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  • Fairbury News staff

Farnsworth change approved

After much discussion and consideration Wednesday night, the Fairbury City Council voted 5-3 to approve an additional engineering fee for the sewer project.

The original agreement amount from Farnsworth Group, Inc. was $ 1,662,000 and the company adjusted the agreement amount to $1,812,000 which means it was increased by $150,000. An amendment document from the company indicates the May 2018 estimated fee has been surpassed and the additional fee covers remaining construction observation and loan administration services.

Alderman Jon Kinate questioned what kind of attitude the EPA may have toward Fairbury if the city did not approve the extra money. City Superintendent Brett Ashburn noted the EPA requires an engineer to sign-off on the final job.

“They do understand this isn’t something they wanted to do to come ask for more money,” said Sewer Superintendent Brad Duncan.

Alderman Bruce Weber noted everything went well and the job got done but wished Farnsworth would have let the city know ahead of time that there would be an extra cost involved.

“Either we negotiate with them or we pay it because we are going to need to have an engineer sign-off on this,” observed Alderman Lynn Dameron.

Ashburn acknowledged the cost can be a “tough pill to swallow,” but said Farnsworth is reliable and never let the city down. In the end, he feels the city is getting a good plant. Ashburn noted the $150,000 is supposed to be on the high end as the company hopes to come in under that amount.

Also at its regular meeting, the council approved renewing the city’s health insurance with Health Alliance in 2021. Dan Rull of Rullcorp Financial in Danville said this is the second year of the same plan. The insurance went up 4 percent and had gone up 4.5 percent last year. Blue Cross Blue Shield pricing was higher.

“I think they’ve just priced themselves out of the market here,” Rull stated.

The city has put additional money into employee Health Savings Accounts.

The group approved the installation of a new master meter at the water plant for $26,224. According to Ashburn, this is the first stage of cutting the city water loss. The city will give the go ahead for installation and a time will be scheduled in the coming weeks to get it done.

City Hall holiday hours for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve were approved. In the past, the office has closed at noon. City Clerk Nancy Widlacki said these two days are not included in the nine holidays. Employees must use half of a vacation or personal day to get full pay.

Council members approved paying out accrued sick days to qualifying employees. Those who don’t use the days are given them back at $8 per hour. The total expenditure approved was $3,500.

During his City Superintendent update, Ashburn reported the Spotted Owl was approved for downstate stabilization grant money and will be getting funds.

The council also approved the consent agenda, including Nov. 18 meeting minutes, invoice register and overtime report.

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