City Council Meeting
City of Carmi
January 20th, 2015
The Carmi City Council met Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Room of the Municipal Building, 225 East Main Street, Carmi, Illinois.
Prior to opening the council meeting, Mayor Pollard asked Alderman Winkleman to give the invocation. The prayer was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Pollard presided with the following Aldermen present: Steve Winkleman, Mark W. Blake, Kenny Carter, Keith Davis, Sheila Jo Headlee, Doug Hays, Jack Lamont and Mike Knight.
Minutes for the January 6th, 2015 council meeting were presented. Motion made by Alderman Winkleman and seconded by Alderman Hays to approve the minutes as presented. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman answering “yes.”
December 2014 Financial Reports were presented. Motion made by Alderman Headlee and seconded by Alderman Winkleman to approve the Financial Reports as presented. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman answering “yes.”
January 2015 Vendor Invoices were presented. Motion made by Alderman Winkleman and seconded by Alderman Lamont to approve the Vendor Invoices as presented. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman answering “yes.”
Mayor Pollard presented Mr. David Coston, City Electrical Engineer to give an update on implantation of the SCADA system and other upgrades to the city electrical system. Mr. Coston stated that they found three (3) circuit breakers that need replaced at the ABB building (Power Plant Sub) while working on the SCADA system. They were sent off to be repaired and are expected back next week. They are going to service the remaining six (6) breakers next week as well. The Possum St. substation SCADA system is done and working well and the Sixth St. substation is getting a new antenna pole which will be installed shortly. He informed the council that the brush around the Fairgrounds substation has been cleared and they are waiting on rock to be delivered so that new poles and isolation switches can be installed which will allow the substation to be shut down and the SCADA connections can be made. The new building at the Bradshaw substation is complete and they will start wiring the panels shortly. The power plant got new monitors along with a new PC and controls. The welding shop is working on a second substation building. Mr. Coston then commented that the substation inspection by PCI from Evansville, Indiana is completed and they have several recommendations that need attention. Streetlight survey is being updated once every month and streetlights are being replaced with LED unites as the existing ones fail. Also, the High School streetlights will be upgraded to LEDs shortly. He stated that work is continuing on creating a map of old power poles, they will notify phone and cable companies to move conductors to new poles. The old poles will be removed after the conductor move is completed. Also, work on mapping the utility system is continuing. Data is being collected during this phase to document electrical components in the event of major loss or insurance claim. Mr. Coston then informed the council that OFEC has completed replacing several bad poles along Burrell St. and are presently working to replace poles and upgrade the feed into the Edgewood subdivision. Power is now installed to the new United Methodist Church as well. Some upcoming work going on right now includes installing new transformers at the power plant along with rewiring the lower buss. They are waiting for moderate weather to install them because power will be disconnected from half of the power plant while work is being done.
He was able to negotiate with IMEA and defer any fines associated with three (3) generators being down until May 2015. As long as they are back in operation before this date, there will be no additional charges. Safety upgrades at the Sixth St. substation are getting scheduled. There will be a power plant and substation annual thermal study done this summer. They are also working with various city departments to automate an inventory system and integrate with work order procedures. This should help reduce ‘shrinkage’ and give guidance on what inventory to keep on hand and provide valid documentation in the event of a loss. Mr. Coston gave an IMEA update next. The most recent meeting was December 11th with the next one being February 26th. An Ameren overcharge refund was received recently and the IMEA power plants, Trimble County and Prairie State, are performing well. Economic development rate extension approved through 2015 for commercial/industrial customers installing a new load. The IMEA bond ratings have been received and are positive. He stated that re-financing of long term debt will likely occur in the spring. A solar power pilot project opportunity is available for members. Mr. Coston then stated that Carmi’s peak kilowatts for 2014 was on August 27th, 2014 and Carmi’s total power consumed last year was fifty eight thousand eight hundred and ninety three (58,983) megawatts per hour. He then talked about the Efficiency Program Implementation. The total funds available are twenty seven thousand five hundred and eight dollars ($27,508) which means they still need to award eighteen thousand dollars ($18,000). The residential cycle will begin in May as well.
Mayor Pollard then stated that since Phoenix Nursing and Rehabilitation is under new management the council decided to invite the Phoenix Board Members to discuss the future goals for Phoenix Rehabilitation and the hospital. He then presented Mr. David Campbell as the spokesperson for all aspects of Phoenix. He stated that financial troubles have been going on for years and it will take them time to crawl out of debt. He asked for leniency from the city and stated that a whole new staff has been put in place to correct the problems. The nursing homes payroll is about sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) per month. He stated that the board was kept out of the loop by the previous administration. Temporary administrator Dianna Richards stated that there are twenty (20) residents as of now with four (4) more set to come in the next two (2) weeks. They have forty two (42) staff members as well. They want to be open in communication and will work with the city in every aspect. J.C Tinsley asked if she had an estimated time frame for a better picture. Mrs. Richards answered that they do not have an exact time frame and are taking it day by day. Alderman Headlee asked what happened with the one point two million dollars ($1.2) that they received the last disbursement. Mr. Campbell stated that they did not get anywhere close to that amount of money. Alderman Carter then asked if there are more funds coming and Mr. Campbell responded that there are more funds coming in but they owe more money to the Federal Government as well as the state of Illinois. Mr. Tinsley inquired if an internal investigation is being held. Mrs. Cindy Conley stated that an investigation is not taking place. Mrs. Conley then said that part of the book keeping was on one computer and part of it was one another computer and that the previous bookkeepers did not communicate with each other. Mr. Campbell informed the council that they have only had twenty (20) days to look at things, which is not enough time to figure everything out. He stated they do have five (5) private pays and the payroll taxes are current. He then said that he has been on the board for seven (7) years and has seen more paperwork in twenty (20) days than he has in the past seven (7) years. He is helping look through all paperwork and asked for patience from the city. Mr. Campbell has no time frame for finding answers. He has found out that the bed taxes are only two thousand and five hundred dollars ($2,500) per month. They are spending money to figure things out with the bookkeeping as well. He informed the council that they will do everything in their power to make things right. Mayor Pollard asked what they were focusing on. Mr. Campbell answered that they are focusing on the nursing home and the hospital both. If they cannot make the hospital a go, then he will personally make a public apology. Alderman Davis commented that the utility bills are his main question from the citizens. Mr. Campbell responded that the city is on the top of the list to be paid something.
Alderman Headlee questioned how long their Medicare reimbursement is. He answered that it usually takes two (2) weeks. Mrs. Conley commented on the Medicare bad debt recovery plan, which was never worked on by the previous administration. Mayor Pollard stated that he met with some members of the new administration and he told them that they can show some good faith in payments and that they do not have to pay their bills in full. Alderman Headlee asked if the council ever got information on a general ledger from the previous administration. City Attorney Greg Stewart answered that they had not. Mrs. Conley stated that the problem with the books and ledger is trying to find it all. Mr. Stewart asked when the Certificate of Need for the hospital ends. Mr. Campbell answered in December of 2015. Mr. Stewart then asked who told him that. Mr. Campbell stated that Eric Custer told him. Mr. Tinsley commented that he is not interested in negative publicity but he has an obligation to report the truth to the public. Alderman Hays commented that the council is not trying to cause negative publicity. Alderman Headlee agreed and added that the council owes it to the taxpayers of Carmi. Alderman Hays then asked if the council should give them time or continue with the foreclosure. Mayor Pollard stated that the council has until the end of February to make a decision and that they have to answer to the state for the revolving loan fund. He added that he agrees with Mr. Tinsley that their needs to be a timeline. Mr. Stewart stated that the revolving loan is on the hospital side and not the nursing home. Alderman Knight commented that the taxes were paid on the 14th of January which is a relief to the council. He wants to go forwards and not backwards. Alderman Hays commented that he has no problem with waiting a month to make a decision on the foreclosure. Alderman Davis asked how they were making payroll. Mr. Campbell answered that they have benefactors that are helping. Alderman Winkleman said that there does not need to be an open end because it is either going to make it or it is not. Mr. Campbell stated again that they have only had twenty (20) days and that he will tell the council if they can make it or not. They can have as many as seventy four (74) residents and at one point in 2013 had fifty (50) residents. Mrs. McGill commented that they have a positive spin at the moment and that she wants to make things right with the city and all of their vendors. Alderman Carter stated that the city has not received a revolving loan payment since 2011 which is why they are in the place they are in today. Mr. Tinsley asked who all is on the board. Mr. Campbell answered that himself, Wanda Douglas, Dr. Saquib, and former administrator Lil Fortner are all on the Phoenix foundation board. Lance Yearly asked if Phoenix has attorneys looking at the books. Mrs. Conley stated that yes they do. Mr. Henry McGill the assistant administrator stated that Phoenix appreciates the openness of the meeting tonight. Mayor Pollard said that he is glad that everyone came and was able to have a positive discussion. Keith Hoskins stated that January 5th was the first board meeting after the new administration took over and they have been very helpful. They need to build a budget first in order to answer questions. Mayor Pollard and Alderman Headlee agreed that communication is the key for the future.
Reports and/or updates from Mayor Pollard
Mayor Pollard informed everyone that the IMEA scholarship for seniors is available at the high school.
Reports from Standing Committees
Alderman Knight informed the council that work is going on at Bradshaw Park in preparation for spring sporting events.
Alderman Headlee stated that all departments came under budget but one and wanted to thank the foremen for staying under budget.
Business or Comments from Visitors
Motion was made by Alderman Headlee and seconded by Alderman Winkleman to go into closed session for the purpose of discussing personnel and property issues with no action to follow. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman answering “yes.”
At 8:07 p.m. council went into closed session.
Motion made by Alderman Headlee and seconded by Alderman Blake to return to open session and adjourn. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman answering “yes.”
At 8:57 p.m. the council adjourned.
Brian K. Allen, City Clerk
Jeff Pollard, Mayor