Witt council caps off 2017 with alderman resignation, infrastructure repairs, MFT & water questions

WITT (Heartland Newsfeed) — The Witt City Council caps off 2017 with the resignation of an alderman and an update was made regarding problems with one of their lift stations among other items of business during the council’s meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

The council motioned to adopt an ordinance regarding sexual harassment in government, as passed by the Illinois General Assembly in late November. The motion was presented before the council by alderman Jay Martin and was seconded by Tim Taylor. The motion was unanimously approved.

Mayor Greta Akers inquired with the Illinois Department of Transportation about the city’s motor fuel tax balance, speaking to a couple different individuals, who may not have been helpful due to being relatively new at their positions. They reported that expenditures from 2016 and 2017 were not recorded with IDOT and the state will have to perform an audit, requiring the city’s bank statements from 2009 through the end of 2017. IDOT will contact the city after audit completion.

Stephen Bowers presented an update before the council regarding problems regarding the city’s lift station on Monroe Street. Bowers received a quote from Prairie State Water Systems for roughly $19,000, but stated that city employees could make the repairs at a much lower cost. The flushing of reinforced towels (e.g. Brawny or other industrial-geared paper towels) are continually creating problems by getting caught in the lift stations and the city cannot stress enough discouraging flushing these types of items. A motion to complete repairs, not to exceed $6,000, was made by Martin, seconded by Brandon White and approved by the council. The repair cost will take into consideration of outside contract labor and materials.

The shortage of rainfall in the area has resulted in the water table being low, resulting in less water available in the wells. Ideas were presented as to how to conserve water. Two options presented included cutting out the water salesman and/or scaling back the water volume sold to Montgomery County Rural Water (MCRW). After much discussion, the council motioned to scale back the volume sold to MCRW.

In other business:

  • Alderman Donna Yeske spoke before the council regarding getting bids for all outside labor for the city.
  • Union Pacific Railroad will be installing new gates for both railroad crossings in April.
  • The council was cautioned about the bridge on North and Illinois streets needing repair. The road has been washed out, leaving some major holes and requiring the replacement of the culvert. Until it can be worked on, the road has been barricaded in the interim.
  • Shawn Cady’s resignation as a city employee, which was effective November 7, was formally approved by the council.
  • Alderman Tim Taylor submitted his resignation from the city council effective the end of the meeting, with the council approving the resignation.
  • The council meeting schedule will remain the same for 2018.
  • A 19-minute executive session took place regarding the advertised city position. With limited participation and application submissions, the city has extended the amount of time allotted to accept and review applications.
  • The meeting minutes and treasurer’s report from November were approved.
  • A motion was approved to pay the city’s bills for December.
  • Two items of business previously discussed at the November meeting, the fire department ordinance and the employee handbook, both slated on the agenda for this meeting, were tabled until the January meeting.

After a 2 hour, 25 minute meeting, the council adjourned at 9:25 p.m. Present at the meeting were Mayor Greta Akers and aldermen Brandon White, Jay Martin, John Bauerle, Robert Mehlberg and Tim Taylor, with Donna Yeske arriving later in the meeting.

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.