The Nokomis City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting Monday, Nov. 23, with council members present, Mayor Mike Holliday, Commissioners Louis Stauder, Derek Durbin, Ann Brookshire and Jocko Nash as well as City Clerk Rachel Hill. Visitors attended the meeting both in person and via Zoom internet connection.
Minutes from the previous meeting were approved with a couple of corrections suggested by Nash, the first being that the entry that the health insurance cost had actually increased 8.9 percent, not eight percent as recorded. Nash’s second correction questioned the record that said Illinois Department of Revenue was involved with the COVID-19 stabilization grant. Keith Moran, owner of Moran Economic Development, the firm that helped the city develop their business district, attending via ZOOM, confirmed Nash’s correction that IDOR regulations have nothing to do with the stabilization grant and was completely separate.
Later in the meeting in further discussion of the stabilization grant, Nash also questioned a line appearing to disqualify non-Nokomis resident owners who lease business property in the city from applying for the grant. Durbin and Moran pointed out there were definitions included earlier in the document that would allow this class of businesses to qualify to apply for the grant.
Moran went on to point out that businesses that existed in March and were adversely affected by the pandemic would qualify for the grant. He said it was imperative that they complete the paperwork needed in the application packet, including a W-9 form, and that “it must be filled out completely and properly.” The council reflected that the Dec. 4 deadline did not allow much time for applicants, to which Moran responded that deadlines were necessary in establishing the grant initially, but the council did have the ability to extend the deadline.
Upon questioning by the council, he said of the 55 businesses in Nokomis, approximately 30 would qualify for the grant. Moran said that he and Hill could organize the applications into a spreadsheet, which would help the council track the administration and allocation of the grants. Hill said she would put an announcement on the Facebook page and advertise in the paper, as well as post it on the city bulletin board. Nash made a motion to adopt Resolution 2020-21 Nokomis COVID-19 Local Business Stabilization Grant Program. Stauder seconded the motion and it passed on a roll call vote, with Durbin abstaining.
The council also discussed the property at 634 Stanford Street. The property was purchased by the city earlier by paying approximately three years’ back taxes owed. Initial discussion was to put the demolition of the property out for bid. Hill thought the purchase price was around $4,000. Mayor Holliday said he had already received bids, but may be required to put it out for public bid. Nash and Stauder both said another option would be to offer the property itself for auction with the demolition and clean up then being the responsibility of the new owner.
The council agreed this should be the first course of action. Nash made a motion to accept bids on the purchase of the house at 634 Stanford Street, with stipulations to be determined. Durbin seconded the motion and the council approved it unanimously.
Stauder made a motion to approve Hurst-Roche to do an inspection of city bridges. During discussion, it was pointed out the three bridges were on Union, Edwards, and Lena streets. It was believed they last looked at in the early 90s. If needed, repairs could be paid out of Build Illinois money, Stauder thought. Nash asked if the concrete “landmarks” on South Union bridge by Shane Cole would be affected. Durbin seconded the motion and the council approved it unanimously.
Stauder made a motion to table the Farnsworth Group State Street water main replacement to the next meeting. Nash seconded and the council approved. Later during departmental reports, Brookshire reported that the new water meters had been installed at Casey’s and Coalton.
Durbin made a motion to approve the spending of up to $1,250 for the purchase of jackets for city employees as Christmas bonus gifts. Hill had found different examples of light weight active jackets that might be purchased. The jackets were to include the “daughter of the moon” city logo and the words “City of Nokomis.” The commissioners would not be included in the purchase, but could buy the jackets on their own with the order. It was determined 20 jackets would be needed. Nash seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.
Brookshire relayed a request from Angie Dooley of the Downtown Nokomis Association for the council to buy new Christmas ornaments for the city tree. Brookshire thought the city could possibly be reimbursed for the purchase out of the business district grant money. Durbin made a motion the city buy $200 of lights and ornaments for the city tree. Nash seconded the motion, which passed with Brookshire abstaining.
Mayor Holliday reported to the council that the alley behind Maple Street, which was believed to be private, was actually owned by the city.
Stauder reported November revenues of $66,539.65 and made a motion to pay bills in the amount of $34,205.59. The motion was seconded by Nash and approved unanimously.
Durbin made a motion to enter executive session at 7:34 p.m. to close primary employment compensation and performance responsibilities of a specific employee of a public body. The council returned from executive session at 7:56 p.m. Brookshire made a motion to accept the resignation of Hwayoung Yi. The motion was seconded by Nash and approved unanimously.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:57 p.m. on a motion by Nash.