City flooded with water expenses

City flooded with water expenses

By CHRIS BEST

Enquirer Democrat contributor

An ordinance financing $2.5 million in engineering and legal fees for a water line interconnect to Jersey County Rural Water was approved during Carlinville’s City Council Oct. 21 meeting. The ordinance passed 6-0; two aldermen, Doug Downey and Sarah Oswald, were absent.

The interconnect with JCRW is necessary if the city should require an emergency backup water source. It is also the first step connecting into the planned Illinois Alluvial Regional Water project.

The $2.5 million necessary to finance the project will come from a revolving credit promissory note with CoBank. Of the $2.5 million approved, only $1.3 million will be for 2019, with the remainder to be spent in 2020. The city’s final payment to CoBank, as described in the ordinance, is due by Oct. 25, 2021.

A resolution was approved alongside the ordinance to authorize the opening of a CoBank Water Account at UCB.

In other water related action, the council approved a motion allowing bids to be accepted for a new 100-horsepower water pump for the water plant. The city already has one functioning 100-horsepower pump to push water from the water plant to the city. There are three backup pumps (two are 60-horsepower and one is 40-horsepower), but two are broken and one is too calcified to reasonably be used. If the one functioning pump were to encounter any issues, the city would have no means by which to pump water to the city.

The main pump is not experiencing any issues, and it is not considered an emergency situation. Though a new pump was not originally budgeted for, funds from the city’s operations and maintenance account could be used for a potential replacement backup.

A screw pump for the sewer plant is in need of approximately $20,000 in repairs according Woodard & Curran Project Manager Dan Held. If a heavy enough rain occurs before the repairs are made, the pump will not be able to pump out water fast enough, and an overflow will occur.

At the next meeting, a new water policy will be given a first read. The proposed policy is intended to address delinquency of water bill payments. If adopted, the new policy would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

An ordinance establishing an enterprise zone within Macoupin County and the cities of Carlinville, Gillespie, Bunker Hill and Staunton was given a first read. The proposed ordinance also authorizes Carlinville to enter into an intergovernmental cooperation agreement with the other entities. The purpose of the Macoupin County Enterprise Zone is to provide tax incentives  for new and growing businesses in Macoupin County in order to provide jobs and help booster the areas depressed economy. 

The Council also approved amendments to the enterprise zone and intergovernmental agreement. The amendment added the future site of Gillespie’s new Public Housing Authority building.

The construction will create several new jobs and help to maintain the 15 existing housing authority jobs, according to the amendment.

Bee City USA

Carlinville Mayor Deanna Demuzio and Alderman Bill Link discussed Carlinville’s involvement with Bee City. On Oct. 8 Carlinville became the first Bee City in Illinois, and one of 97 Bee Cities in the country.

The Bee City project was created to encourage bees and other pollinators to flourish, an especially relevant concern in recent years due to a rapidly declining bee populations.

In Carlinville, Link and Mary Tinder championed the Bee City project, which included planting numerous pollinator-friendly gardens in locations across across the city. Link credits his late wife Elaine Link, formerly a science teacher at Carlinville High School, for sparking his interest in preserving bees and pollinators.

Carlinville has a long established history with bees as the site of an early significant 1890 bee study conducted by Charles Robertson. There are also numerous beekeepers in and around the city. In addition, Blackburn College maintains 17 bee hives across Macoupin County. The college also has plans to establish a new pollinator garden next to its solar arrays in the near future. 

Salary ordinance details

An updated salary ordinance was approved. The update deleted a number of redundant salaries. Those deleted are as follows: temporary city and public works help; director of public works; fire secretary and treasurer; fire chief; fire inspector; firemen per call (no hookup, with hookup, more than four hours); and custodian of fire hall.

Updated existing salaries are as follows: Alderman’s salary is $275 per month, with a $60 per month allowance; the mayor’s salary is $250 per week, with a $100 per month allowance; the city clerk’s salary is $46,600 per year; the treasurer’s salary is $200 per week, with $50 per month for expenses; the budget officer’s salary is $15,000 per year; the city attorney earns a $180 per month retainer, plus $125 per hour; the zoning administrator earns $14 per hour; the chief of police’s salary is $63,000 per year;

Part-time police officers without certification earn $17 per hour; part-time officers with certification earn $18 per hour; part-time dispatchers with less than one year of employment earn $14 per hour;  part-time dispatchers with more than one year of employment earn $15 per hour; the information technology coordinator’s salary is $200 per month; the Carlinville Emergency Management Agency coordinator’s salary is $150 per month; the lake manager’s salary is $23,600 per year; the city’s lake co-host earns $13 per hour; the deputy city clerk earns $16.09 per hour.

Next meeting

The City Council next meets Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 at 7 p.m.