Council approves resolution for new train station
CARLINVILLE (Nov. 9, 2017) – The City of Carlinville moved closer to opening its new Amtrak station by approving a resolution on the Amtrak lease at Monday’s city council meeting.
The building has been ready for use for some time but has been delayed in part by language on the liability part of the lease.
All the language appears to be hammered out, and will be signed and sent to Amtrak for their approval.
Once Amtrak signs the resolution, the new station can be opened and a dedication ceremony can take place.
The council also updated the public on a recent Illinois Attorney General decision that the city violated the Open Meetings Act by having a quorum of members participating a regional water commission meeting in Jerseyville in September.
Councilmen Cindy Campbell and Beth Toon, and Mayor Deanna Demuzio all attended the meeting and participated about city business without providing advance notice or otherwise adhering to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act, according to the attorney general’s office review letter.
The city responded that Campbell represented the city for the meeting. Toon also attended and did offer comments according to the letter. Demuzio was present but did not speak or participate in the meeting.
However, the attorney general’s office determined that Mayor Demuzio and two other council members participated in the regional water commission’s deliberations.
Treasurer Jodi Reichmann questioned why Toon attended and participated in the event. With Campbell as the city’s designated representer and Demuzio as the city mayor, Reichmann did not know why Toon participated in the event. Toon was not present at Monday’s meeting to offer an explanation.
“This is our water situation, this is a big deal,” Reichmann said. “Cindy is our representative that we all agreed would be. The mayor is the mayor, and I think the mayor should be involved. So you have an alder-person going who’s on their own to speak.”
City attorney Rick Bertinetti, while not agreeing with the attorney general’s interpretation, did say going forward the city will post notice of every meeting that members will be attending, where in town or out of town.
“If we’re going to play these games, that’s fine, we’re going to post the notice of every meeting that you’re going to have, that way the Open Meetings Act is being abide by,” said Bertinetti.
To remedy the situation, the city must publicize the minutes from that meeting in September. Once the minutes have been approved, they will be posted for the public inspection.
“If we post the meeting, all of you can go and participate and talk,” Bertinetti said.
Also under public comment, former city employee Jeff Stewart, who retired on July 31, asked input about information in his personnel file.
He was concerned about a verbal warning given by Public Works Director Tim Hasara in Sept. 2014 and the ramifications if he were to apply for a new job and reference point.
City officials said that information in an employees file would never be given out during a request for employment history by a prospective employer.
Bertinetti talked with someone from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources about the state’s interest in purchasing property within the city, including out by the Carlinville Lake.
The process would take several years, in all likelihood, to get to that point, but Bertinetti wanted to get the council’s opinion if that would be something they would be willing to look at down the road.
IDNR representatives would come out and take a look at the land and see if that is something the state would want to pursue.
If available funding is available, the IDNR would have an appraisal done and then make offer for a specific area of property they would be interesting in purchasing.
Again, this process is likely to take a year or two or even long to complete if they go ahead and move forward.
The council agreed to have a representative from the IDNR come to the city council meeting and discuss the process in the future.
The council listed a list of dates for the 2018 city council meetings and a list of the 2018 cook out dates for the town square.
City council will continue meeting on the first and third Monday’s each month, except for Jan. 2 and Sept. 4, which are both Tuesdays because of nationally observed holidays.