SE Illinois News

SE Illinois News

Thursday, November 21, 2019

City of Mount Carmel City Council met October 7

By Kristine Gonzales-Abella | Nov 4, 2019

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City of Mount Carmel City Council met Oct. 7.

Here is the agenda provided by the council:

Invocation was given by Reverend Tony Hodgson.

Mayor Judge brought the city council meeting to order.

Present on Roll Call: Mayor Joe Judge Commissioners - Tom Meeks, Eric Ikemire, Justin Dulgar, Rod Rodriguez

Also, Present: City Administrative Assistant Rudy Witsman, City Attorney Kelli Storckman

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Mayor Judge requested a motion to approve the minutes of the last council meeting.

Commissioner Dulgar motioned and Commissioner Meeks seconded to approve the minutes of the meeting held on September 23rd, 2019. All present voted Aye by Voice Vote.

MAYOR’S COMMENTS

Mayor Judge acknowledged Rod Andrews and Dr. David Miller, who were in attendance seeking council approval for the construction of Pickle Ball Courts at the city park. Dr. Miller stated Pickle Ball is a growing sport in the city as well as the whole United States and has been actively played in the city for the last four to five years. Dr. Miller added that several surrounding communities are also actively playing Pickle Ball and the local group of players would like to have a place for Pickle Ball Tournaments. Dr. Miller affirmed the construction costs of the courts will be of no added expense to the city. After a brief discussion and the addressing of a few concerns, the council voted to allow the construction of the courts at the city park.

Mayor Judge acknowledged Wabash County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lesley Hipsher, who was seeking council approval for street closures for the Chamber’s Spooktacular Event on Saturday, October 26th. Ms. Hipsher asked for the closure of the one hundred-block of West Sixth through the intersection of Market Street to the parking lot entrance of First Bank on East Sixth Street to allow for the parade, which will be held during the event beginning at 12:00 pm. Ms. Hipsher was also seeking council approval for street closures for the 5K Event, which begins at 2:00 pm that day and presented maps to the council of the race route. Mayor Judge acknowledged Police Chief Ryan Turner, who confirmed the race route with Ms. Hipsher.

Mayor Judge acknowledged Gerrod Birkla, who was attendance to voice his opinion regarding the recreational cannabis law and presented some statistics from the Illinois Family Institute. Mr. Birkla expressed his beliefs to the council and asked them to please not approve the recreational cannabis law within the City of Mount Carmel. Mayor Judge and the council thanked Mr. Birkla for attending the meeting and expressing his opinion.

Mayor Judge welcomed everyone to the new city hall and stated the legal closing on the building was Wednesday, October 2nd. Mayor Judge announced the city will be teaming up with ADG Architectural and Design for the expansion of this facility. Mayor Judge stated the expansion to this facility will be fourteen hundred square feet and the renderings are on display here tonight in the lobby of city hall.

Mayor Judge congratulated all the junior high along with the high school bands and sports teams on their accomplishments so far this year. Mayor Judge stated this year has been very successful with all the teams and expressed community pride for the accomplishments.

Mayor Judge reported an agreement has been made with the Elks Club as the club announced they will not be returning to the basement of the former city hall building at 219 N. Market Street. Mayor Judge stated the agreement between the Elks Club and the City of Mount Carmel was originated in 1979, which stated the city would purchase the building for $200,000.00 upon moving into that facility. Mayor Judge further stated it was agreed the city would pay $150,000.00 up front for the building and in the event the Elks moved from the basement of the facility the city would then pay the additional $50,000.00. Mayor Judge reported the city will now fulfill the agreement with the Elks Club and will own all the three floors of the building within the few coming weeks.

Mayor Judge welcomed Sheldon’s Express Pharmacy and Ace Hardware to the City of Mount Carmel with both businesses being located within the Buehlers Buy-Low Grocery Store at 1325 West Ninth Street. Mayor Judge stated a ribbon cutting was held on Friday, October 5th and stated both facilities are nice additions to the city.

Mayor Judge also welcomed The Roads Church to the City of Mount Carmel and stated a ribbon cutting was held yesterday, October 6th. Mayor Judge reported The Roads Church is located on Outer West Third Street near the Tastee Freeze in the former South School Building and an open house with tours on will be held on Sunday, October 13th beginning at 4:30 pm.

Mayor Judge thanked Dave and Laura Wilderman for the clean-up work at the corner of West Fourth and Market Streets. Mayor Judge stated the lot is a barren area now but in the near future it can hopefully be an improvement to the Merchant’s Park. Mayor Judge reported he has had several questions about the mural that was on the wall of the recently demolished buildings and emphasized it was not structurally safe to leave that wall “free standing”. Mayor Judge stated the city is working on a few options regarding the possible re-creation of the demolished mural as well as other new murals along Market Street and there will be more to come in the near future regarding the murals.

COMMISSIONER REPORTS:

COMMISSIONER TOM MEEKS – STREETS, CEMETERIES AND PARKS

Commissioner Meeks reported in the last two weeks the street department continued to mow parks and city properties; performed yard abatements; patched potholes in streets and alleyways; replaced the steering column on the John Deere Loader; worked on a drainage/storm sewer issue near the golf course entrance off of Park Road; “milled off” Oak Street to alleviate some of the bumps in the street as well as filling in some of the street seams; and painted the crosswalks near the schools.

COMMISSIONER ERIC IKEMIRE – FINANCE AND SENIOR CITIZENS

Statement of Receipts and Expenditures – See attached agenda with financials.

Commissioner Ikemire reported the general fund is sitting at approximately $1.4 million and most of the receipts were insurance proceeds for the old city hall. 

Commissioner Ikemire stated the Capital Improvement Fund has over $80,000.00 and the Motor Fuel Tax Fund has $514,600.00.

COMMISSIONER JUSTIN DULGAR – WATER AND SEWER

Commissioner Dulgar reported at this time there is nothing new to report regarding the water treatment plant engineering study, as the council is still reviewing the information. 

Commissioner Dulgar stated he will present the possibility of moving forward with a new water treatment plant to the council in the coming months.

Commissioner Dulgar congratulated Water Treatment Plant Lead Operator Keith Reed and his wife Gloria on the birth of their son.

Commissioner Dulgar reported the upgrades at the wastewater plant are moving along and the digestor upgrade has started.

Commissioner Dulgar stated in the last two weeks the water maintenance has been performing its standard routine maintenance.

COMMISSIONER ROD RODRIGUEZ – FIRE, HEALTH & SAFETY, GARBAGE, CITY HALL AND CIVIL DEFENSE

Commissioner Rodriguez asked for prayers for Fireman Terry McGuire and his family as he was transferred today from Wabash General Hospital to Deaconess Gateway Hospital in Evansville.

Commissioner Rodriguez reported in the last two weeks the fire department had sixteen runs; raised the flags for Former Mayor George Woodcock’s funeral procession; “burn out” training was held at Southgate; and the Browns Fire Department will host a “propane burn out” training session on October 15th. Commissioner Rodriguez stated the next fire department meeting will be held on Monday, October 14th at 6:00 pm.

Commissioner Rodriguez stated the Wicked Wheels Car Show at Wabash Valley College was an excellent event. Commissioner Rodriguez thanked the fire department, the police department, along with K-9 Roy and K-9 Ace on helping make the event a success.

Commissioner Rodriguez stated in the past nine years, he has been honored to serve as commissioner on the city council, however due to an unforeseen change in his life; he must resign his position on the council effective December 30th, 2019. Commissioner Rodriguez expressed his gratitude to the community and for the many years of support. Mayor Judge along with the council thanked Commissioner Rodriguez for his service to the City of Mount Carmel. Mayor Judge stated any resident that is interested in filling in as commissioner until November 2020 should send a letter of interest addressed to City Hall, 631 N. Market Street to the” Attention of the Mayor” by November 1st. City Administrative Assistant Witsman commended Commissioner Rodriguez on his years of service to the city as well as the community and stated the city has greatly benefitted from his service. City Administrative Assistant Witsman reported he will have to confirm with Wabash County Clerk Janet Will, in regards to the commissioner vacancy being place on the April 2021 election ballot.

CITY ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT – RUDY WITSMAN

City Administrative Assistant Witsman reminded applications for the full-time fireman position will be accepted at city hall thru October 11, 2019.

City Administrative Assistant Witsman reported applications are also being accepting for Bob Mayhue’s position as he will be retiring at the end of the year.

City Administrative Assistant Witsman stated the time has come for the City of Mount Carmel to decide rather to “opt in” or “opt out” of the State of Illinois’ Recreational Cannabis law, which goes into effect January 1, 2020. City Administrative Assistant Witsman reported the State of Illinois is requesting that each municipality and/or county decide whether or not to allow the sale of recreational cannabis; therefore, the City of Mount Carmel must decide if it wishes to allow the selling of cannabis within the city’s corporate limits. City Administrative Assistant Witsman stated the council needs to make a decision of “opting in” or “opting out” to allow for the preparation of the proper ordinance. City Administrative Assistant Witsman acknowledged Mayor Judge, who stated if the city “opts out” the State of Illinois will not give any of the proceeds to the city for any of the sales of recreational marijuana within the state, however if the city “opts in” it will receive 1.75 % of the revenues and the police department will receive 8.00 % of the revenues, which can be used for the required cannabis training, even if the city is not awarded an store or a grow facility. After council discussion of the pros and cons of the cannabis law along with input from Police Chief Turner, the motion was made to “opt in” and was presented for roll call vote by City Administrative Assistant Witsman to the council.

City Administrative Assistant Witsman presented to the council for consideration the possible purchase of a leaf vac machine. City Administrative Assistant Witsman acknowledged Mayor Judge, who stated the city has been looking for a leaf vac system for months and the city has located two machines that are now available for purchase. The council voted to allow City Administrative Assistant Witsman to negotiate the purchase of one of the machines.

City Administrative Assistant Witsman presented to the council, for approval, the intergovernmental agreement with Wabash County, the 911 Board and the City of Mount Carmel for the continued dispatch service.

City Administrative Assistant Witsman reiterated the council will need to approve the final payment of $50,000.00 to the Elks Club, as was reported by Mayor Judge at the beginning of the meeting. City Administrative Assistant Witsman stated this payment to the Elks was contractually agreed to several years ago and further stated making the payment is the proper thing to do for all involved in the former city hall situation. City Administrative Assistant Witsman reported the city will pay the Elks $25,000.00 this budget year and will pay the additional $25,000.00 the next budget year, which begins May 1st, 2020.

CITY ATTORNEY – KELLI STORCKMAN

City Attorney Storckman no report.

CITY INSPECTOR – MIKE GIDCUMB

City Inspector Gidcumb absent.

STREET DEPARTMENT SUPERINTENDENT – DAVE EASTER

Street Department Superintendent Dave Easter no report.

POLICE CHIEF – RYAN TURNER

Police Chief Turner stated, once the police department receives the golf cart permit stickers, a schedule of inspection times and dates will be set up with the inspections being held at the golf course as well as other locations in the city. Police Chief Turner emphasized that the golf cart/UTV inspections are not being done at this time.

FIRE CHIEF – FRANCES SPETH

Fire Chief Speth absent.

BUSINESS MOTIONS

Commissioner Ikemire motioned and Commissioner Rodriguez seconded to approve the construction of Pickle Ball Courts in the city park. Construction of courts to be financed by private funds. All present voted Aye by voice vote.

Commissioner Dulgar motioned and Commissioner Ikemire seconded to allow the City of Mount Carmel to participate with the State of Illinois in the legal sale, cultivation, processing, transporting and craft growing of recreational cannabis. Approved by roll call vote: Aye – Commissioner Ikemire, Commissioner Dulgar, and Mayor Judge. Nay – Commissioner Rodriguez and Commissioner Meeks.

Commissioner Meeks motioned and Commissioner Rodriguez seconded to approve the city clerk to negotiate the purchase of a leaf vac machine. All present voted Aye by voice vote.

Commissioner Meeks motioned and Commissioner Ikemire seconded to approve the intergovernmental agreement with Wabash County, 911 Board and the City of Mount Carmel for dispatch services. All present voted Aye by voice vote.

Commissioner Dulgar motioned and Commissioner Ikemire seconded to approve the final payment of $50,000.00 to the Elks, per the original agreement for the city to purchase the building from the Elks. Payment to be made in 2 installments of $25,000.00 each (one this fiscal year and one next fiscal year). All present voted Aye by voice vote.

Commissioner Ikemire motioned and Commissioner Meeks seconded to pay all bills bearing the proper signatures. All present voted Aye by voice vote.

Meeting adjourned at 6:02 p.m.

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City of Mount Carmel City Council