The Marsh Park restrooms were a hot topic at Wednesday’s regular meeting of the Fairbury City Council.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Larry Ray noted a member of the public asked the city to leave the restrooms unlocked and he believes this is not a good idea since vandals could “trash the place.”
The restroom building is currently locked unless the nearby shelter is reserved for a special event.
“Who wants to go to the park when they can’t go to the bathroom?” asked Mayor David Slagel.
One option discussed at the meeting includes unlocking the building during the day and locking it at night. Restrooms at North Park, which include the pavilion and the middle area of the grounds, remain open during the season although there doesn’t seem to be as much vandalism in that area.
“Keep them locked and we’ll see if we can come up with a plan,” said Slagel.
The council also learned about complaints Alderman Jon Kinate received about speeding in town – mainly in the Timber Ridge area. Kinate wondered about placing a flashing portable speed sign nearby. Police Chief Robert McCormick said to solve the problem, citations should be written. Most of the speeding complaints come between 4:30 and 6 p.m. when people return home from work.
In another matter, Slagel Construction was awarded the bid for the Old City Hall entrance work at a cost of $13,200. The other bidder was P&L Construction with a total cost of $14,991.96. The scope of work for Slagel Construction includes removing the door, windows and entire wall below the “historic city hall” sign and framing a new wall with openings for a door and two windows.
Prior to the council meeting, a hearing of the Fairbury Community Ambulance Service District was held. The group approved a resolution proposing a tax rate increase for the City of Fairbury regarding ambulance service provided by Southeast Livingston County Ambulance Service. This proposed increase represents an increase in the “ceiling” or maximum rate which may be levied. They do not anticipate increasing the tax amount except on a gradual basis as needs require.
“We are trying to compete with other agencies that are pulling help away from us,” explained Jim Hargitt with SELCAS, who noted paramedics are hard to find.
A notice has been mailed to taxpayers concerning the proposal and individual hearings are planned in each impacted community. Taxpayers then have 60 days to file a petition in protest of the proposed increase, which is not expected to be implemented until necessary. According to Hargitt, they hope to stay away from the new proposed ceiling rate for many years as this does provide a cushion for the future. Any increase must still be approved by members of each Special Service Ambulance District.
The last tax bump was in 2003 from a maximum of 15 cents per $100 of EAV to 30 cents. The proposed maximum tax rate, from 30 to 40 cents, should last another 15-20 years.
Following an executive session, the council hired three police officers, who will go through the academy and participate in a field training program. The new officers include: Adam Schifferer of Gridley, Tyler Rafferty of Fairbury and Andrew Mills of Odell. A memorandum of understanding was approved for the three officers already on staff as their stipend is being rolled into their pay. They will get an hour of extra pay each day they are helping with field training.
In other action, the Fairbury City Council:
-Authorized a request from Crazy Crains Bar to block Locust Street in front of the business on Saturday, June 29 from 1-3 p.m. for a meet-and-greet with racecar drivers.
-Granted a request from City Clerk Nancy Widlacki to attend the Municipal Clerks of Illinois summer seminar July 25-26 at a cost of $70 and a hotel fee of $94.
-Purchased an extrication cutter for $8,030 to be paid with fire department golf outing funds.
-Approved the consent agenda, which included sidewalk requests on Wanda Lane and Seventh Street.