By ERIN SANSON
The Carlinville city council meeting, held August 1, ran for two hours and forty minutes, a vast difference from their usually short meetings. The meeting focused almost entirely on the Illinois Alluvial Regional Water Company, as two representatives were present at the meeting to discuss the company with the Carlinville council.
Discussion with Alluvial representatives
Representatives for Alluvial came in the form of Attorney for the company David Foreman and Brad Wilson who was representing Fosterburg as another community in the Alluvial group.
Foreman explained to the council what Alluvial’s plans are going forward and their purpose. Foreman stated that it is Alluvial’s intention to provide water to communities that need it at the lowest possible cost. Foreman also told the council that as a founding member of the company Alluvial builds the line to bring the water to Carlinville, Carlinville does not have to build the line to Alluvial like they would if they were just a water customer. He repeated multiple times, “There is no debt in building this line, there is no debt of this community with Alluvial. Your only obligation is to buy water.”
He went through the advantages Carlinville would have by remaining with Alluvial. They would be able to, to a certain extent, be in control of the price of their water, whereas if they became a satellite user of another water provider the source location could raise water rates and would likely raise rates on the satellite locations first. There would be no cost for Carlinville to maintain a reservoir or water source. Costs would be split between the communities that make up the Alluvial Company.
Alluvial is currently at a stopping point because the engineers can not begin drafting a final plant design until they know all of the communities that are going to be involved. As of Monday night, only Carlinville and Jersey County had not signed their contracts. The company is also working to complete easement agreements. Foreman announced that the company would be closing the deal on the plant site and well field the next morning.
After fForeman’s presentation the floor was opened to questions by the council, who had quite a few.
Alderman Randy Ober began by saying it was good that the representatives had made the trip to discuss the situation and the lack of flow of information because “there were some feelings that went through this board that Alluvial no longer wanted Carlinville involved.”
Foreman responded that everyone at Alluvial wants Carlinville to be involved in the project but there is frustration from Alluvial that there has been a lack of action on Carlinville’s part.
Several questions were asked about committees being formed and how they would be structured. Foreman was unable to answer those questions as the Alluvial board felt it did not make sense to setup the committees before any work had begun.
The topic of the contracts was then brought up. The contracts had to be rewritten for all of the involved communities because of an unpublished opinion by the Illinois Courts. Foreman stated that the problems with the contracts and addendums began when getting the $6 million dollar loan from Co-Bank.
According to Foreman, because Alluvial was a start up the bank was uncomfortable lending money to the company, but would lend the money to each individual community. Providing money to each member created problems in the funding of the project and made it difficult to get bills paid.
Due to the way the loan from Co-Bank was structured, Carlinville would have to use the money from the loan they received from Co-Bank to fund some of the closing costs. Carlinville would then get money back either through a refund of a connection fee or as credit to purchase water.
Mayor Sarah Oswald also brought up a few instances in which Carlinville felt the communication was lacking on Alluvial’s side. She said that Joe Direso, the Carlinville representative for Alluvial, has had to vote on issues that he was never made aware of prior to their discussion at the meeting, such as adding Fosterburg as a member.
Oswald also mentioned that she had never seen any other communities contracts or addendums.
Foreman explained that the addition of Fosterburg was not made known to members before the meeting because there was a shortened time period when Fosterburg was trying to get a contract so there was no time to communicate the change before the next board meeting. At the next board meeting however, Foreman claims the board spent 90 minutes explaining the contract and its changes, discussing Fosterburg’s inclusion and arguing over it.
When discussing the addendum’s Foreman said that the Alluvial members had to have seen them because they voted on them. Direso jumped into the conversation saying, “I have never seen anyone else’s addendum.”
City Attorney Don Craven came into the conversation as well saying he felt the Alluvial Board President, Allan Davenport, and Board Secretary, Sue Campbell, both seemed surprised that Carlinville’s addendum called for direct payments to Alluvial rather than paying the invoices in the Carlinville section as they had been, he further stated that had they seen the contracts beforehand they should not have been surprised by the change. Foreman disagreed with Craven’s statement saying he had discussions with the President and Secretary about the change to Carlinville’s payments.
Craven also said that Carlinville was unaware the addendum would call for direct payments. Foreman then said that he felt there was a misunderstanding. Agreements to the addendums were prepared to be submitted back to Carlinville for their review before it was voted on by the Alluvial board.
Wilson joined in the conversation as well saying, “It doesn’t matter what was intended, it matters what the recipient understand, so the communication was a failure.” Wilson said that the Alluvial Board would work to fix any issues with communication.
After the Alluvial representatives left, Direso gave his update from the July meeting held on July 28. Davenport asked secretary Sue Campbell to develop a board attendance policy. Direso voted ‘no’ on the issue and was the only no vote. He feels that allowing members to Zoom in also allows for the Carlinville council members to attend and that he believes the current stage to be crucial for alderman involvement.
Towards the beginning of the meeting Foreman stated, “Carlinville needs this project and this project needs Carlinville.”
While questions were asked and answered and explanations for certain dealings were given, at the end of the meeting there was no decision made by or discussion amongst the Carlinville council to sign the contracts with Alluvial, allowing the company to move forward with its planning or to reject the contracts and look at further option.
The city approved an ordinance establishing fees for overweight or oversize vehicles to drive on roads maintained by the City. Overweight vehicles, including those over-dimension, are subject to a $50 for a single trip, $80 for a round trip or $200 for a quarterly trip. Oversize vehicles are to be subject to a $25 fee for single trips, $40 for round trips and $100 for quarterly trips.
City Administrator Brian Zilm offered updates on the Illinois Housing Development Authority grants. There are five properties in Carlinville that would be good candidates for the grant program. Th program would allow the city to purchase the properties, they can then clean up the properties and potentially sell them at a later time.
The Carlinville council approved the use of the Carlinville Square and its annual Lions Club Carnival. The date for the 75th carnival is set to be Friday and Saturday Sept. 9-10. There is a rain date of Sunday Sept. 11.
The council accepted the resignation of Delaney Sanson as a part time police dispatcher.
The council approved a resolution to include compensation paid under a certain Internal Revenue code as IMRF earnings. This resolution means that compensation paid under an Internal Revenue Code section 125 plan, a premium conversion plan or flexible spending account can and should be reported as earnings to the IMRF.