Sunset Time and Leaf Burning Questioned at Morrison City Council
By LYNNETTE FORTH | For The Prairie Advocate News
MORRISON – The City of Morrison held a regular meeting on September 10, 2010 in the Whiteside County Board room. Nancy Riggen was first up for public comment, handing out new brochures promoting the Odell Public Library. “The library is a valuable asset to the City of Morrison,” Riggen explained.
Karl Schmidt spoke regarding the proposed burn ordinance. “The spring and fall months don’t offer a lot of time to burn, or for the people who work 9-5 jobs. If the ordinance is implemented, how will it be enforced? Sunset times are constantly changing - what time are you going to suggest we use for Sunset?”
City Administrator Wise advised the council that December 31 is the deadline to apply for exclusions of properties for the Historic District.
Chief of Police Brian Melton informed the council that he was letting them know that for the next meeting, he will be bringing two pieces of property to them for disposal. The items are a piece of jewelry and a vehicle.
Jim Dubois informed the council that fall sports are underway at the Sports Complex, with football on the weekends.
The consent agenda was approved including August 27th 2012 regular session minutes, and Bills Payable in the amount of $83,814.66.
Items for Consideration and Possible action included:
- Appointment of Alderman Ward 4, but no action was taken at this time.
- WipFli - Review of FY 2012 Audit: Matt Schueler and Dan Ribordy of WipFli presented the audit findings. Auditors reported no questioned spending, with capitol assets being the largest asset at around $2.3 milliion. Receivables from the State of Illinois are trending about the same as last year. All deposits are secured by the F.D.I.C.
Marti Wood questioned whether or not deficiencies from the previous year had been corrected, and was advised that they had. David Guiliani asked “Can an audit catch something like what happened in the City of Dixon”?
“An audit is not designed to catch fraud,” auditors responded. Mayor Drey asked, “Since the Dixon incident have you changed how you do audits?” Ribordy answered “No, we feel like we are doing it right in the first place.”
- Acceptance of FY 2012 Audit (approved)
- Special and limited use permit liquor license for KJ’s Bar and Grill: Permit would allow for a beer garden to be held at the fair grounds on September 29th. Chief Melton asked the areas of the garden be double fenced, and for an event security plan to be approved by him. Michael Blean questioned if the fair board has approved the request, and if KJ’s insurance would cover anything that may happen. He was advises “yes.” (approved provided Meltons requests are met).
- Ordinance #12-29 Whiteside County Enterprise Zone Amendment
- Authorization of Mayor to enter into lease agreement for public works storage (no action taken).
- Ordinance #12-30-Amendment to open burning: Alderman Thorndike responded to Karl Schmidt’s earlier questions, stating “enforcement would be the same as it is now. Often neighbors will call in a complaint; we encourage people to do so.”
Dave Rose commented, “Sunset times are listed in many places for reference.” Chief Melton stated, “The Police Department will use reasonable discretion to enforce the burning rules.”
Both Marti Wood and Leo Sullivan reported that they have had comments regarding the proposed time schedule for burning, with citizens finding it insufficient. (Approval was granted with Wood and Sullivan voting “no”).
- Ordinance #12-31-Amendment Regarding City Administrator Position: City Attorney Tim Zollinger advised that this ordinance is designed to “clean up” the existing ordinances. “The City is not a municipal manager form of Government,” Zollinger said.
Other items for consideration, discussion, and information included:
- Debit/Credit/Utility bill notification and payment system improvements: Administrator Wise informed the council and the public that the City is going to make improvements to the bill payment system. The improvements will require a Debit/Credit card machine. “We are hoping to go online with it November 1. We are also going back to the mailing of bills at a cost of $.20 per billing. We will have room to put City based information on the back of bills. We encourage enrollment in the Auto Pay program. We want to push toward e-billing. The goal is to get 80% or better involved in the computer based payment program.” Leo Sullivan questioned if there was charge per swipe. Wise answered “Yes, for some cards. The cost of the system will be for the rental of the equipment plus the initial cost for setup.” The goal is to reduce utility billing costs from $.63 per bill to $.08.
Sarah Thorndike reminded the public and the council that Paint the Town will be held the weekend of September 15th. (See this week’s Prairie Advocate News for photos of the event, along with the Morrison Rotary’s Harvest Hammer 5K Run & Duathlon. More photos are online at www.pacc-news.com)
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for September 24th.