New Ward 2 Alderman Lara Tallman (left) and Treasurer Carol Kruzek receive the Oath of Office from City Attorney Ed Mitchell on February 4th, 2014 during the Lanark City Council meeting. (PA photo/Lynnette Forth)
By LYNNETTE FORTH | For The Prairie Advocate News
LANARK – The agenda for the Lanark City Council meeting for February 4th, 2014 included the appointment of a new Ward 2 Alderman to fill the vacancy left by Tom Kocal, who resigned January 21.
Aldermen approved the minutes from the January 7th meeting, followed by the review and approval of the January 7th Finance and December 2013 Treasurer’s reports. Mayor Huggins reported that everything is finally completed successfully with Sterling Business MachineS, regarding the new office furniture issue. Payment was approved to SBM in the amount of $2,239.44.
Mayor Huggins read the letter of resignation of Tom Kocal which stated, “It has been my pleasure to serve with all of you as an Alderman. I appreciate the trust of the people of Ward 2 that elected me.”
Alderman Ken Weaver stated, “Tom was a great Alderman, he will be missed.” Council members accepted Kocal’s resignation with regret.
The appointment of Lara Tallman, a two year resident of the City of Lanark was approved, with Tallman stating, “I appreciate the opportunity. The school system is one of the reasons we moved here. I really want to bloom where I am planted.”
Council members also thanked former City Treasurer Michelle Barnes for her service. City Attorney Ed Mitchell delivered the Oaths of Office for both Tallman and newly appointed City Treasurer Carol Kruzek.
Sharon Pepin with Community Funding and Planning Services spoke to the council about the sanitary sewer improvement project. Pepin informed council that the CDAP grant for the lift station project will be due in June.
“We will start moving forward with that. The maximum amount for the grant is $450,000.00.”
Pepin reported that the scope of work and expansion of the grant for the Blair Parkway project needs to be approved by Senator Tim Bivins. “TIF 2012 and 2013 reports have been sent to the Comptroller.”
Pepin also noted that regarding the proposed demolition of properties on Broad Street, TIF funds do include demolition. “Utilizing TIF funds will provide economic development for the community.”
Continuing with the agenda, council members heard an update from Nick Wagner of MSA Professional Services. Wagner discussed the Blair Parkway Project, informing those in attendance that work started in 2010 with the investigation of sewage backups, considering the alternatives to prevent backups. Wagner stated, “In the past, Les (Guenzler) would be on site helping, that’s why I have included twelve work site visits by MSA, since we won’t have him.”
Once again, Mayor Huggins presented the possibility of allocating TIF funds for the building demolition costs for properties on Broad Street.
“We looked at this at the last meeting, and it sounded like Aldermen didn’t want to do it. I would like to look at it again. We don’t need to use $90,000. I think at least $20,000-$40,000 for the demolition of 105/107 Broad Street.”
Ed Fehlhafer suggested using $30,000 from TIF funds to help with the project. A motion to amend the ordinance was approved for $30,000 instead of the originally suggested $90,000.
TIF fund committee member John Nelson approached the council about an application for funds by Jill Luning and her partner, Nino Novakovic, who currently operate Charlie’s Bar and Grill in Mount Carroll. Nelson reported that the couple had purchased “Macs Tap,” and would like $30,000 in TIF funds for improvements to the building. The building was purchased for just $10,000, but is in need of extensive roofing repairs.
Mayor Huggins stated, “I recommend allowing 25% up front. I don’t want to throw all of our eggs in one basket, but want to help out. TIF funds are there to help out, not to pay for the whole project.”
After a lengthy discussion among the council, approval was granted to allow $15,000 in TIF distribution in one lump sum after receiving paid invoices from the business owners. The actual vote was tabled to allow for Mark Macomber to review the information, as he came in late to the meeting.
Luning reported to the council that she and Nino have been leasing Charlies, but would like to own their own building, and establish a family oriented restaurant, that would host music events open to everyone from 2-102 years of age.
A public hearing for delinquent water billings was held, with one resident stating the she had made her payments, and submitted them into the white mailbox. Mayor Huggins said, “That has been duct taped closed for several months. Our cash policy is to be brought into the building. The drop box is vacated, so it would be difficult to put cash into a taped receptacle.”
Fehlhafer discussed the renovations for the Police Department, stating “We had a construction party come to look at the building. We are still working with numbers, and are hoping to make it work. I have had comments from folks on different designs. They are not foreseeable without extending costs. Right now it is being tabled until we get more solid numbers. It’s not even worth discussing.”
Attorney Mitchell reported on the status of blighted buildings. Aldermen continued with the agenda which included possible action on a resolution to provide additional funds for the final payment of the Route 73 project.
The next meeting of the Lanark City Council is scheduled for February 18th, 2014 at 7:30 pm in City Hall. The public is invited.