.  Rea then noted that compliance was about 50/50 concerning ordinance violation compliance, and that two of the offenders had been to court, and that they then had 30 days to comply, or they would be issued a notice to appear.  

The council then moved to a closed session to discuss pending litigation at 7:07 p.m., emerging at 7:22 p.m.

Finding no other business, the motion was made to adjourn at that time.

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