Nokomis Council Buys New Street Sweeper

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The May 28 meeting of the Nokomis city council was called to order by Mayor Russ Foster.  All council members were present.

In his section of old business, Commissioner Mike Holiday gave an update on the proposed new street sweeper.  The model preferred by former commissioner Voils after his research was an Elgin.  A similar unit is currently in service with the city of Taylorville and they were reported by Holiday to be very happy with it.  He said there is one unit currently available for sale and delivery out of Indiana, but if it were purchased in the interim by another buyer, the wait for the next one to be built could be two to four months.  The cost of the unit is $211,595.  

He said the cost to repair the existing 19-year-old unit had been estimated at between $60,000 and $80,000 and that he had been informed parts for that unit were no longer readily available.  He added that the previous council had budgeted for the purchase in the current budget, but had not voted to proceed.  He added the old unit was in such bad shape, the unit was refused as a trade-in.

Holiday said that if purchased, the first payment on the new Elgin sweeper would not be due until 2020 and suggested they use $30,000 of the fund's budget to make a down payment upon purchase and reduce the financed cost of the unit.

After discussion, Durbin expressed concern about the unknown overall budget picture but all the council agreed the new sweeper was needed. Commissioner Jocko Nash made a motion to purchase the new Elgin sweeper at the price of $211,595 with a $30,000 down payment.  The motion was seconded by Durbin and unanimously approved by the council on a roll call vote.

Commissioner Derek Durbin opened the business section of the meeting with the introduction of the budget.  He reported the street and police departments had submitted their budgets, but the water department numbers were pending numbers from Woodard and Curran so that the final city budget could be completed.  Commissioner Ann Brookshire added that she had tentative numbers from Tim Ferguson of Woodard and Curran, but not the final numbers.  City Clerk Kelly Johnston reported she had filed for an extension and suggested the council schedule a special meeting to address the budget.

In a related matter in her section of old business, Brookshire reported that Ferguson was planning to attend the next scheduled meeting to give a report on the condition of the air stripper at the water department.  She said she would inform him they would also have questions regarding the Woodard and Curran draft budget.  

A motion to approve the proposed police body cam policy was made by Durbin, seconded by Brookshire and passed unanimously by the council.  The adoption of this policy then allowed Chief Kenny to apply for reimbursement for the three body cameras purchased by the police department under an available grant.

Commissioner Nash presented an application for a building improvement grant submitted by the bowling alley.  The repairs to the roof over the bar and restaurant area of the facility were estimated at $11,500. The city grant is a 50-50 grant with the city share not to exceed $5,000.  The council voted unanimously to approve it.

Nash then presented a building application submitted by Barbara Krager to add a concrete pad and awning to the beer garden at her establishment.  He said the proposed 14' x 24' project "looks to be in order" and presented a motion to approve the application.  Durbin seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

In a related matter, Durbin made a motion to approve a band application submitted to the city by Krager to have the band Sunshine Daydream perform at her business grand opening event on June 8 from 6:30 to 10:30 that evening.  Krager, in attendance, added the stage would be set up in such a way that the sound was not projected at the surrounding neighborhood.  Holiday seconded and the permit was unanimously approved.

Durbin then made a motion to approve payment of city bills in the amount of $77,214.79.  The motion was seconded by Nash and passed on a roll call vote by the council.

Earlier in the evening, the council heard from visitor Don Huber who lodged a complaint about water build up on his property at 721 School Street. Due to a problem with drainage on Singer, the water comes up to his garage any time there is rainfall in excess of one inch.  Commissioner Holiday said he and the street department would be out to inspect the problem the next day.  They cautioned him that if the concrete over the culvert, believed to be the problem, needed to be replaced as a result of any repairs, that would not be the city's responsibility, which he acknowledged.

Members of the Chausse family were also in attendance for the visitor section of the meeting for the discussion on progress of the planned mini-golf course.  It was reported the insurance representative would be out to inspect the site on Wednesday and that Ameren was coming on Friday to do preliminaries for the lights.  Nash suggested the city could send out a crew to scrape off the top layer of soil for site preparation.  It was added that the street department had some excess pea gravel from a previous project that could also be used here to help reduce costs.  Brandi Chausse asked the council if volunteers would cause any issue with insurance for the city.  The council did not believe this would be a problem and added they planned to ask the insurance rep about liability questions with providing golf clubs for the facility.  Additional discussion also involved adding smart cameras to the site to help deter vandalism.

The council went into executive session at 7:55 p.m., came out at 8:56 p.m., and voted to approve a motion to hire Garet Reynolds as part-time summer help effective immediately.  Brookshire then made a motion, seconded by Durbin, to accept the resignation of City Clerk Kelly Johnston, effective June 30.  The motion was approved unanimously.  In a follow-up action, Brookshire then made a motion, also seconded by Durbin, to accept the application of Rachel Hill as the new city clerk, effective July 1.  The motion passed.

Durbin made a motion to increase the salary of street department employee Stevie Guinn immediately.  The motion was seconded by Berkshire and passed unanimously on a roll call vote.

Nash moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 p.m.

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