City Council Considers Memorial Funding

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Published on June 6 2012 10:13 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham City Council members Tuesday heard a request for funds to help pay off the Effingham County Veterans Memorial project.

Chris Thies, who spearheaded the project, asked for help in retiring the $58,000 remaining debt.  The City contributed $10,000 toward the project cost last year.

Council members said they had no objections to helping, but said they weren't sure where the funds would come from since the City's new fiscal year began in May and funds are budgeted.

The Council approved a land transaction with the Effingham Park District.  The City gave the Park District the land that would've been the site of a Sports Complex near Evergreen Hollow Park, as well as land once earmarked as the site of a city library.  In exchange, the City will no longer make annual Tax Increment Financing payments to the Park District.

Council members named Jennifer Hinterscher to replace Deb Beasley on the Tourism Advisory Board and Marlene Brandt to the Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund; purchased three squad cars for the city police department for $64,346.40; and contracted with Milano and Grunloh of Effingham for $18,000 for preliminary engineering services on a watermain project along US 40 from Schwerman Street to Henrietta Street.

Also Tuesday, City Fire Chief Joe Holomy swore three part-time paid on call firefighters into service.  Matthew Brown, Chad Berg and Aaron Paddock will be joined by Matthew Pruemer who was not able to attend the meeting.  There was also discussion of donating $800 raised at a recent meeting to the City of Joplin, Missouri Fire Department.  Joplin officials came to Effingham to discuss what they learned from their experiences when the twister hit their city last year.  City Attorney Tracy Berberich will check on whether the funds can be donated without Council action or whether it would be viewed as an allocation of City funds.

Council members hired Effingham Asphalt for $16,000 to finish site work at the City Maintenance Building; awarded bids for oil and chip materials needed for City street work scheduled this summer for close to $270,000; okayed a change order on the Outer Belt West project south of Fayette to move storm water away from a retaining wall and lessen soil erosion for $14,000; and awarded a project to do pavement marking around town for close to $86,000.

The Council heard that a sewer force main along US 40 will be relocated away from the roadway.  The line has suffered a series of breaks.  Bids on the work are to be let Thursday.  Council members also agreed to move ahead with the purchase of self-contained breathing apparatus that are primarily grant funded, and discussed proposed updates to the City's grease trap ordinance.  Director of Public Works Steve Miller and Berberich said some restaurants still don't have a grease trap and others don't properly maintain the traps and the result is large quantities of grease in the sewage system that clogs up the works and costs the City money and manpower to correct.

There was also discussion of amending the deadline for Sherwin-Williams to complete upgrades at the local plant in exchange for City funds.  The agreement signed in 2009 asked for the work to be finished by June 30.  Miller said some air handling equipment is yet to be installed.  Council members seemed agreeable to extending the completion deadline to September 30.