Carlinville Council approves health insurance change, adopts ordinance amendments
By ERIN SANSON
The Carlinville City Council met on Monday, May 15 to discuss several items of new and old business. The meeting ran longer than usual as a new insurance provider had to be discussed.
Joe Direso submitted correspondence asking for an update about the building at 911 North Broad Street, Direso submitted correspondence to the council previously asking for the area to be cleaned up. His May correspondence also requested the council give an update on the status of the Illinois Alluvial Regional Water project.
The council did not respond during the meeting to the correspondence but placed it on file.
Scott Konneker came to the meeting to address the HeadStart sign located on Charles Street. Konneker came to the council previously to see if something could be done about the sign as it faced his three properties on Charles Street and shined through the windows. Contact was made with HeadStart previously, who agreed to turn off the sign at night and to see if anything could be done to reposition the sign. Konneker returned to the council, once again complaining that the light from the sign came in through his windows. Mayor Sarah Oswald told him that she had spoken to HeadStart and that the sign was being turned off at night and had been put up to help people locate the Illinois Valley location. Alderman Randy Ober pointed out that the sign was facing Charles Street, making it useless to those driving by on Nicholas Street. Oswald said HeadStart is seeing what can be done about moving or turning the sign.
Zoning Code Ordinance
An ordinance to amend the zoning code was introduced to the council several meetings ago. There were to be three amendments to the ordinance, one establishing rules for short-term rental “Airbnb” type homes, an amendment to the ordinance regarding sandwich board signs and windless banners and the third change was in regards to solar panels.
There have been multiple discussions over the solar amendment as it calls for panels placed on a house to not be taller than three feet past the existing structure and for solar panels located on the ground to be no taller than eight feet in height. Several council members took issue with the solar ordinance due to the height restrictions and the angles at which panels need to be set to collect sunlight.
There have been no objections to the first two amendments. The council decided to have City Attorney Don Cravens re-write the ordinance only including the first two amendments and resubmit it to the council for approval. The solar amendment was tabled again until further research was done into the issue.
Health Insurance Changes
Dimond Brothers Insurance recommended the City use Medical Associates for employee health insurance. Medical Associates is a mid-level, regional insurance who partners with several area hospitals including the HSHS group. The council agreed to the Medical Associates Gold Plan, which has a premium of $210,300.60 a year, almost $50,000 cheaper per year than the second least expensive plan.
Zoning Administrator Ad
The council discussed placing another ad for the position of Zoning Administrator for the City. The position has previously been placed in local papers but Alderman Kim Harber wanted to know the council member’s thoughts on posting the ad to a website such as Indeed or Monster.com. City Treasurer Jodie Riechmann pointed out that posting on such websites could get expensive, which Harber acknowledged. More discussion on the issue is to be held at the finance committee meeting regarding cost.
Carlinville CPA Group sent a letter confirming their services with the City for a 2023 audit. The total fee of Carlinville CPA Group will be between $36,000 and $40,000.
Chief of Police Derek Graham asked the council’s permission to advertise for one full-time and three part-time dispatchers. The council approved the request.
Graham also requested three squad cars be replaced. The Police Department was in contact with Victory Lane for the purchase of three replacement vehicles. The total purchase price for all three vehicle would be $132,273. The council approved the request.
Repairs to the Public Safety Center roof were budgeted for this fiscal year. A motion to seek bids for the project was passed by the council.
An issue that was not on the agenda for the meeting regarding sidewalk replacement was discussed. The Zion Lutheran Church approached the City about sidewalk replacements to be done on the North and West sides of the building. According to Alderman Bill Link, the church recently had its roof redone and the roofers damaged the sidewalk with machinery. Alderman Todd Koller asked, “Whoever did their work destroyed this sidewalk?”
Link replied it was not the City’s business who destroyed the sidewalk as they were not involved in the roofing project. Harber asked whether the roofers were bonded and why if so, they were not paying for the damages. The council tabled any decision until there had been further discussion with Zion Lutheran Church.
Five facade grants were awarded to various businesses in Carlinville. One grant application was denied as the property was zoned residential, not commercial. Alderman Doug Downey voiced his displeasure with the state of the facade grant applications as some applications were not complete.
He also mentioned the Heinz Furniture application because they asked for funds to paint their building. However, the facade grant states that it will not pay to paint brick that was not already painted. The council discussed the grant application further, but eventually decided to approve the grants. Only Downey voted no.