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City hears engineering report and sets budget timetable

The Villa Grove city council met on Monday, March 14 at six p.m. for their regular monthly voting meeting. Roll was taken at 6:01 p.m., with Alderman Pangburn being the only council member not in attendance. Also present were mayor Eversole Gunter, city administrator Athey, Public works director Lake, Chief of Police Rea and City Clerk Osborne. 

After the pledge of allegiance, the mayor called for a vote on the consent agenda which consisted of:
* Minutes of the regular city council meeting, held February 14, 2022.

* Minutes of the regular committee of the whole meeting, held February 28, 2022.

* Minutes of the closed session of the regular Committee of the Whole meeting, held February 22, 2022.

* Authorization for the payment of bills in the amount of $801,565.22.

* Financial Statements for the month ending January 31, 2022 showing a balance of $2,521,109.83.

* Cash Balance Report for the month ending February 28, 2022 showing a balance of $2,580,250.70.

The consent agenda passed unanimously, with Alderman Blaney abstaining.

Next, the mayor called for public comments, and VG resident Pete Eisenmenger was on hand to discuss the poor condition of Hickory Lane. “When it rains, it’s a mudhole, and when it’s dry, it’s dusty,” Eisenmenger lamented. He noted that someone familiar with roadwork informed him that the project happened very late in the season, which probably led to issues because of cooler weather not allowing a proper seal. He also noted that a steel roller had been used rather than a rubber roller, which resulted in the gravel being pulverized. Mayor Eversole Gunter, who also resides on Hickory, said that she had been in conversation with the contractor, seeking ways to alleviate the issue, and also noted that contracts for 2022 work had already been submitted, which should allow chipping and tarring of city streets to occur earlier in the season. Public works director Lake then noted that he had out of the communication loop, stating that he wasn’t told when the work would be done, either by the contractor or by the engineer assigned to oversee the work. Andy Kieser, the city engineer, said that he or the engineer from Fehr Graham assigned to road work would be willing to meet with the mayor and contractor to seek solutions, as well.

Kieser then made an engineering report to the council which included:
* Noting that the water plant scrubber had been installed and that it should be up and functioning in the next few weeks. 

* Discussed the possibility of diverting funds from a proposed road resurfacing in south VG to repair roads that have been destroyed in McCoy Subdivision. 

* Noted that Cross Construction was expected to complete the McCoy water project in early spring.

* Discussed the replacement of expansion joints at the Front Street Bridge over the Embarras River.

Administrator Athey then made her report, noting that she had been following up with engineering issues, in addition to preparing the timeline for the annual budget review, as well as beginning weekly meetings with Illinois American Water to ease the transition of the sale of the utility.

Chief Rea then made his report, stating that he had been reviewing the department’s procedures and personnel policies and that he would have his proposed budget finalized within the next week.

Public Works Director Lake then reported that all the equipment at the water plant that had been disabled by the lightening strike had been repaired or replaced. He also noted that the concession stand at Henson Park was in need of refurbishment after being unused for two years. Alderman Johnson then noted that a park cleanup day needed to be scheduled, with all parents of children who participate in Summer Rec being expected to contribute time to the project. Johnson finished by stating that with the beginning of spring leaf cleanup and mowing season, he would be needing to hire a part time seasonal employee. 

Mayor Eversole Gunter then made her report, stating that she and administrator Athey had been working with Waste Management concerning the annual city-wide cleanup event, and that it could be early fall before the event will take place in 2022. She also noted that the cleanup would be door to door rather than from a central gathering place as in the past. 

The mayor then moved to new business which included approval of:

* Resolution no. 2022-R01-Intent to Reimburse Capital Costs.

* Gilmore & Bell (bond attorneys) engagement letter.

* Toughbook purchases for squad cars.

* New Police department specific signage, with the current sign being relocated to a more central location on the public safety building.

All passed unanimously save Blaney’s no vote on new police department signage. 

Finding no further business, Hooker’s motion to adjourn passed unanimously at 7:40 p.m.

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