Hillsboro Council Removes 'Interim' From City Planner

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All Hillsboro City Council members were present for their Tuesday, Dec. 10 meeting–the last one for 2019. During the meeting the term "interim" was removed from Jonathon Weyer's city/community planner job title. Mayor Brian Sullivan said Weyer has accomplished much as an interim employee, especially in terms of meeting with business owners considering a move to Hillsboro. As city planner Weyer will earn $23 per hour.

Two facade grants and a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) extension were approved during the meeting. John and Kendra Wright will recoup $6,000 of the estimated $27,000 it will take to add an ADA compliant aluminum railing to the Red Rooster, a building which has three addresses. Steve Wall, the owner of the building housing Nikki's Place at 310 South Main Street, was granted $2,000. The facade of that building suffered fire damage when the building south of it burned. Estimated cost of the repairs (which are to make the front of it mirror the storefront to the north) is well over the amount needed to reach the $2,000 per address maximum payment amount.

The TIF extension was granted to Brian Lee so he can complete renovations of the apartments above the Lynch Building on South Main. He's already finished the spaces occupied by a beauty salon (Evi Salon) and Blackboard Mercantile.

Accepted for payment were November bills totalling $518,289.36. In another financial move, the council voted unanimously to approve the Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) program for 2020. The state has projected nearly a 60 percent increase in MFT funding over the 2019 amount. The proposal put forth by Streets Commissioner Daniel Robbins and Engineer Scott Hunt (representing Hurst-Rosche) for 2020 calls for an estimated $204,000.

Hunt and Public Utilities Commissioner Don Downs began a discussion about sewer and storm drain replacement in the area of Helston Place and Hamilton Street. Hunt said two steps were necessary before clearing and grubbing activity could begin. He advised the mains be located, with the locations noted by GPS, and the easements be checked and verified. Since costs of the actual project will be in excess of $90,000, Mayor Sullivan suggested it be budgeted for the next fiscal year. If Hunt's suggestions to do preliminary work are taken, moving dirt couldn't begin until the next fiscal year even if the city wished it to. Preliminary costs will be available at the Jan. 14 meeting.

The council also okayed a resolution authorizing an advisory referendum be placed on the March 17, 2020, primary election ballot. Voters in Hillsboro can vote yes if they think the city should allow the sale of legal cannabis (marijuana) within city limits or no if they think such sales should be forbidden.

During the Commissioners' and Mayor's reports, Robbins talked about installing and decorating the town Christmas tree twice (it blew over in the Nov. 26 wind storm) and other wind damage that had to be repaired at the campgrounds. Electric service for the Plaza and for future downtown use has been installed and energized. Hurst-Rosche personnel, Robbins, and Parks Supervisor Jim May are working to finalize permitting for the planned bridges for the Central Park and Challacombe House trail. Robbins also said the RFD for mowing services is in Attorney Kit Hantla's hands and will be ready for council perusal in January.

The Street Department repaired equipment, including a tire on the street sweeper; cleaned the downtown area in preparation for Storybook Christmas; and patched a pothole on Kimball Street.

Public Safety Commissioner Mike Murphy said he's working with the property owner at the corner of Big Four and Summer Streets because of a perceived problem with derelict vehicles, and a citation has been issued at 665 Virginia Street.

Also, he mentioned continuing concerns about junior high students not crossing South Main near McDonald's cautiously after school dismissals; he's been in contact with IDOT about appropriate signage. Commissioner Downs cautioned that if a warning sign is posted, then any accident that occurs is considered the motorist's fault.

Commissioner Downs stated the faulty lift station on Ash Street has been repaired, but issues on Lakewood has yet to be addressed.

Mayor Sullivan offered thanks to those who helped put together Storybook Christmas and mentioned that the log-splitting contest drew attention in St. Louis and Springfield media outlets.

The city planner is working on specific goals for the strategic plan; he welcomes input. He also said the Arts Commission has been formed; the ordinance supporting it and a list of committee members plus alternates will be presented at the next council meeting.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, at 7 p.m. in city hall. The public, especially any with complaints, is urged to attend.

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