|
|
|
The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Council approves $125K mystery property purchase

  • Harrisburg City Council approved a mysterious property purchase during Thursday night's regular meeting.
    • email print
  • Harrisburg City Council approved a mysterious property purchase during Thursday night's regular meeting.
    Police and Fire Commissioner Bart Schiff made the motion to approve the purchase of property for $125,000 contingent on surveying and title work. Council members John McPeek, Dale Fowler and Mayor Ron Crank voted yes. Ron Fearheiley was absent.
    Nothing was said about the location of the property nor its purpose and asked after the meeting about the location Schiff said he was not ready to state where the property is.
    Council has mentioned the goal over the past several years of purchasing property for a new police station.
    Water meter replacement
    Water Superintendent Kelly Hefner gave an update on the automatic water meter replacement project saying the first two phases are complete with replacing and rehousing commercial and residential connection and the new tower being installed and tested.
    Over the next few weeks the new meters will be installed.
    Hefner said with the work accomplished the city is already seeing a significant reduction in water loss. The average loss last fiscal year was 26.6 percent. So far this fiscal year the average loss is about 16 percent.
    "So it's going better than expected," he said.
    The automated system allows the water department to pinpoint any area of high usage to determine where leaks are occurring and will provide the same water usage information that Saline Valley Conservancy District uses to determine billing.
    The system also takes away the need for someone walking the town reading meters.
    Property sale
    During the previous meeting council members opened and awarded some bids on lots owned by the city, but held back on two bids.
    These were bids of $500 each by Edward Conkle for lots at 370 and 371 E. South St. behind Southern Illinois Tire. Schiff said during that meeting he believed the property may be worth more than Conkle's bid and Engineer Jim Brown said council could in the future want to maintain that property for the placement of a water tank.
    Crank — absent on vacation from that meeting — said Thursday he supported awarding the bid to Conkle stating the city is not in the real estate business.
    "It is kind of cheap, but if they build on it, that's what we want because we get tax revenue off of it," Crank said.
    All voted to award the bid to Conkle for $500.
    Engineer Mike Roberts said council could vote on a change order on the Illinois Department of Transportation funded project of repairing streets damaged by the Feb. 29, 2012, tornado.
    "When you awarded the funding bids they were significantly less than we had suspected," Roberts said.
    With a change order upping the amount to be spent on the project by $87,212 more streets could be improved and council approved the change order.
    Page 2 of 2 - Roberts said leftover money from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant for street repair in the amount of $58,588 could be put toward repair of the water tank at the south end of town that was damaged in the tornado.
    Tornado grant
    McPeek said through the federal grant awarded for home reconstruction and repair after the tornado 10 new homes have been built, 33 rehabbed — mainly new roof and siding — and with leftover money seven or eight homes can be added. Council approved paying grant administrator Roy Adams $3,950 per home.
    Lyndi Hull of "The Disclosure" told council construction workers informed her one home they were working on was not damaged by the tornado. Adams told council he was not aware of any homes approved by the grant that were unaffected by the tornado.
    "As far as I know every home worked on was verified as a home that was damaged," Adams said.
    Crank said all actions taken under the grant are under the watch of Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in Springfield.
    Adams said he could meet with Hull later to address her concerns.
    McPeek said Ameren also has grant money available to help those who had damage in the tornado, but few have applied.
    During the meeting:
    Council set Trick or Treat night for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 31.
    McPeek announced a Fall Clean Up period between Oct. 14 and Oct. 25. City workers will not be going through the town street by street to pick up limbs.
    McPeek said employees and retirees can get flu and pneumonia shots at City Hall between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8. For their families the cost is $20 for a flu shot and $90 for pneumonia.
    Fowler reminded everyone there is currently a moratorium on Harrisburg Lake lease transfers until a review of the current leases and any changes to the ordinance language has been completed.
    Fowler thanked the Saline County Sheriff inmate work crew for sealing the parking lot at the Harris-Pruett Building and painting it.
    Schiff addressed contract negotiations in closed session and afterward council voted to rescind a letter to the firefighters union negotiators asking for a change in payment for certain days off. He said council may revisit the issue once the current contract expires in April of 2014.
      • calendar