Downs Sworn In As Hillsboro Mayor

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Ten years and a day after John Downs was sworn in as Hillsboro mayor, his son Don Downs took the oath as mayor. The regular council meeting was adjourned sine die to allow for Judge Jim Roberts to administer the oath of office; included in the audience were Downs’ family, including his grandson. No one has been appointed to fill Downs’ spot as commissioner on the council.

During the regular city council meeting, Interim Mayor/Finance Commissioner Katie Duncan presented April bills to be paid in the amount of $401,907.99; Duncan also reminded city departments that she has not received any budget worksheets from them. Without worksheets there can be no budget, so she suggested her fellow commissioners waste no more time before taking the first step.

According to Public Properties and Street Commissioner Dan Robbins, the city has hired enough summer help, although “We didn’t have an overabundance of applicants.” Hired for the Street Department were Ethan Maddaleno, Cameron Hacke, Jaben Compton, and Brady Huber. The Parks Department summer employees are Dominic Haggard and Dalton Taylor, and Enon Greenwood will work for the Public Safety Department. Hired to be Central Park Pool Manager is Josie Bartels, one of two applicants. Robbins said the Parks Department is continuing repairs at the pool in hopes it can open this summer. Painted bike racks and picnic tables have been returned to Central Park. The Marina Restaurant is now open for business on weekends and the council agreed to spend $1,297.17 for an insulated garage door with torsion springs to replace an older, broken beyond repair door.

Dean and Rebecca Lessman were the only bidders for a lot along Glenn Shoals Lake; the council accepted their bid of $3,000. In other real estate moves, the council approved a facade grant payment to Holly Blake, owner of the Subway franchise whose front recently was renovated. The council was complimentary of the work done to both the inside and outside of the building.

A resolution was also passed which formalized a Business District grant to help with improvements on a South Main Street building owned by Sheldon & Sons, LLC. The agreement itself was okayed at a past council meeting, so the ordinance was a formality.

The council approved a contract with computer systems company LOCIS; $3,800 buys a 40-hour block of time to be used for city hall system repairs and training as needed. Travel expenses are additional. Also an agreement with IDOT for local agency maintenance of traffic control devices on state routes through Hillsboro was approved; the ten year contract (for $40,941) runs until June 30, 2031.

Two requests involving Old Settlers came before the council. Rod Stewart asked to use South Main from the Historic Courthouse to McKay Auto Parts on Sunday, Aug. 1, Wednesday, Aug 4, and Thursda, Aug. 5, for the auto show and carnival and other traditional offerings. Public Safety Commissioner Mike Murphy suggested the permission be conditional. If public safety standards change (if the pandemic numbers worsen), the permission will be withdrawn. Given that caveat, the council approved 4-0. In the related manner, the council will request IDOT close Routes 127 and 16 for the parade Thursday evening.

An intergovernmental agreement with the county about repairing sidewalks around the Historic Courthouse called for the county to buy the concrete with the city supplying labor to spread and finish it was questioned because of a question about curb and guttering work. Clarification will be sought as to what the county expects as to the scope of the work.

During public comment Eric Bradley, who is a state certified surveyor who has tried for clarification about sewer problems at his former residence on Summer Street, expressed disappointment because his offer of professional help had been rebuffed. He also wondered when the city would make public the notes of a closed session concerning his requests per the State Attorney General’s finding that the closed session was illegal.

Dave Strowmatt said he was still waiting for documents promised to him at the last April council meeting regarding Glenn Shoals Lake issues.

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