Lanark City Council Meeting on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Lanark — The meeting started out with Alderman Macomber motioning to approve the meeting minutes and bills payable from the meeting held on October 2, 2018. The motion was seconded by Alderman Grimm and was passed unanimously.
No public comments were made.
Don and Cathy Hart were recognized for their donation of a lot to the south of the City Hall building and Public Library. A $1 check was handed over by Alderman Van Matre, to officially meet the terms of the contract signed by the city and the Harts. A plaque is to be placed on the south side of the building, and it says “Parking Lot donated by Don and Cathy Hart, 5-22-15”. Thank you, Don and Cathy!
A new Treasurer was appointed by Mayor Viglietta, to take over for Erica Shau, who has stepped down as Treasurer. Alderman Grimm motioned for a vote on the appointment, and alderman Leverton seconded. Donna Lee Yenny’s appointment as Treasurer was unanimously approved by the council. (See photo of Donnalee’s swearing in, below).
The Lanark City Council approved a contract agreement for a School Resource Officer. Details on the contract are in the RiverReader article entitled, “School Resource Officer Contract Approved by Lanark, Eastland School Board,”.
Denise Bormann, who is also the Shannon Village Clerk, has been helping out Lanark as a Utility Clerk, in the absence of a city clerk, until Kim Hunter was sworn in at the last City Council meeting. Bormann followed up on her report, and then also on the issue of the city’s Neptune Meter Reading devices, which are used to read the water meters for purposes of billing customers. At this time, only businesses have water meters. Residential customers are charged a set fee of $71 per month.
Income from water bills, over the past 5 months, was a total of $274,887.39. The previous 5 months was $238,733.35. The amount of income has increased because accounts receivables is down, due to collections that were able to be made by the Utility Clerk’s Office.
Bormann said that anyone who is 3 months, or $210 or more delinquent has been getting a shut off notice, and then is asked to work with the city to pay back the owed amounts. “Most people have been really good about that. I would say about 75% pay in full … There are very few that we end up with shut offs. What I find is once the shut off is done, money is found. I don’t think that shut offs are a negative or a bad thing,”. Bormann stated that those accounts on payment plans are checked up on to make sure they are complying with the payment plan.
The other part of the report is regarding the wireless Neptune Meter Reader. The reader is not functioning properly, so all the meters are still being read by hand, by Lanark Maintenance personnel. The software the city uses is old, so the Meter Reader does not work with the software that the city currently uses. The had apparently opted-out of a maintenance contract for the software that would automatically update the software when updates were available. There has not been a software update in over 2 years.
Bormann suggested that, even though the cost is significant, the city should sign a maintenance contract with the Neptune Meter company, as it would give them tech support both in the field and at the billing end. The cost is $1500 yearly. The ClerkBooks Billing Software is not the correct file format to work with the readers, so the ClerkBooks company is working with Ferguson Waterworks to fix this issue.
There will be 4-hour on-site training from Ferguson Waterworks, which has been scheduled by Bormann on Wednesday, November 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., approximately. The cost of the training is $1,000, which includes as many participants as the city would like to have go.
There was talk of raising monthly water bills and putting water meters in residential properties, in order to receive state grant money to improve the infrastructure of the city.
Ms. Bormann stated that there are a number of meters not working, and that they need to be replaced, which is another added continuing expense, as meters age and begin to malfunction. Mark Macomber motioned to purchase the updated software and training from Ferguson Waterworks for a total of $2,489.05. The motion was seconded and passed.
The signature card resolution was updated to reflect the changes to the Clerk and Treasurer positions. The resolution passed unanimously.
The Trick or Treat Ordinance (Ordinance 959) was passed, which makes it so that every year, on October 31st, no matter which day of the week it falls on, is the day of trick or treat. The hours are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The ordinance passed unanimously.
The city will be putting in a sidewalk by the new addition to the Lanark Fire and Ambulance Building. Apparently there are issues with some sewer lines and water lines that need to be moved, due to the construction, but the city has not agreed to pay for the updates.
Standing committees and boards reports: Nothing to report.
The downtown empty lots issue was brought up again, and Alderman Van Matre asked that the council vote again. Van Matre remarked that, “We’re being paid to vote. That’s one of the duties we have as council members. I think we should all weigh-in,” referring to the number of abstentions from voting at the last council meeting. He also mentioned that a new development at the lot would be a major upgrade to the downtown, and that it would also bring in tax dollars via property taxes and would also bring more people to the downtown itself, bringing more tax dollars in from people patronizing other businesses.
Van Matre motioned to vote to accept Lee Reese’s bid. Van Matre, Knutti, and Grim voted yes. Leverton, Macomber and Burkholder all voted no. The bid required more votes to pass, due to the bid coming in 10% below market value, so it did not pass.
No executive session was on the agenda.
There was a water main break on West Locust, on the West side of the street. The council congratulated the maintenance crew for fixing the break quickly and efficiently.
Matt Magill mentioned that Lanark Police will be at the back door of the city building, by the police area on Halloween, giving out candy.
Mayor Viglietta mentioned that there have been a number of unlicensed solicitors in town, lately. Magill said that they are preying on the elderly, and that sometimes seniors are very proud and won’t tell anyone what’s happened. One of the solicitors was found to be a registered sex offender. Magill said, “Legitimate businesses don’t operate like this,”. The council discussed firming up and fixing the existing ordinance to make it harder for people to prey on the elderly. There are FREE “No Soliciting” stickers available at City Hall. If a person has one of these stickers on their door or window near a door, then solicitors breaking the ordinance can be arrested.
The Treasurer reported that overall the city should be operating at 50% of the budget, and most of the budget items are at 50% or well below. Mayor Viglietta said that the city is holding steady at a little over a $1.2 million budget, so it’s in good shape, generally speaking.
Alderman Grim spoke about hydrant flushing schedules after some questions had come up amongst a group of residents. They were mentioning that their water had been “smelly” or “cloudy”.
Matt Magill said that he has just spoken to a salesman about having generators installed at the heritage center and city building. Budgetary numbers will be provided at the next council meeting.
Mayor Viglietta reported that Deb Meiste has resigned from the Chamber of Commerce, as president. Viglietta said that the entire council wishes her well and that she will be missed as a very active member of the Lanark Chamber of Commerce.
Lanark City Council 2018-10-16Posted by RiverReader on Tuesday, October 16, 2018
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