Savanna Council Reviews
Potential Franchise Agreement Conflict With Mediacom
By MICHAEL MILLER | For The Prairie Advocate News
SAVANNA – The Savanna City Council was presented a letter drafted by City Attorney Phil Jensen, detailing his response and comments to Mediacom, regarding the City’s belief that the company owes them between $6,000.00 and $10,000.00, and the City’s potential legal options should this matter not be resolved to its satisfaction, at their March 12th, 2013 regular meeting.
This meeting was attended by Council members Bill Robinson, Merle Long, Bill Scott, Peg Haffey, Jeff Griswold, Tony McCombie, Carol Fosdick and Lois Hunsaker. Also in attendance were Mayor Larry Stebbins, City Clerk Sheryl Sipe, City Attorney Phil Jensen, Police Chief Michael Moon, Fire Chief Shawn Picolotti, and Public Works Superintendent John Lindeman.
Money, Money, Money
Finance Committee Chair Bill Robinson relayed several requests for funds to the Council from various entities and departments, to kick off the meeting. Community Funding and Planning Services requested payment of $22,000.00 for their grant administration services related to the City’s sewer rehabilitation project, and the full Council approved the Finance Committee’s recommendation to pay this amount.
Public Works requested funding of $16,000.00 for a pavement breaker and this, likewise, was fully approved by Council.
The committee recommended granting a request for a rebate of $1,000.00 on demolition of 35 Milwaukee Street, and again the Council agreed to this amount.
The volume of calls coming into the Sheriff’s Office dispatch has precipitated additional charges to the City and in response, Moon constructed a plan to purchase nine Smart Phones for the Sheriff’s department with applications which will cut down on the officers’ phone time. The phones are to be purchased from Stebbins’ Appliance, on sale, with a free phone for each phone purchased. The City can buy five phones and get four free for approximately $500.00, and also fund the sheriff’s department for these applications, amounting to ten dollars per phone per month. Total cost per year would be $1,080.00.
1708 Chicago Avenue was next on the Finance Committee’s agenda, with Robinson reporting that there have been two fires at that property recently, and that the committee has been looking for a way to demolish it for safety reasons and wishes to do so with minimal red tape. Jensen reported if the owner would quick claim the property to the City, this would facilitate the desired action by the City.
Jensen then presented the Council with a draft of a letter he’d composed to Mediacom, detailing the history of the company’s franchise agreement with the City and also the City’s disagreement with their revised definition of “gross revenues” upon which the City’s reimbursement is based. The attorney said he also reviewed potential legal action that might result from the company’s refusal to pay what the City feels it is owed.
TIF Review Board
Stebbins addressed the annual meeting of this board, noting that the TIF district was not self sufficient for 2012 and that the comptroller had abated taxes for this year. McCombie inquired how residents can support the district and the mayor replied that the district gets money if people shop at the Dollar General Store, Sullivan’s Food, or Shopko. He reiterated his stance that shopping locally can benefit the City on a variety of levels.
Ordinances and Rescheduling
Per a request from McCombie, the Council voted unanimously to reschedule the regularly scheduled April 9th, meeting to April 8th, due to the city elections being held on the 9th.
The first reading of an ordinance that would authorize the City to borrow funds from the Public Water Supply Program in order to help finance the water meter project, which is estimated to cost a total of $528,000.00, was approved by Council.
Flood Mitigation News
In his final comments, Stebbins informed the Council that he’d contacted the Corps of Engineers regarding the report they’d made regarding flood mitigation in Savanna and that he has just received that report recently. He said the Corps indicated the belief that the City should “go further” in their efforts and that there would be a cost to go forward.
Stebbins added he’d been in touch with someone at Union Pacific Railroad regarding potential cost sharing for these efforts and that these might dovetail nicely with efforts being made with the Flood Mitigation Plan.