Harrisburg City Council met May 2
Harrisburg City Council met May 2.
Here is the minutes provided by the council:
Mayor John McPeek called the May 02, 2019 meeting to order. Mayor McPeek presided over the meeting with Commissioners Raymond Gunning, Roger Angelly, Rupert Johnson, and Ron Morse present and answering roll call.
Pastor Paul Taylor of the Land Street Church of God led the group in prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioner Raymond Gunning made the motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Seconded by Commissioner Roger Angelly. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Jim Brown with Brown and Roberts discussed the MFT program. Commissioner Johnson met with Eric Boe and Mike Roberts to review the MFT program. Some modifications were made to the MFT program for submittal to Carbondale. A program must be set up before you can expend Motor Fund Tax Funds. The program is then submitted to Carbondale, approval is given and then you can expend the funds after the bidding process. At the end of the year, IDOT audits the MFT account in addition to the City Auditor. Mr. Brown presented the MFT program along with a resolution and an engineering agreement. Those three items need action in order to proceed with the program.
Commissioner Roger Angelly made the motion to approve MFT Resolution 05-0219. Seconded by Commissioner Rupert Johnson. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Commissioner Ron Morse made the motion to enterer into the MFT agreement. Seconded by Commissioner Roger Angelly. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Jim Brown stated this will be sent to Carbondale. You will get an approval sent back. Then we can actually put the plans and specks together, advertise and have it ready. This will be the process from here on out.
Fire Chief John Gunning gave an update on the Malan Junior High situation. We are still in the Brownfield Grant process. It has not been kicked out, so hopefully we will get the grant. There has been a lot of damage done to the building. The Street and Alley Department has gone in and secured the building. Some kids accessed the building and we had meetings with the parents and the juveniles who entered the building. They have been told if caught in the building again, the Police Department will be involved and proceed with charges.
Commissioner Raymond Gunning asked if the City could contact Representative Windhorst and Senator Folwer to help with a grant to help tear the building down. Mayor McPeek said we need to get the Brownfield Grant first and then apply for additional grants. Chief Gunning said once the abatement is done with the asbestos and contaminants in the building, we should be able to apply for a demolition grant with the State which will allow us to take the building down and rehab it into something nice.
Mayor John McPeek discussed the 4th of July fireworks display. In the past former Commissioner Natalie Miller accepted donations and did a fundraiser. It takes anywhere from $14,000 to $15,000 for the display. The City of Harrisburg donates $6,000.00; therefore, the Mayor is taking any suggestions from the citizens on how to raise the necessary money for the 4th of July fireworks. Commissioner Raymond Gunning will meet with the Lion’s Club and Mayor McPeek will ask the American Legion for a donation. City Attorney Robert Wilson suggested that we designated a group to call people to get them to give money as that was done in the past. Attorney Wilson will donate $1,000.00. He said to make a list and make it challenge donation.
Fire Chief Gunning presented a revised bill on a lien at 825 W. Church Street. The state has a guideline in which we are required to comply with per equipment, per man hour, and cost of the dumpster. The Park District is interested in this piece of property and we have a lien against this property. The Park District has purchased his home and has relocated the owner. This lien is attached to the neighboring property that he owns. It is at the Council’s discretion as to how they are going to handle this lien. There is back taxes on this property that the Park District will have to pay if they choose to take this property. Mayor John McPeek asked who would be responsible for the $5,164.31 lien. Fire Chief Gunning said the Park District would help responsible. The property has already been torn down.
Commissioner Raymond Gunning made the motion to waive the man hours and equipment usage and only charge for the dumpster fee of $2,519.70 for 825 W. Church Street. This will help another government entity to develop and expand around the Park District. Commissioner Roger Angelly asked if the Park District wants this property. Fire Chief Gunning said the Park District is interested in the property. He was contacted by the local real estate agency. The Park wanted the City to forgo the whole lien. He informed them it was a Council decision. Commissioner Roger Angelly seconded the motion to waive the manpower and equipment usage but not the dumpster fee at 825 W Church St. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Fire Chief Gunning asked Council to authorize the City Clerk to advertise bids on two homes located at 912 S. Granger and 203 S. Vine Street. These homes were given to the City for demolition. They have been inspected and they are structurally sounds. We have contractors that are adamant about getting these homes, put in bids for rehab and put them back on to the tax roll. Commissioner Roger Angelly made the motion for advertisement of bids for 912 S. Granger Street. Seconded by Commissioner Raymond Gunning. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Commissioner Roger Angelly made the motion for advertisement of bid for 203 S. Vine Street. Seconded by Commissioner Raymond Gunning. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Chief of Police Michael Riden thanked the Council for the opportunity as Chief of Police to serves the citizens. He discussed hiring new police officers. He has a couple of injuries and the retirement of David Morris. There are a couple of individuals on the list who have previous law enforcement experience which will save the City time and money for training. Hiring two new officers will save money in overtime and serve the citizens better. David Cox said this was in the budget. Attorney Robert Wilson asked if the Merit Board list is current. Police Chief Michael Riden said the list was current and does not expire until October 2019. The City would start at the top of the list when offering a job to an eligible candidate. You are required to call the candidates as listed in order, offer them the position, see if they want the job, and if they decline, go to the next eligible candidate. The Merit Board will make the recommendation for the new hire. Commissioner Raymond Gunning made the motion the Merit Board hire two Harrisburg City Police Officers. Seconded by Rupert Johnson. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Police Chief Michael Riden discussed new squad cars. They discussed purchasing and a leasing option. The lease option allows the City to have three new cars upfront while only paying for one car per year during the next three years. We have several cars that are twelve years old. This year we pay for one car, year two pays for another car and year three pays for the last car all at about 4% interest. Mayor John McPeek asked if we will buy the cars locally. Commissioner Raymond Gunning said the purchase would be from Jim Hayes Inc. Commissioner Roger Angelly made the motion to purchase the police cars under the three year lease program. Seconded by Commissioner Raymond Gunning. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Police Chief Michael Riden recommended a promotion of an Officer to a Sergeant. There was a vacancy once Michael Riden was promoted to Chief of Police. There is one officer eligible for the Sergeant’s position and that is Zachary Popetz. Commissioner Raymond Gunning made the motion to request the Merit Board to appoint a Police Sergeant. Seconded by Roger Angelly. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Commissioner Raymond Gunning asked Chief Deputy Jared Campbell from the Sherriff’s Department to discuss the ILEAS program. He is the current team leader and has been in the ILEAS program for eleven years now. In the past, the City has had a couple of officers on the ILEAS team. He has had up to forty officers on his team, but now are down into the twenties.
The benefit is the training the officers receive. The state reimburses or pays for the training. The overtime and salary occurred during the training is reimbursed by the State; therefore, the City is not out any extra money. Any training that requires travel, the hotel expense is paid for and the cost to the City is minimal such as fuel and meal cost. There is given and take in the program, but the benefit is key to ILEAS. The training is brought back to the department to help train the other officers. There was an incident on Homer Street and the ILEAS team came in to assist and there was no cost to the City. The ILEAS team is responsible for equipment and the benefit training and extra equipment is a plus for this program.
Commissioner Raymond Gunning stated due to the shootings and drug use in our town, this would be beneficial to us especially when it cost very little to the City. The ILEAS team covers thirty-four counties. Training is preapproved and a different location is selected for training but they attempt to keep the trainings centrally located within our region except for specific training that is required. Commissioner Raymond Gunning asked if the Chief of Police can mandate how many of our officers participate. Mr. Campbell stated there is a limit the amount of officers per department to four. Commissioner Raymond Gunning stated if there is an incident and we are shorthanded, we do not have to participate in each incident. Mr. Campbell said that is why it is beneficial to have as many participants as possible because not everyone can respond due to supporting their own department needs. There is no penalty for missing a call-out or training. Mayor John McPeek asked how many of our officers are planning to participate. Commissioner Raymond Gunning stated that he will leave that up the Chief of Police Michael Riden. In the past the City had two officers participating in ILEAS; however, we might add another officer. Mayor John McPeek said that the City of Harrisburg is currently a member of the ILEAS program, but we do not have any officers who participate at this time.
Commissioner Raymond Gunning made the motion to allow the police officers to be involved in the ILEAS program. Seconded by Commissioner Roger Angelly. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Commissioner Rupert Johnson discussed the Mill Street Extension. Ben Teston with Pinoy Construction was the low bid for the project. Commissioner Rupert Johnson was going to award him with this contract; however, at this time since he requested the agenda to read amend, we are unable to award him with this project. Mayor McPeek stated that Ben Teston was awarded the bid and voted on by the previous council according to the minutes from the March 21, 2019. Attorney Robert Wilson gave clarification that the current agenda states to amend the previous easement discussions. The original motion by Commissioner Richard Harper was to authorize Attorney Bittle to prepare the paperwork that is necessary for the city to either have control of the ownership or the extension of Mill Street. The motion that was approved was not an award of the bid but it was to approve Attorney Bittle to do the paperwork. Attorney Wilson has not seen the paperwork, but is hopeful it has been done. There is a potential project. Mr. Ben Teston still has the low bid and it has not been rejected by the council. His bid can be accepted, but if you do not accept and award the bid within forty five days, the City is supposed to release his bid bond. That does not mean that he is not still the low bidder, it just means Mr. Teston can make the decision not to accept the award.
Ben Teston stated he want to build the road. Attorney Wilson stated that Mr. Teston will perform in accordance with his low bid. An agenda will need to be posted stating it is not an amendment to the Mill Street extension easement, but state it is award of the Mill Street Contract to the low bidder. This allows the citizens to know when spending City funds.
Commissioner Roger Angelly made the motion to hold a Special Meeting to be held on May 06, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. for the bid award for the Mill Street Extension. Seconded by Mayor John McPeek. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Mayor McPeek stated how important the Mill Street Extension will be in Harrisburg. Anytime you can help a business out that will potentially help bring in new business, we will help out as much as we can. Commissioner Roger Angelly commended Rick Lane on the fantastic job of cleaning up that area and working toward getting new businesses. We are going to use as many local businesses to work and local businesses for materials.
Commissioner Rupert Johnson made the motion to close Vine Street from Poplar Street to Locust Street and close Locust Street from Vine Street to Main Street on May 09th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness. Seconded by Commissioner Raymond Gunning. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.
Danny Gibbs congratulated the new Council and the Mayor on the election. Danny Gibbs addressed Robert Wilson regarding a comment he made toward Mr. Gibbs about a lie. Danny Gibbs asked if Robert Wilson called him a liar and Mr. Wilson confirmed that he did call him a liar. Mr. Gibbs reminded everyone that this is an open meeting and no one should feel intimidated or threatened when attending an open council meeting. Commissioner Roger Angelly asked Danny Gibbs to address this issue with Robert Wilson personally and not during a meeting. This appears to be a personal issue, not a city issue.
Roxanne Keasler approached Council about the current raises given to the employees. She asked where the money would be coming from and will it cause a burden on the city? Commissioner Raymond Gunning stated his budget was set by the prior council and the cars have been budgeted. Commissioner Ron Morse addressed the raises for the employees. Those employees were already almost making $75,000 and it more conducive to the supervisors if they all make the same amount of money. They all do essentially the same amount of work, supervise the employees, and direct responsibilities to get the work done. The total increase for pay raises was $7,800.00.
Roxanne Keasler stated her concerns about replacing two of the individuals at the April 18, 2019 meeting. She felt the way the situation of replacing the two individuals was handled was offensive and the way it was publically done. We need to be more concerned with discrimination as she is an old female. She asked we be more prudent and should not publically embarrass and shame them.
Roxanne Keasler is pleased to see new Police Officers being hired due to the opioid epidemic. She suggest that we put some programs into place for the elderly or for families that are going hungry. She would like see the City be proactive in helping our community.
Sergeant Curt Hustedde announced that the FOP of Harrisburg is the charter organization for the local Boy Scouts. He is proud of “scouting for food” in which the food is donated to local food pantries. They encourage the public, even if you are not a boy scout, to come out and help with the Boy Scouts. He encourages the citizens to get involved in helping the Boy Scouts due to the hunger needs in Harrisburg.
Roxanne Keasler encouraged everyone to the replica of the Vietnam Wall in Marion at the Veterans Administration during the next three days.
Beth Montfort congratulated everyone on Council and Mayor. She said everyone here loves Harrisburg and she asked everyone to work with Council and not against them. Please stop getting on Facebook and name calling. This does not help our community. We must work together. Let’s pull together to help the elderly, children, and the fireworks display to move forward. We need to clean up Harrisburg. It is up to us to take our town back, clean up the streets, help someone in need and we need to take responsibility for helping our town. This election is over and it is time move on and support our leaders. She asked everyone to do something positive for our town. She encouraged everyone to form groups or committees that will help our town. Let’s quit finger point and be positive.
Commissioner Roger Angelly made the motion to adjourn. Seconded by Commissioner Raymond Gunning.. A roll call vote was taken with all present voting yes. Motion carried.