Thursday, February 23, 2017 - Updated: 10:01 AMPayment of bills and updates on the new city hall project started off the Feb. 14 Brookport City Council meeting.
The usual items of business went quickly, approving payment of bills totaling $46,214.46 which included an audit payment of $11,000 and some bills that come annually, such as insurance. The council also approved to draw $19,875 out of the grant for the remodeling of the new city hall. So far $95,000 has been spent in purchasing the building and refurbishing in stages.
It is expected that the clerk’s office will be open by Monday, March 13th with city hall being closed from March 6 through 10 as equipment and records are moved to the new location.
Brookport Mayor John Klaffer said that thousands of dollars were saved by the work Melinda Klaffer and Linda Souders did in taking out old carpet and debris plus painting
The fire department received a grant for supplies, and the city approved purchases in the amount of $1096, which will be reimbursed when receipts are sent in to the grant agency.
Derek Stamme and Madelynne Medley’s applications to join the volunteer fire department were discussed and approved after Fire Chief Bill Copley’s presentation.
In the Mayor’s Report, Klaffer acknowledged the fire department’s report on the fire hydrants in town. Of the 61 hydrants, 11 were deemed faulty and unable to function properly after a check was done in late January and early February.
These hydrants are marked with black tops to ensure time is not wasted in case of a fire. In most cases, rods were broken, bolts were stripped or valves were busted.
Rural Development will be making their three-year inspection soon regarding the water grant to go over the books regarding proper recordkeeping and whether the rates are adequate. Klaffer feels there should be no problem with this.
Grants are being pursued to update the lagoon aeration system. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity only had funding on “emergency basis.” The city has been building funds for the matching portion of any grants.
The Department of Natural Resources is also being looked at for an infrastructure grant to address the lining of the drainage pipes. Ray Johnson from Harrisburg has offered to help and seems to be knowledgeable about contacts and best practices.
The mayor was proud to report the flap gate worked “just fine” during the high waters; closing when the river was up and opening when the water was going down. No pumping was necessary.
Two of the four police cars have been painted by Wes Sherrod’s Collision Service. The third car is in Harrisburg now. Klaffer is pleased with the work done, even down to the body work.
Sherrod has reached out to many small cities in southern Illinois offering to uniformly paint their police cars at no cost. His objective was to give back to communities with limited budgets and support the police forces in these trying times.
Council members then spoke their concerns.
Debbie Workman, Ward 2, asked about the little building moved in on East Second Street. A building permit was issued, and the owners are in the process of getting the elevation certificate. It will be a dwelling when it is finished. She was concerned all ordinances were being addressed.
Linda Souders, Ward 3, would like to see the street sweeper attachments used on the main streets; not only to clean the gutters but to gather the loose rock to use as fill elsewhere.
Souders feels the ditches on Pell Road also need to be cleared of saplings and weeds. It is an eyesore and may cause drainage problems.
Speeding on Crockett Street is bringing many complaints. Kathy Tucker, Ward 1, said she has seen the police car there and thinks warnings have been given.
Tucker also proposed a dog park be established possibly by the boat ramp. It is partially fenced. Benches and a pavilion could be built. The city already mows the area and would have to do so more frequently.
The mayor also noted the increased traffic on Crockett Street due to the youth league now making use of the gym. Parking is a problem at times especially on Saturday game days.
Klaffer had been asked about dumping a load of rock in front of the playground area, but he hesitated to give permission for several reasons. He cited drainage issues would have to be evaluated. Talk of angled parking would interfere with road safety.
There is also a Safe Route to School grant to which the city has applied and covers that same area to have new sidewalks.
School permission would be needed and then motor fuel money may be needed to do upkeep. It wasn’t just a simple case of dumping a load of rock.
The public each got their five minutes starting with Judy Fitch commenting on how good the newly painted police cars looked.
Fitch also mentioned this was the year of the Brookport All Class Reunion and would like to know the city’s plans.
Klaffer said the parade usually takes place on Saturday morning, and the fireworks can be held Sunday evening since the reunion dinner is usually held on Saturday evening.
Nick Myrick said the police department was planning the second annual Mud Bog Contest to be held the first week of October. Learning from last year’s event, some activities in the park will not be held, and the contests will start at noon. He said they may also have a second day for trucks, but plans are underway with modifications from last year.
Bill Copley mentioned that two brindle colored pit bulls from Ninth Street had killed his dog and mauled his cat. He was informed by Myrick that if the dogs draw blood, they are deemed vicious animals, and homeowners may take action if these animals come on the property. Copley said the 90-pound animals could easily overcome a child.
Alison Boyt was also concerned about the parking situation by the school but her concern was more about safety for the kids. She researched parking laws and, according to the rules, parking is not allowed within 30 feet of a stop sign or 20 feet of a crosswalk. Cars also cannot park on a sidewalk, in an intersection or by the crosswalk. This would give a clear line of view of children crossing the street and could be enforced.