Hopper Named Chief Deputy In Hillsboro

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Hillsboro native Tim Hopper was named to a newly adopted ordinance (by a unanimous vote) Chief Deputy post within the Hillsboro Police Department at the Hillsboro City Council meeting Tuesday evening, Nov. 12. Hopper began his law enforcement career as an auxiliary policeman locally and became a patrolman in 2006. His promotion was also approved by a 4-0 vote after that motion was amended to include his $55,000 per year salary.

Cary Eisentraut was the primary spokesperson for the Central Park Revitalization Project spearheaded by the Imagine Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Committee and the city's Natural Resources Committee. Brian Limbaugh also augmented Eisentraut's presentation. The long-standing swimming pool and the recently resurfaced pickleball courts will anchor the new developments from their southern locations in the park; the often unused open space north of the driveway to the pool is the committees' focus. Stage I would be an all-inclusive (ADA compliant) playground for Ages 5-12 that will require approximately 5,600 square feet of space.

Stage II is a splash pad, a feature only found currently (within driving distance) in Edwardsville. The planned-for addition will include 17 jets with activators and timing mechanisms. Stage III includes building trails, fencing, sidewalks, and landscaping. Stage IV would transform the Carl Springer baseball diamond, used in the past for baseball and softball games for younger athletes, into a facility to be used for wiffle ball and kick ball as well as organized youth activities.

The estimated cost for all phases was $275,000, most of which the committees hope to raise through donations. The first step, though, was gaining approval of the general concept by the city council. That approval was enthusiastically but cautiously given.

Finance Commissioner Katie Duncan submitted October bills for $410,009.22 for approval for payment in November; that was given 4-0. A Tax Increment Financing (TIF) reimbursement was also approved. It was a $2,000 payment to Hubbart Wood to fulfill the second year of a three year agreement with the business along the Rt. 16 western entrance to Hillsboro. Mayor Brian Sullivan commented that the business has brought many visitors to town.

The second payment was for a facade grant reimbursement to Chris Hamm of the Resale Shop. Hamm presented a receipt for $3,407, which meant the city's 50% share was $1,703.50. That amount was approved unanimously.

Permission to purchase ballistic vests for the Police Department was given; the city will not spend more than $5,000 on the project as they received a grant to help with the purchase; the vests now in use are nearing their expiration date. Also approved was an agreement with Hurst-Rosche Engineers for the MFT program. No monetary amount was included. Engineer Scott Hunt explained it's the standard IDOT agreement with the state organization hoping for approval by December 1. Hunt also said the amount for funds received in the last three months through the program is up 57% because of the latest Capital Funding agreement.

The council approved June 20, 2020, as the date for a fireworks display at 1 Fox Hollow Drive in Pinnacle Point. An amended motion gave the city permission to move a dump truck from the Waste Water Department to the Street Department; because the two departments draw revenue from different funds, accounting adjustments will be made. The original motion called for a swap between the departments, but Woodard & Curran's Tim Ferguson said the Sewer Department had no need for the truck the Street Department couldn't use.

The only bid for the Dodge Durango last used by Police Chief Randy Leetham as a Canine Unit carrier was for $101 when it was offered as surplus property. Upon advise from City Attorney Kit Hantla, the council tabled action on that bid.

After a 28 minute executive session, the council agreed to initiate legal proceedings leading to the demolition of the property at 324 S. Main Street.

Hunt said the Rountree and Summer Street project is to be bid out in February or early March so work can begin as school ends. The deadline for Phase I of the Main Street Project grant submission has been moved back to "sometime in 2020" by IDOT, and Hurst-Rosche is working on permitting for the proposed bridge structure at Central Park.

Interim Community Planner Jonathan Weyer said his work on the city's strategic plan's first phase is under review by the Planning Commission and others, and he thanked the Central Park subcommittee for all the work they've done so far. 

He also said the first e-commerce informal gathering went well; the next is scheduled for February 1 at CTI with Brian Carver as the presenter.

Parks, Public Properties, and Streets Commissioner Daniel Robbins began the commissioners' reports by saying that among other pre-winter activities the boat used for lake patrol has been winterized and stored. Some wood has been split at the campgrounds for sale next spring, and the pool shower house, the Fourth of July Point restrooms and the South Marina Restaurant have been winterized.

Sherwood Campground is closed for the season, and de-icers now have electrical outlets at the North Marina. Also, anyone interested in leasing the South Marina Restaurant at Glenn Shoals Lake for the 2020 season should contact city hall as the restaurant is available for leasing.

The street sweeper has transmission problems, and sand and salt was applied to city streets because of the ice and snow storm that closed local schools on Tuesday, November 12.

Public Safety Commissioner Michael Murphy said the demolition of the house at 1116 South Main was the 40th demolition in the city in the past five years. He also set the stage for Hopper's promotion by explaining the extra administrative duties that Chief Randy Leetham had to handle after Sgt. Kelly Brewer retired, and he praised Leetham's willingness to pick up extra shifts to reduce overtime requirements for his fellow officers.

Patrolman Adam Fath just graduated from the police academy; according to Murphy, he graduated first in his class of 36 and is ready for duty. Too, he expressed department condolences for Patrolperson Veronica Green, whose mother recently died.

As of November 4, 266 Abatement notices have been sent; 28 citations were issued for noncompliance.

Mayor Sullivan thanked the veterans of the community for their service and those who participated in Veterans Day ceremonies.

 The mayor also said the city's website is up again after 18 months of work. Updates are needed, so if users see a mistake, they are asked to contact city hall.

The council next meets on Tuesday, November 26, in city hall; the public is welcome to attend.

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