Four Litchfield firefighters and one Staunton firefighter were honored prior to the start of the Litchfield City Council meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6, for their work during the emergency flooding in southern Illinois in July of last year.
Captain Curt Clover and Litchfield firefighters Mathew Boston, Chad Dooley and David Rogers, along with Staunton firefighter Ron Maedge, were recognized with the Humanitarian Service Award and Medal by MABAS-Illinois (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) after an eight-day deployment last year, from July 13 to July 20.
The five members of the MABAS Division 56-Montgomery County water rescue boat team assisted flooded areas in Anna, near where the levee on the Illinois River had already failed, flooding several communities. At the time, there was also concern of an impending levee failure along the Mississippi River, which would have affected three counties.
“The life threatening flooding to the area was stabilized, however many communities were cut-off and isolated from any and all services,” Litchfield Fire Chief Joseph Holomy told the council Thursday. “Many of the roads in and out of the area were under water and impassable. Our team was tasked with being on standby, 24 hours a day, to provide emergency and supportive assistance to and for the affected communities.”
Holomy said that during daylight hours, the team surveyed the flooded areas via boat, evaluating homes that were still underwater to ensure stability and to look for any new hazards. They also assisted various community groups in delivering food and water supplies via boat to area residents. During the overnight hours, the team remained available to respond to any incident as needed.
Chief Holomy was joined by Staunton Fire Chief Rick Haase in honoring the firefighters for their dedication and service.
The remainder of the council meeting went quickly, with the aldermen approving 12 items before entering closed session at 6:47 p.m.
In addition to the minutes of the Jan. 16 meeting and the transferring of funds and payment of bills, the council also approved a third amendment to the agreement for treatment of Leachate with Envotech-Illinois, LLC, approved phishing and cyber fraud defense services through Zobrio for $1,663.20 and directed the city attorney to begin the condemnation and demolition process for two residential structures at 717 South Franklin and 120 South Historic Old Rt. 66.
The council also approved pay requests to Tecorp ($17,084.70) for work on the north water tower, Hudson Surety Company ($70,801.68) for work on the external water main for the I-55 Industrial Park and to Kamalduski Excavating and Grading ($277,241.85) for work on the I-55 Industrial Park.
A pay request to Brewster Construction ($129,168.46) for work on the Eagle Ridge subdivision project also passed, with Alderman Mark Brown voting no. Brown’s vote was the only dissension of the night, with the other votes going 6-0, with Dwayne Gerl and Marilyn Sisson absent.
Before entering into closed session, the council also approved an additional $38,000 for the easement acquisition agreement with Ameren Illinois Company for the west-side industrial park expansion and approved a track lease agreement with ABDW Logistics, contingent upon a signed agreement between the company and Respondek.
The latter agreement is for the storage of railway cars on the site that used to house North American Pipe, with a maximum of 50 cars on the site. Alderman Ray Kellenberger asked how the cars would be stored there, with Mayor Steve Dougherty saying that the cars would be moved in and out.
The city will receive a monthly minimum of $1,950, with fees increasing that amount depending on the number of cars stored and whether they are empty or carrying freight.
After a closed session of less than half an hour, the council approved the labor contract with the Illinois FOP Labor Council, Police Patrolmen and Sargeants and the City of Litchfield for May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2023.
The council adjourned the meeting until 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, when the meeting will reconvene. The only item on that meeting’s agenda is a closed session discussion on litigation, with possible action to follow.