Confusion on village’s finances among discussion in November 28 Witt board meeting

WITT (Heartland Newsfeed) — There was much confusion in regards to the village’s financial shape related to misunderstandings with the treasurer’s report, among other business in the Witt City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 28.

Following revision of the October meeting minutes to reflect votes to approve payment of bills with aldermen Jay Martin and John Bauerle casting yes votes, as well as the vote to waive the $150 water deposit, with Martin and Donna Yeske casting yes votes, the meeting minutes were approved.

Discussion regarding the treasurer’s report was held and the confusion that ensued resulted in a 30 minute discussion on further clarification of the report and will be looking at it in the future to ensure a better financial picture of the city’s spending. The motion to approve the treasurer’s report was approved, with Bauerle casting the sole dissenting vote, citing that the report may have been done incorrectly.¬†Following review of the bills that need to be paid, the council approved payment. Not mentioned was the check received for the municipal utility tax for the billable month of October, payable in November in the amount of $2,681.52.

A police report was submitted before the council via email by police chief Scott Woods, who is currently on medical leave. Fire chief Tom Rogers also delivered his report, comprising of 15 calls – 13 ambulance calls (8 for Witt, 5 for Irving) and two fire calls which took place on October 21 and November 19. Rogers added that they have some sausage left over from the pancake and sausage breakfast, which was a success, and that if anyone is interested in buying some, to contact Darlene Rogers.

In old business:

  • Yeske reported on her meeting with the Witt Fire Department at the last officers meeting. Discussion was held regarding the proposed ordinance changes and there was some disagreement on the changes. The involved parties agreed to disagree and move forward, and Yeske is in the process of getting the ordinance changes submitted to Mayor Greta Akers and city attorney Chris Sherer for updating.
  • The city employee handbook is still a work in progress, according to Martin, and is not ready to be presented at this time.
  • Akers submitted a list of uncollectable water bills, which are being removed from the system and written off as bad debt. Although the bills are being written off, if the current owner of a property wants water service turned back on, they must pay their old water bill. The motion was approved.

In new business:

  • Akers presented the ordinance to approve and join the Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network, which would assist the city should a disaster take place in the community. In a previous meeting, the council had agreed to join for the annual cost of $100. The ordinance was approved.
  • Akers requested for the renewal of dues payable to the Illinois Municipal League in the amount of $150. The motion was approved.
  • Discussion took place regarding the water billing ordinance on whether the current system of billing monthly was saving or costing the city money. Through discussion, the board, with the exception of alderman Tim Taylor, felt that sending out monthly bills, in addition to the labor costs to send out someone to read the meter was costing the city more money in regards to postage. The council, sans Taylor, voted to change the billing cycle back to a bi-monthly basis.
  • Akers presented the revised alcohol sales ordinance, removing the sales restriction of 12 noon, as voted upon in October. The revised ordinance passed.

In other business:

  • Yeske mentioned the thought of hiring another employee to work in the water department and after some discussion, a special public meeting will be held Tuesday, December 5 at 7 p.m. with a committee of Akers, Taylor and alderman Brandon White presiding.
  • Yeske inquired about holding bid openings for work to be done within the city as well for a city auditor and city engineer. Business was tabled for the December meeting.

The council entered into a 40-minute executive session to discuss personnel issues surrounding Fire Chief Tom Rogers. Following discussion and return to regular session, the council voted to approve the pay for the fire chief to $40 a month effective in December. The council also reviewed final documents with Mr. Braash, who will be emailing Akers the dollar costs of each line item so the city can see what they pay for everything.

With no additional business for discussion, the council voted to adjourn at 9:35 p.m. In attendance were mayor Greta Akers, fire chief Tom Rogers and aldermen Tim Taylor, Donna Yeske, John Bauerle, Bob Mehlberg, Brandon White and Jay Martin.

Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. He is general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks and an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group. He also serves as chairman of Tri-Counties Libertarian Party and Capital Area Libertarian Party, deputy candidate recruitment director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and as chairman/co-founder of the Libertarian Party Millennial Caucus.

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