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City spent over
(PANA) — The Pana City Council, meeting for their regular meeting on Wednesday night, held a discussion on the mowing of property done by the city. While $5,000 was budgeted, the city spent more than $44,000, according to figures released by Mayor Nathan Pastor.
“This is massively over budget, almost 10 times,” Mayor Pastor said.
Alderman Tim Eddy, chairman of the Administration Committee, said he was responsible for writing the purchase orders to pay the independent contractors who perform the mowing. The mowing is for properties owned by the city – said to be 53, up from 39 from a year ago – as well as properties where the grass has grown too tall and the private property owner has not alleviate the problem.
“And were getting control of more,” Fourth Wards Alderman Kent Sims said. “And the list of properties we have is growing bigger,” referring to the lots which the city has acquired and home have been torn down by the city.
For many years, the city had hired teenage summer help to cut the grass, but that required a city employee to be on scene to supervise. That hiring practice was suspended several years ago as dwindling numbers of employees in the street department made it nearly impossible to dedicate someone to supervise.
Alderman Kirk Woods noted one independent contractor had turned a statement into the city, noting they had cut 15 properties in one day and charged the city $900. It was noted a property at 5 W. Washington St. was mowed three times and the the city was charged $250.
One of the recommendations made by Third Ward Alderman Steve Scott, was to hire people over age 18 to do the work and they would require little or no supervision.
Following little more discussion, the matter was turned over to the Community Support Committee since it deals with zoning and specifics on grass heights.
Another discussion concerned a derelict property at 202 Park Ave. in Pana. The Mayor declared: “I want that thing on the ground. I’m tired of looking at it and I know everyone else is, too.”
City Attorney Steve Mahrt gave the Council four options to contend with the situation and Council members agreed the matter should be brought before the court, demanding the property be brought up to code, or have it turned over to the city so it can be demolished.
Mahrt said the owner of the property has been uncooperative and has not returned calls or followed up on letters sent by the city. He said the process could take about three months to complete, considering all of the parties which have to be notified and setting a court date convenient to the court system.
The Council unanimously approved a four-year contract with the Pana Policeman’s Benevolent Labor Committee, retro-active to July 1 of this year. It extends through July 1, 2024.
Under the new contract, wages increased 3.5 percent on July 1, 2021 and the same amount on July 1, 2022. There is a 3 percent increase in the final two years of the contract.
An officer starting out in year one would make almost $4,400 per month and by the end of the contract, that salary is almost $4,800. An officer with 25 years of service would be paid about $5,100 per month with a salary of slightly more than $5,600 a month when the contract ends.
In other business, the Council approved bids for demolition of properties controlled by the city. Joe Coleman Salvage and Demolition was awarded the contract to demolish 29, 31 and 33 S. Locust St. The low bid was $124,325.
Doug Miller’s bid of $4,800 for demolition at 5 E. Washington, 412 S. Poplar and 509 S. Poplar was approved.
DC Waste was given the contract for supplying dumpsters for the above mentioned properties to haul off debris. They are charging $25 to deliver each container; $189 per container for transportation; and $62 per ton to dump the waste.
By a vote of 5-3, the Council approved a job description for an ordinance and zoning officer. Alderman Scott asked for changes which directs the officer to perform duties at the direction of the Mayor and City Council; investigate code violations assigned by the Mayor and Council and report to them; and to provide monthly reports to the Mayor and Council of work activities. The original text mentioned the officer reporting to the Mayor only.
Alderman Scott asked for the addition of the Council to the job description. Alderman Woods expressed his feeling the person should only be responsible to the Mayor and said a person cannot work for too many bosses. Several other aldermen also agreed.
In the end, Alderman Woods, Sims and Eddy voted “no,” with Aldermen Ray “Butch” Hocq, Glenn Schneider, Katherine Stephens, Scott and Jeric Horsthemke all voting, “yes.”
A plan to apply for a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Opportunity gained Council approval. Kirby Casner, Economic Development Director, said the total grant is for $905,000, with $850,000 coming from the state. The purpose of the grant is to replace four roofs on buildings in the 100 block of S. Locust St. so they can be sold to potential developers.
The Council approved spending $50,000 from the TIF Fund for the grant and Pana Pride has pledged $5,000 for the project.
Casper said the exact buildings of the four which will be roofed has not been determined, but they have are nearing a decision on them.
Other activities of the Council on Monday night were:
• Hearing from Pana City Clerk Terry Klein he is resigning from his office on Dec. 31, 2021. A replacement is to be named at the next Council meeting. A reception for Klein will be held in the Council Chambers of Pana City Hall on Dec. 21 from 3:00-5:00 p.m.;
• Thanking Pana Pride and all of the donors for their work in Kitchell Park for the holiday season. The Pana Police Department was also thanked for patrolling the park to keep vandalism down;
• Approved an increase Purchase Orders to $3,000 from $2,000;
• Approved a change order in construction plans at the water treatment plant in order to spend about $24,000 in grant money still available;
• Approved the Motor Fuel Tax Maintenance Program for 2022; and
• Changed their next meeting night to Monday, Dec. 20, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. from Dec. 27, in order not to conflict with the holiday.
The meeting adjourned at 8:17 p.m.