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City finances head discussion of council at meeting Council: Fund for road maintenance in danger of depletion.

Byline: Patty Zaharadka correspondent

With the full council present, except Alderman Kirk Wood, members had much to discuss regarding the financial status of the city.

The meeting started with Mayor Don Kroski accepting a check from the Illinois Public Risk Fund. Jim Block presented a check for almost $22,750 for the employees participation in continuing education for safety in the workplace. The search for additional revenue continues and work has already begun on trying to balance the upcoming city budget.

The Negotiations Committee has begun its work with union representatives with the help of the city attorney, Steve Mahrt. and the Administration Committee has been gathering and going over line items with department supervisors.

Treasurer Pete Scherzer, while having stressed the need to "watch your spending" at the last several meetings, talked at length about delays in reimbursements from the 9th Street Project, the status of the General Fund and the need to borrow from the Water and Sewer Fund. Pete showed the most emotion when he said, "I just want to be able to pay our city employees."

When pressed by council members about the financial state of the city, Shcerzer hesitated in giving an exact numbers, as he said they change daily. He did estimate a deficit of "roughly" $400,000 which is a result of the loss of sales tax from Wal-Mart closing. Last year's reserves showed $776,000. Now it is about $245,000. The cost of insurance for the employees has risen, but also the number of retirees is also a contributing factor as people are retiring earlier and living longer.

An item on the disbursements sheet was questioned and held for payment. Alderman Ron Miles questioned a payment to Ameren due to an incident in which JULIE was called and lines were located and marked, but when the city crew attempted to correct the problem, "something" went wrong. Supervisor Gibson states he takes before and after pictures and video with each job, just to avoid these situations. Attorney Mahrt was instructed to send a letter to Ameren explaining the delay in payment and wait for their response before payment be made.

Mahrt presented the council with an ordinance "Establishing a Dog Park". Alderman Miles questioned the fact that with passing the ordinance it would then become part of the city's responsibility for maintenance and repairs, a point that was presented as "we have donations and volunteers to do the work and the dog owners will be responsible for cleaning up after their dogs." Engineer Greg Holthaus had provided the legal description of the parcel of land being dedicated as a park and a deadline for completion of the facility was added (April 1, 2020). With Aldermen Goff and Wiss adding their

views in support of the dog park, the motion was made to bypass the first reading and go to the second reading and roll call vote to pass the ordinance as presented. The motion carried on a 5 to 2 vote with Miles and Jordan voting nay.

Holthaus gave his engineering report on the EPA annual walk through, and asked about two open permits that had been extended, but the work had not been completed yet. He reported on a water and sewer line on Third Street which couldn't be installed at the 16 foot level. Holthaus informed the council that he had learned that a five-acre parcel of city land adjacent to land owned and farmed by a resident, might need to have a legal deed granted as the city was using part of his land as a roadway. This was referred to the Water Committee for its recommendation, Holthaus will provide Miles with the necessary information.

Road Maintenance at the lake was again a subject of discussion along with MFT funding amounts that might be available to use, along with the Bike Trail Bridge repair project. MFT funding started with $150,000 to $160,000 in two accounts and is down to $90,000. The city must pay the whole cost of the projects, then do the paperwork to send to the state for reimbursement of 20 percent of the cost paid. MFT funds have been decreasing due to increased efficiency of newer cars using gas and electricity, and engineering fees are also a big drain on the city.

Scherzer Warned that if MFT spending for road maintenance and sign placement continue, the money would be gone in the second quarter of 2021.

Mayor's report

Mayor Kroski announced that a representative from the city's health insurance would be meeting with employees on Tuesday, March 19, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm to fill out applications.

Kroski also stated that the Kronke building (Wal-Mart) is now being handled by the Kunkel Group and the Illinois Housing Authority will be holding a public meeting about construction a 60 apartment housing unit.

He also said he had gotten a quote to cleanup the most recent repossession of a lake lot for $902.50.

In other business

* The Economic Development Committee requests that City Planner Tom Wobbe help write a grant for lake rip rap.

* Community Support had a meeting with the pool co-managers Aurelia Weddle and Phyllis Elmore and asked for council approval for agreed salaries with a "no overtime" provision. The council approved Aurelia the senior manager at $13 an hour andPhyllis to be co-manager at $11.38 an hour.

* Alderman Goff stated that the annual TIF meeting with Keith Moran will be scheduled in April.

In new business

* Brenda Mathias was granted permission for the First United Pentecostal ChurchTo have their annual Rock-A-Block and bucket brigade.

* Janie Glick, Sacred Heart Board President was granted permission to hold their annual block party on May 18, starting in the morning with 3-on-3 basketball and volleyBall tournaments, food tent and later a band and alcohol sales. Questions were asked about precautions taken. Police Chief Daniel Bland has been working with the group in planning preparations.

The next council meeting is scheduled for March 25 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at Pana City Hall.

***Correction to the reported vote on the Approved Class A-1 liquor license application for Varsha Patel, Gajanan, Inc. at 1020 E. Jackson St. The roll call vote was 4 Ayes (Goff, Hocq,Eddy, and Wiss) and 4 Nayes (Jordan, Miles, Wood, and Schneider). Mayor Kroski voted Aye making it 5 to 4.
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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Mar 20, 2019
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