Savanna Paves the Way For
Halloween Celebrations, Approves New Burning Schedule
By MICHAEL MILLER | For The Prairie Advocate News
SAVANNA – With Halloween just around the corner, the Savanna City Council had a list of holiday related items on its agenda, and they paved the way for these long traditions to continue, at the September 25th, 2012 meeting of that body.
The meeting was attended by the full Council, including Bill Grummitt, Lois Hunsaker, Toni McCombie, Jeff Griswold, Peg Haffey, Merle Long, Bill Robinson and Bill Scott. Mayor Larry Stebbins, City Clerk Paul Hartman, City Attorney Phil Jensen, Fire Chief Shawn Picolotti, and Police Chief Michael Moon also attended, with Public Works Superintendent John Lindeman and Treasurer/Comptroller Sheryl Sipe absent.
Haffey led off with the Ordinance/Public Relations/Health Committee report. She said the burning ordinance had been discussed at length, and the following changes were recommended to be approved for that ordinance; allowing burning during the second and fourth Fridays of the month, and the Saturdays following those days. Also altered was the language that required the fire official to approve such burnings, in light of the fact that now such calls would be routed to Mt. Carroll. Now it will not be necessary to call for this approval.
The committee also recommended crafting an ordinance whereby non-residents and “at fault” persons would be charged by the Fire Department for equipment and personnel; specifically, $50.00 an hour for equipment, and $25.00 for each responding fireman.
Electronic participation in meetings was also discussed, with the committee ultimately deferring any resulting ordinance until the City could afford to purchase the proper facilitating equipment.
Robinson updated the Council on the latest Water/Sewer/Refuse/Streets and Alleys Committee meeting, noting that the Transfer Station fees were the subject of a lengthy discussion. From statistics gathered and presented by Lindeman, it appears that the station is operating at a deficit, with expenditures for last year totaling $29,968.95, and revenues coming in at just $11,985.25.
In light of this discrepancy, the committee discussed raising the per bag rate for the station from $1.00 to $3.00. Also, it recommends that as of November 1st, shingles and lath and plaster should no longer be accepted, as well as electronics, refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners.
Robinson motioned to accept the “non accepted materials” recommendation, which will have to end up in ordinance form. The Council approved the motion, and Robinson said that a comprehensive fee schedule is also being contemplated.
The sewing lining project discussion brought the welcome news that the City is in receipt of an award letter stating that it has received $388,629.00 in grant funds for this project.
Lindeman also noted that he’d recommend Third Street for the next round of street improvements, most likely followed by some of the side streets of of Main Street, the alley west of Main Street, Walnut Street, Keller, and others.
Both reports were fully approved by Council.
Back to Committee
The Council heard an address from Skip Schwerdtfeger regarding the sub-division known as the Meadows. Mr. Schwerdfeger asked the Council for patience and an extension of the City’s agreement with the owners, saying that they “believe in Savanna” and that the delay in opening the Thomson Correctional Facility is stopping buyers from purchasing homes in that area.
The City has an agreement with the owners of the sub-division if ten houses were not constructed by April 9th of this year, the City was entitled to $2,000.00 for each house not constructed (only two have been built, leaving eight) or the remaining lots.
After some discussion, the Council elected to send the matter back to committee, with Robinson advising research into how much the taxes would be if the City opted to take ownership of the lots. The Council can elect to extend the current contract with the group or exercise an exit clause.
The Council unanimously approved Resolution Number 1042, which would allow for the temporary closure of Illinois Route 64 from Division Street to Chicago Avenue, from 2 to 2:30 pm, on Sunday, October 28th, 2012, to facilitate the annual Halloween Parade. In a related activity, the Council approved Resolution #1043, which would dictate that the Trick or Treat activities for 2012 will be from 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm, on Sunday, October 28th. Parade formation will be at 1:30 pm at Main and Division Streets and will proceed South on Main Street to the City of Savanna’s South Parking Lot on Chicago Avenue, where treats will be served for the kids.
In other Halloween related news, the Council approved, after some discussion and pending a review of insurance policies, a resolution (#1044) to allow the Savanna Train Car Museum Committee use of the 56 acres of property adjacent to Poopy’s Pub and Grub, for the Haunted Forest Festival, on the dates of October 6th, 13th, 20th, 26th, and 27th of this year, with set up and maintenance to occur from September 12th to November 10th of this year.
McCombie informed the Council that at the latest Savanna Chamber of Commerce meeting there had been discussion of the large number of businesses leaving Savanna’s Main Street, and that in response, the Chamber was interested in working with the City to enliven Main Street business activity.
Stebbins said that he’d recently attended the inaugural meeting of a group of mayors of areas along the Mississippi River, wherein common issues and interests were discussed, with plans made for next year as well. He said that there was discussion that shipping along the Mississippi might see a huge increase due to the expansion of the Panama Canal and said that legislation was needed that not only protected the area as a scenic spot but still made it viable for economics.