WITT (Heartland Newsfeed) — Discussion which carried over from the March 20 special meeting regarding outside labor, water department updates and the employee handbook were among items of business during the Witt City Council’s regular session on Tuesday, March 27.

Gary Yeske addressed the council during public comments regarding a house on First St. that suffered a leak underneath the house and requested a temporary shutoff of the sewer output in addition to replacing the water line. He stated that the issue must either be the water line or a bad meter.

Mayor Greta Akers addressed the issue, citing set precedents do not allow for forgiveness of bills because it is difficult to determine the difference between how much water was leaked and how much water went into the sewer system. A payment plan would need to be reached with the city. The city approved Yeske’s proposal with a licensed plumber to finish the connection.

Alderman Jay Martin, who is also a representative of Envision Witt and Akers awarded Speedboy Hometown Spirit Awards to Peyton Tester, Morgan Arkebauer and Brea Cox. Tester and Arkebauer are seniors at Hillsboro High School and Cox is a senior at Nokomis High School. All three students were participants in the Montgomery County CEO program.

Chris Ettling spoke in response to the special meeting which took place one week prior about contract labor, where Hillsboro has a list of contractors and vendors to call. He had spoken to Hillsboro mayor Brian Sullivan and he had stated that they do not have such a list. Ettling said what the city has is a “contact list” for all contractors in the City of Hillsboro – with no companies outside of town – which can be contacted if work needs to be done. If there is a specific project that is going to be more than $20,000, then all contractors within a specific specialty must submit bids. But outside of they, they go from this list and alternate between these contractors on a rotation basis, using heating and air conditioning contractors for an example. They do not go after contractors outside of the community unless a needed service is not in Hillsboro.

Akers responded that the city does have a list, in which Ettling responded was only for an instance involving the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and/or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In old business, Martin put in a motion to move the employee handbook business to executive session, citing that it is ready to go and be printed out.

Martin presented an update regarding the special session of the Finance Committee regarding accepting inquiries from area businesses for services needed to be included on their list. Existing vendors will still be included in this updated list.

Ettling mentioned his current and past work with other municipal governments and mentioned an audit of one of these communities’ financials, which requires contractors to receive a 1099-MISC form when more than $600 is earned – Ettling incorrectly stated $500 – with a “threshold cap” in some instances at $8,000.

An update was made regarding repairs and other details done with the lift station on Monroe St., which is now operational. The council thanked Stephen Bowers for the work done on the project.

In new business, a motion to renew and reduce their line of credit with Security National Bank. Their line of credit is $40,000 with $20,000, but it was recommended that they lower their credit line to $25,000. The motion was approved.

City clerk Angel Lynch presented two proposals for their upcoming annual financial audit. Hillsboro-based Patton & Company submitted a proposal for $6,600 and Litchfield-based Kerber, Eck & Braeckel (KEB) for $6,500 for 2018, $6,750 for 2019 and $7,000 for 2020. Discussion took place on the proposals presented. Alderman Robert Mehlberg made a conditional motion to stick with Patton for the audit of the fiscal year ending April 15 under the condition that they be more prepared for next year to potentially allow for fresher eyes like KEB to handle further audits, but through an actual bid process since everything was simply done via email correspondence. That motion was approved.

The city will be holding a spring cleanup on Thursday and Friday, April 12 and 13 at times and location to be determined. Two dumpsters will be purchased from Tri-R Disposal in Nokomis.

Tree removal bids for a tree were tabled to the May meeting due to some confusion regarding the bids.

A concern from a citizen regarding excessive trash that ticks him off. City ordinance tickets will be issued, but as mentioned by the council, those can only go so far before taking the costly legal process.

Martin mentioned that he was resigning effective the end of the meeting due to being appointed as county treasurer following the death of long-time county treasurer Ron Jenkins, to fill the remainder of the term ending in December. Martin submitted his resignation in writing and the council reluctantly approved his resignation. Martin did press that the he wanted to see the completion of the employee handbook.

In other business:

  • Minutes from the February 27 meeting were approved.
  • The treasurer’s report and bills were approved.
  • Police and fire reports were approved as submitted. Eight total calls were received: two fire calls on February 26 at 5:59 PM in Irving and on March 14, an assistance call with Nokomis Fire Department near the Nokomis Quarry, two EMS calls and four other calls.

The council entered executive session at 8:10 p.m. and would remain in session before closing and subsequent adjournment at 8:31 p.m. A meeting of the Cemetery Committee will convene at a date to be determined to discuss an issue regarding a culvert at the cemetery, with the council of the whole reconvening Tuesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. In attendance, in addition to visitors, were Mayor Greta Akers, City Clerk Angel Lynch and aldermen Donna Yeske, Brandon White, Kenny Vallelonga, John Bauerle, Robert Mehlberg and Jay Martin.

Listen to “Witt City Council – 03/27/2018 Regular Session” on Spreaker.

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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.