Council given advice on how to proceed with water situation

Council given advice on how to proceed with

CARLINVILLE (Aug. 9, 2018) – Carlinville city attorney Dan O’Brien gave some legal advice to members of the city council who were possibly interested in looking at other options other than the Illinois Allurial Rural Water Company they have already agreed into for future water service.

Litchfield mayor Steve Dougherty was in attendance, set to give a presentation on their water proposal.

A full presentation was not needed after hearing from O’Brien on how the council can proceed.

Since Carlinville has entered into an agreement with the IARWC, there are a number of factors to consider.

Councilman Beth Toon had the item placed on the agenda, hoping to reopen discussion on how Litchfield’s proposal can better serve the people of Carlinville.

“I feel that we owe it to the citizens of Carlinville to do a fair and equal look at apples to apples pricing,” Toon said. “We owe it to the people of Carlinville to see what Litchfield has to offer.”

But since an agreement has already been reached, O’Brien said that the council could move to make a motion to reconsider.

“If we are going to ask the city to reconsider whether or not they should proceed with Litchfield over the water concept, that would have had to be done at that same time of the first meeting,” O’Brien said. “A final action was taken to proceed with the water concept, which later became IARWC.”

If a motion to reconsider is made, it must be made by someone on the council who voted for the IARWC concept.

In that June, 2017 meeting, the measure passed by a 5-3 vote. Beth Toon, Kim Heigert and Randy Bilbruck voted against the measure.

In order to have a motion to reconsider, either Elaine Brockmeier, Cindy Campbell, Doug Downey, Sarah Oswald or Joe Direso would have to make that motion.

“I would still caution them against it because Illinois law is pretty clear,” O’Brien said. “One of the key cases is when a council is voted on a proposition and there is no motion for reconsideration, the council may not reconsider its action after adjournment of the meeting if the rights of other persons have intervened.”

Rights of other persons have intervened in the IARWC case, the USDA Rural Development and received a grant in the amount of $30,000 which was transferred to the IARWC. Rights of Bunker Hill, Dorchester, Jersey Rural have also been impacted by the action the Carlinville council took.

The engineering firm Heneghan and Associates has done some work already and taken action on the project, as well.

“That reliance when people sue over such things is called detrimental reliance,” O’Brien said. “I relied on the fact that you passed an ordinance, you took certain action, you applied to the USDA and you’ve taken those actions in reliance on it. This council could reverse its decision if it had to – it just cannot at this point.”

Dougherty was given five minutes to speak on behalf of Litchfield’s water system.

Under the IARWC concept, the rate would cost the city $4.78 per 1000 gallons of water.

Litchfield’s proposal would be $2.73 per 1000 gallons of water. Dougherty said Litchfield’s proposal would save the city of Carlinville $748,250 annually.

Rates would not increase unless production costs increased and would be limited to the same increase as Litchfield residents.

“We’re offering hard numbers, here tonight, that nobody has been able to beat,” Dougherty said, noting he looked over what IARWC is offering. “You can be able to use Carlinville water and mix it with Litchfield water when you need to. You can’t do that with the alluvial system.”

He added that the Carlinville-Litchfield line would be two miles shorter and reduce costs in the building design.

“Cooperating together would allow us to freeze our rates and not raise our rates for our citizens, and give you a decent rate so you can have a margin in there from what you are charging for your infrastructure,” Dougherty said.

Councilman Cindy Campbell earlier had updated the council on some progress made at the latest IARWC meeting.

The board voted to go with the four-million gallon a day water treatment plant, which would make the cost per 1,000 gallons at $4.78.

“This size helps keep the rate in a reasonable range and also allows for growth,” Campbell said.

She also reported the board was not comfortable with Carlinville paying the full amount for providing security for the issuance of an interim financing line of credit for $6.5 million.

Campbell also stressed that she is not being compensated by IARWC for her work within the company as a board member.

FOIA

The council discussed FOIA lawsuits ongoing. One of the lawsuits with John Kraft of Edgar County Watchdogs was ruled in Kraft’s favor on July 10 and records were provided.

Another FOIA hearing for Kraft is set for Aug. 14 at 2:30 p.m. Two other pending FOIA hearing dates have not been announced, regarding Robert Bogue and Lisa Thomas.

Toon questioned how the city cannot respond to FOIA requests without going through the court system and incurring additional costs. She asked if there is anything that can be done to fulfill the FOIA requests without going through the courts.

Budget officer

The city appointed Jodi Reichmann as the city’s budget officer, replacing Claudia Leonatti and Dick Spohr, both effective July 31.

A first read on the ordinance changes for the budget officer’s salary was also given to the council.

Other business

The council looked at the first read of an ordinance providing regulation and application for small wireless facilities.

Route 66 resolution was passed by the council, which is in support of the designation of Route 66 as a national historic trail.

Placed on file was a letter from St. Jude Rides, who will be coming through Carlinville the weekend of Sept. 13 in route to Memphis, Tenn.

The Princeton group will come through Carlinville around 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 13, and the Sterling/Rock Falls group will come through around 11:30 a.m., with lunch on the town square.

It is estimated that 33 motorcycles and one pickup with a trailer will be in town.