A public hearing was held on March 5, 2019, at 5:15 p.m. in the Council Room of the Municipal Building, 225 East Main Street, regarding vacating a portion of the alley at Partridge Addition, Lot Four, Block Four.
The Carmi City Council then met for their regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. following the public hearing.
Prior to opening the council meeting, Mayor Pollard asked Alderman Winkleman to give the invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Pollard presided with the following Aldermen present: Steve Winkleman, Mark W. Blake, Tracy Nelson, Lance Yearby, Jeremy Courson, Sheila Jo Headlee, and Mike Knight. ABSENT: Doug Hays.
The minutes from the February 19, 2019, council meeting were presented. Motion was made by Alderman Headlee and seconded by Alderman Winkleman to approve the minutes as presented. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman present answering “yes.”
For council consideration, discussion and possible approval
Mayor Pollard presented Ordinance No.1551; An ordinance to vacate a portion of an alley in Lot Four, Block Four of Partridge Addition for which a public hearing was held prior. Alderman Winkleman made a motion to approve Ordinance No. 1551; An ordinance to vacate a portion of an alley in Lot Four, Block Four of Partridge Addition. Alderman Blake seconded the motion. The motion carried on roll call with all Aldermen answering “yes.”
Mayor Pollard introduced Mrs. Erica Zieren from Carmi-White County High School. Mrs. Zieren stated she taught the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) class at CWCHS and as a group project, the class had developed plans for a Dog Park. Mrs. Zieren stated she had previously met with Mayor Pollard and City Clerk Cynthia Attebury to discuss the project. Mayor Pollard suggested partnering with Pets At Risk to help with fundraising ideas etc. Mrs. Zieren stated the class presented the ideas to Pets At Risk who is willing to partner with the STEM class. Mrs. Zieren then introduced members of the STEM class to present the proposed plans for the dog park. The location of the dog park will be at Burrell Park on the 66 acres that the City owns. The size of the park area will be just under a ½ acre. The class has researched dog park designs in other towns as well as a list of desired equipment to be placed in the dog park. They have begun creating price lists for the desired equipment. The class has also researched the legality issues associated with the dog park. The initial drawing of the dog park will consist of two areas, one for small dogs and one for larger dogs. There will be agility equipment on both sides with a fence around the entire area as well as a double-gated entry to ensure the safety of the animals. Fundraising ideas are being developed. The Dog Days of Summer will be held on April 20, 2019, at Burrell Park. This will include:
- The Fast and the Furriest 5 K and Doggie Dash
- Community Dog Show
- Food Vendors
- Pet related vendors
- Pictures with your pet.
- Adoption Day for Pets at Risk
The fundraising will continue over time which would include pledges, sponsorships, and community events. The first step would be to purchase the fencing, which they have sought pricing from Carmi Lumber. The long term plan would include electric and water access for restrooms, the purchase of benches and picnic tables, and a pavilion. Appropriate signage would be displayed for the legality issues. After the students presented all of the information, Mrs. Zieren concluded by stating there are some grants available for dog parks. After some discussion, a motion was made by Alderman Knight to allow the proposed dog park at Burrell Park. The motion was seconded by Alderman Winkleman. The motion carried on roll call with each Alderman present answering “yes.”
The revised Façade Improvement Grant Program Application and Agreement was submitted for approval. Mayor Pollard stated a restriction was added that required the businesses to be in operation for 12 months and existing restrictions were more clearly defined. In addition, grant funding would not be available for the same business within 24 months instead of the previous 12-month period. After discussion, Alderman Headlee made a motion to approve the Revised Façade Improvement Grant Program Application and Agreement. The motion was seconded by Alderman Courson. The motion carried on roll call with each Alderman present answering “yes.”
Mayor Pollard stated the mowing contract with Southern Illinois Tree Service will be up for renewal in April. The City will be seeking bids for another 4 years to sub-contract out the mowing of some of our vacant lots. Additional lots have been added to the prior list. The packets will be available at the Light and Water Office starting Thursday, March 7thafter 10 a.m. All bids must be submitted by 10 a.m. on Monday, March 25, 2019. Alderman Headlee made a motion to advertise to accept bids for mowing of the City of Carmi properties. Alderman Knight seconded the motion. The motion carried on roll call with each Alderman present answering “yes.”
Mayor Pollard stated the compost has been closed due to the gate continuing to be left open, people not returning keys, and unacceptable items being dumped. Mayor Pollard explained that by calling the site a compost site, the EPA definition of a compost site is very extensive with several regulations. He also stated the lease agreement with Paul Schumaker would expire on June 30, 2019. Mayor Pollard stated “we have reached out to the family regarding possibly buying the property. At this time, they do not wish to sell but would continue to lease. However, they will be raising the lease amount to $400 per month when the lease is renewed.” A lengthy discussion was held regarding guidelines to operate the site as well the rising costs. Further policy changes are probable in the near future. Mayor Pollard stated for the time being, the compost will be opened back up using the previous key system. A motion was made by Alderman Headlee to change the name of the compost to the City of Carmi Landscape Waste Site. Alderman Winkleman seconded the motion. The motion carried on roll call with each Alderman present answering “yes.”
Reports and/or updates from Mayor Pollard
Mayor Pollard announced the City of Carmi was fortunate to receive a donation of $34,500 from Vibracoustic and Freudenberg Group through a program referred to as an e2 (environment and education) project. A Born Learning Trail at Burrell Park is in the process of being developed. The learning trail will consist of a paved walking path with nature signs, learning signs, musical instruments that can actually be played, games such as hopscotch that will be painted on the path. This idea and design is credited to Sheryl Blazier, former day care owner, whose dedication and efforts are helping to make this a reality. She will be assisting with all of the aspects of this project. A groundbreaking ceremony will be planned for the near future, weather permitting.
Mayor Pollard reported that so far this year, Carmi Light and Water has been awarded $6,038.77 from the Illinois Debt Recovery Program. A list of outstanding utility bills is submitted to the company and when that individual files their income tax, Carmi Light and Water receives their money before the monies are sent to the individual.
Mayor Pollard stated a new credit card process company will be utilized in the future which will be charging the customer a fee to process their credit card, ACH, or debit card payment. If you pay by ACH or debit card, the fee will be $1.75. If you pay with a major credit card, the fee will be calculated by a percentage of the amount you owe. For example, if your bill is $500, the fee would be approximately $19.54. The City paid approximately $23,931.31 for credit card fees in 2018.
Mayor Pollard stated at the last council meeting he had reported that he and City Attorney Greg Stewart would be on open line” talking trash.” Mayor Pollard stated there will be a council meeting sometime in the next few weeks to discuss guidelines for a new ordinance pertaining to properties within the city limits such as houses, business, storage buildings, garages, vehicles, etc. The Mayor stated, “We are seeking input from the public on what they want the appearance of our town to look like and just how far they expect the City to go to clean things up. The public is invited to send signed letters of complaint along with pictures of the property to my office at 225 East Main Street or they can check the agenda and attend the meeting when we start our discussions.”
Reports from Standing Committees
Alderman Headlee thanked the STEM class for their presentation of the dog park, stating “you are the future.”
Closed Session to discuss personnel and property issues with action to follow:
At 6:10 p.m., Alderman Headlee made a motion to enter into closed session to discuss personnel issues. The motion was seconded by Alderman Courson. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman present answering “yes.”
At 6:33 p.m. Alderman Courson made a motion to return to regular session and adjourn. The motion was seconded by Alderman Blake. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman present answering “yes.”
Cynthia J. Attebury, City Clerk
Jeff Pollard, Mayor