Carlinville council still considering all water options
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- Public informational meeting on regional water concept April 26
By Eric Becker
A motion that would have not allowed the city to pursue a water regional commission concept until after being placed as a referendum on the ballot was denied by the Carlinville City Council on Monday night.
Councilman Beth Toon presented the proposal to the council for discussion, stating that she thought that the voters should have a say in what the city should do, before making any decision.
“My motion is before we commit to a regional water commission, we put it before the voters on a referendum,” Toon said.
The main issue is that it will be two years before it can be placed on the ballot as a referendum.
The city is exploring water options because of issues with Carlinville Lake, the current source of tap water.
There are different options, including looking at buying water from Litchfield until the Carlinville Lake could be fixed. That would be a temporary situation.
The regional water concept would include several entities joining together and be the driving force for the formation of the water commission.
Toon spoke that voters need to be informed and get a chance to express their opinions.
Mayor Deanna Demuzio said a public information meeting will take place at city hall on April 26 at 6 p.m. Everybody is welcome to attend and gather information.
City treasurer Jody Reichmann said that the council should be the group determining how the town should move forward in their water supply.
“This is why you’re elected – this is your decision to make and to go to all the meetings,” Reichmann said. “We can’t wait two years – we can’t wait for another referendum. This decision has to be made. I feel that this is totally a council decision. You’re here to make the tough decisions.”
Demuzio said that other communities are also waiting on Carlinville to make a decision as to what is going to happen about a possible water commission forming.
“When we delay this, we’re not only delaying this for Carlinville, we’re delaying it for another number of people that are paying some very high rates for water, right now. Waiting two years, or seven or eight months, is asking a lot for Carlinville and these other people. I don’t see how we can delay this.”
Brian Mitchell, a member of the city’s Water AdHoc Committee, stressed that specific costs involved cannot be determined until the okay is given to proceed with a water commission.
“This is not a simple question of do we get water from our lakes or from somewhere else,” Mitchell said. “This situation is much, much more complicated. From the turnout we’ve had so far, most people don’t have the slightest concept as far as the two options we’re looking at.
“Right now, I’m not looking at a vote to join this commission. I’m asking for a vote to be willing to move forward to get this commission off the ground so we can get more specific information of this co-op. We’d be partnering with an organization that’s providing water.”
Public works director Tim Hasara said that being part of a regional group is not the same as the water commission.
“The cost is passed on to each individual community,” Hasara said. “The water commission is the one that will incur the debt. Not the city of Carlinville. Not Jerseyville. It’s the entity, once it’s formed. There will be no $3 million debt for Carlinville for this. There’s a lot of misconceptions out there, and about one-tenth of the people understand it.”
“This is too much for the people to understand,” Reichmann said. “This is why you’re here. The town doesn’t want to make the decision. They aren’t going to take the time to understand.”
The vote on the motion to not proceed on a water commission until it had been placed on a referendum was denied by a 5-4 count, with Demuzio casting the tie-breaking vote.
City attorney Rick Bertinetti along with city clerk Carla Brockmeyer has reported the city has had six FOIA requests from various sources since last Friday.
One of the FOIA request was for a copy of all the water bills of the elected officials for 2016. It was unsure why this was requested.
Other requests include TIF information and revolving loans (of which the city does not have any currently).
Bertinetti called the situation “ridiculous.”
“The stuff that’s there, it’s clean, it’s all there. I don’t know what they’re looking for,” Bertinetti said. “You talk about spending money – we’re going to be spending money. We have six pending (FOIAs).”
The city has been trying to fulfill FOIAs in a reasonable time, adding that Edgar County Watchdog Group’s John Kraft request had been mailed on April 7, although it had not yet been received.
“It has been sent out,” Demuzio said.
But the money spent on these FOIAs is a concern to Bertinetti.
“Somebody is trying to harass the heck out of Carlinville,” Bertinetti said.
The council approved a motion to pass the budget ordinance commencing May 1 and ending April 30, 2018.
A motion was made to pay for the hydrant replacements in town at a cost of $96,000 total. That included the repair and inserting of new valves. Funds for this project will come through the Capital Expenditures.
Three bids for sidewalk repairs were opened by Demuzio at the meeting. Quarton Construction in Carlinville, WWCS in Cottage Hills and Stutz Excavating in Alton all made bids. A motion passed to have them forwarded to Hasara for review.
A motion passed for amending the Carlinville Station IGA amendment, due to an increase in projected costs. The city share will not increase.
The extension deadline will also increased 62 days from June 1 to August 31. Motion passed 7-1.
Bob Caveny made a presentation on the city’s Best Management Practice proposals being built on city’s property.
Caveny is asking to collect bids for the proposals. Motion passed.
Steve Parr presented his zoning advisory report, one of which will re-plat Lots 3 and 4, Block 13, Edwards McAfee, Smith and McAfee’s Addition and of lots 1, 2,3,4,5,6,11,12 and 13 Block 1 B.T. Burks Addition all in Carlinville.
With Boente’s new addition of the office and soon-to-be convenience store, the area will be re-plated into three lots, instead of 11 different plats in two subdivisions.
A motion by the council also approved the planning/zoning commission’s recommendation of placing a plaque honoring Jim Fenton’s years of service to the city on either a table or bench on the city square.
Hasara reported that Contractor Procurement for the Carlinville Lake I intake rehab can be done without the bid process. There has been six bids received from centralized locations who can do the job. He said going through the bid process would not be necessary. A motion passed to go ahead with the process.
Doug Downey reported that electrical upgrades at the Carlinville Lake campground area need to be completed, and asked for $15,000 to be spent on starting the upgrades. It will come out of the next year’s budget. Motion passed 8-0.
Placed on file were the following correspondence:
The Municipal Band schedule for 2017, which will begin its season with a rehearsal on May 15.
Performances are scheduled for May 29 at the American Legion; Flag Day Concert on June 1 at the city square; Independence concert June 30 at the square; a concert on July 7 at the square; July 21 at the square and the Rotary Concert July 28 at the square.
Arbor Day proclamation was placed on file. On April 28, a white oak tree will be planted at Carlinville High School around 1 p.m. in honor of Arbor Day.
Curfew extension for May 6-7 was placed on file. It is After Prom at Carlinville High School Curfew hours have been extended from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Snap Fitness 5-K race will take place June 24 at 8 a.m. at the Carlinville Area Hospital parking lot, where it will start and finish. Proceeds go to the Carlinville Food Pantry.