Cemetery Contract And Ordinance to Expand Enterprise Zone Approved
By MICK PARSONS | For The Prairie Advocate News
MOUNT CARROLL – After an unusually contentious Solid Waste Committee Meeting Sept. 25 that left barely enough time to go over all the bills, city council voted to approve the bid from Moore Monument in Sterling, Illinois. Carroll and Whiteside County Enterprise Zone was expanded, and the fates of some local structures in need of repair were discussed.
During the Finance Committee meeting, Alderman Bob Sisler honed in on the annual $6,500 payment to the Mount Carroll Community Development Corporation (CDC) for community relations activities. Although the payment was approved as part of this year’s budget, Sisler said he wanted to think about not paying it out of the next budget and give those additional duties to “the administrative staff.” The suggestion was met with very little support, though it may still come up when the council starts deliberating over next year’s budget. Sisler was reminded that the payment was already agreed upon, and he agreed, saying only that he thought community relations could be handled just as easily in-house.
Finance Committee Chair Tom Charles told the committee that he would like for the city to try and find the money to buy a used 2000 International dump truck from Mount Carroll Township. The township has bought a slightly newer truck and is selling the older one for $40,000. Street Superintendent Eric Dauphin has indicated that the price is a good one for the age of the truck and the mileage, and that other than some rust in the box that can be sanded and painted, that the vehicle is in good working order.
Charles said, based on talking to Dauphin and based on his own research that it’s rare to find a dump truck in such good condition for the price, and rarer still to find a used one that’s worth the cost of switching the title.
Because of that and because the city’s truck will need to be replaced sooner rather than later, Charles said he would like for the city to find a way to purchase the truck.
Alderman Sisler disagreed. “Just because Mount Carroll Township has one for sale doesn’t mean we have to buy it,” he stated.
Charles pointed out that a used truck in that condition for that price is rare and that if the city doesn’t, it may have to buy a new truck at a higher cost down the road. Sisler was adamant, however. “We’re not a trucking company,” he said.
There was no specific discussion as to where the money could come from.
City Clerk Julie Cuckler told the Finance Committee that the copy machine in the hallway in City Hall, was starting to show it’s age. It’s 10 years old, she pointed out, and no longer under warranty, and has been acting up more and more consistently. She asked if a copier representative could attend the next Finance Committee meeting in order to discuss options – either leasing or buying a new machine outright. A newer machine, Cuckler added, could also be more useful because it will be able to do more – from emailing, faxing, and scanning documents to maybe even being able to print out the water bills, rather than continuing to have a separate dedicated machine. The committee agreed that it would be a good idea to talk to a representative.
During the regular meeting, the council voted on the Cemetery Committee’s recommendation to accept the bid from Moore Monuments in Sterling to work on 23 head stones in Mount Carroll Cemetery. The motion passed almost unanimously – with only Jim Rose voting against it.
The council also discussed what to do with the building at the corner of Market and Carroll, sometimes referred to as the Haas building. The wall facing Carroll Street is currently being held up by braces and the city has been trying to work with the owner to find a mutually satisfactory solution.
Up to this point, however, there has been little change on the part of the owner. Mayor Carl Bates pointed out when the city of Mount Carroll offered to bring in MSA, the owner wanted to provide his own plan, his own drawings. At one point, there was even talk of building an extra wall outside the wall to hold it up – a sort of levee to keep the wall from falling.
At last week’s meeting it became clear that the council is running out of patience. Unless something changes demonstratively – such as the owner bringing in drawings to show the council and then purchasing a building permit to do the work – then the city would have to take action.
“What action can the city take?” Sisler asked.
Mayor Bates pointed out that action has already been taken, it’s just been slow progress. City Attorney Ron Coplan said the next step should be to send a 15 day letter telling the owner to either repair the property or demolish the building.
Alderman Mike Risko asked which committee would be responsible for that. The mayor pointed out that such a letter would have to come from the entire council.
Before going into executive session, the council voted to expand the Enterprise Zone.