The Hillsboro City Council voted to upgrade potential Park Department services on Glenn Shoals Lake during their April 23 meeting in city hall by agreeing to purchase a newer boat. The older boat was found to be beyond repair; the newer boat, purchased for $6,090, will fit the current trailer and be powered by the motor used on the older model. According to Public Properties Commissioner Daniel Robbins, the necessary rewiring will take a few weeks before it will be in service.
Kaitlyn Voyles, representing Imagine Hillsboro, informed the council that the group's Farmers' Market will expand to two days a month (June through September) this summer.
Imagine Hillsboro intends to host the event on the first and third Saturday of each summer month beginning in June. Since the markets will be held on the Lincoln Plaza, no street closures will be necessary.
In budget matters, Woodard and Curran local superintendent Tim Ferguson came to speak about a motion he supports to combine the water and the wastewater budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. He said the move would save the city $50 per month.
In other water department developments, the council passed (by a 4-0 vote) a motion approving a third party interface with Locis Software Solutions to make the new electronically-read water meters productive. The cost was $1,500 for the interface plus a $640 one time training cost.
In answer to a question from Finance Commissioner Katie Duncan, Ferguson said the city will need two interfaces. "...until the older water meters are replaced."
Wastewater Superintendent Don Downs asked citizens to be more careful of what they flush into the sewer system. He cited baby wipes, saying that they aren't flushable, no matter what the packaging says. "When there is a clog, pumps burn up; and that costs everyone money."
Ferguson said the major problem with flushing materials that ought not be flushed occurs most often in the prison and even more often in the county jail. Currently traps are used to protect the plumbing there, but the traps have to be cleaned - too often to be feasible. More expensive remedies may be required.
City Attorney Kit Hantla discussed options for dealing with the Riddle property (1116 S. Main Street), which the city would like to demolish. Hantla believes there are six heirs, one of whom has agreed to sign a quit-claim deed. The wishes of the other five aren't known; even the whereabouts of one is reportedly unknown. Hantla said the city can have those who will sign and deal with the others as possible.
Another option is to wait until another year to pick up the property when it goes up for sale because of unpaid taxes. A third option would be to demolish the building and put a lien on the property to cover the cost of the work. No decision was made.
The council unanimously agreed to contract with Royell Communications for internet and phone service in the Parks Department and Street Department buildings in the locations on City Lake Road. According to Parks Superintendent Jim May, he started talks with the company in November. A 50 foot pole will be installed by the Firemen's Clubhouse; that in turn will provide better broadband service to the campground and Wi-Fi to the Parks and Street Department offices as well as helping with video surveillance at both marinas. The contract calls for a payment of $4,150.
Commissioner Robbins began the departmental reports that began the meetings by talking about the mowing that is now in progress. Randy Keiser completed pesticide-use training and May completed training as a mosquito abatement specialist. May commented that citizens won't see as much fogging as has been customary in the past, though the sports complex and campground will be fogged before big events. Rather, the focus will be on larvicide in catch basins, etc., to eliminate the pests in larva form before they reach adulthood. He and representatives of the county health department will work closely on the new approach.
They ask homeowners to eliminate all standing water in containers, to drain low areas of ground that collect water in pools, and to keep gutters free and flowing to help in the abatement process.
Robbins also reported that Illinois Oil Marketing officials have completed testing the fuel system at the South Marina. The Illinois Department of Public Health inspected and licensed the campground. The good news for swimmers is that dewinterizing at the Central Park Pool has begun.
Public Safety Commissioner Mike Murphy read a letter of retirement from 20 year patrolman Frank Kenny. Commissioner Murphy also appreciates the spring look that daffodils and tulips have brought to the town. Because of the windy spring days, he asked residents to keep lids on trash cans.
Murphy mentioned with thankfulness the First Responders' Appreciation Day scheduled for this Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge No. 51 at 903 South Main Street, Hillsboro.
Commissioner Duncan asked that each department's budget forms be to her before the next council meeting on May 14.
With his Water Department hat on, Commissioner Downs said he'd just been told of a water leak on Ash and Eccles Street; the crews would be at work on Wednesday (April 24) morning. The windstorm last week caused a tree to blow over in south Hillsboro as well as one on Virginia Street. He also reported DeLaurent Construction finished the repaving of the parking lot south of the Church Street Pub building and in front of the Red Rooster Inn. Even the striping has been done.
The council next meets on Tuesday, May 14, at 7 p.m. in city hall.