City of Virginia
Regular Meeting Minutes
February 8 th, 2021
Mayor Brunk called the meeting to order at 7:04pm.Roll was called. Alderman French, Pratt, Bowman, Wulf, and Cox all
answered present. Alderman Behrends was not present. This month’s agenda was presented to the council. Alderman Cox made a motion to approve the agenda and Alderman Wulf seconded. Motion carried unanimously. Alderman Pratt made a motion to approve the January minutes and Alderman French seconded. Motion carried unanimously. Monthly bills were reviewed and Alderman Wulf made a motion to approve monthly bills, Alderman Bowman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Treasurer Barrett stated that the state income tax and replacement tax are both up year over year. The motor fuel tax is up as well. Though video gaming is down year over year. The sales tax for the month was $11669.95 and video gaming was $1610.50. Treasurer Barrett stated that the first budget meeting occurred last month with the finance committee. He stated that most of the big stuff was primarily discussed. Public Works Director McClure presented some of the things that he wanted to do. Treasurer Barrett stated that we are about 95% through discussing it all. Everything looks good and will be in place for next year. Treasurer Barrett also stated that we do have the fund for the city to do the jobs that McClure proposed for next year. The VRWS meeting is February 19 at 2pm. This is the annual meeting for the water district. Treasurer Barrett also stated that legislator Norinne Hammond recommended the local CURE program. We had to show eligible expenses like PPE and the city really didn’t have anything like that. Hammond called and said they changed the guidelines so Treasurer Barrett found the city was eligible for $66,000 but the only eligible expenses we had to claim was police payroll. We got approved for $43458.00. This is city funds and has been deposited into the general fund. Treasurer Barrett stated with this money we are good to do these projects that need to be done. There needs to be another finance committee meeting set before the end of the month. Treasurer Barrett stated that we need to allocate funds to some things that need to get done. Treasurer Barrett asked the council to communicate a date with him and if it doesn’t work the first reading is in March, so we can adjust prior to the second reading.
Attorney not present
Public Works (McClure):McClure stated that the city crew has been busy with storms that we had earlier with the freeze. There was a main break on Sylvan St. IL Rural Water Association was called in and they located where it was.
Police Chief (Fanning): Chief Fanning stated that there was an attempted burglary in town, the perp fled but he was found in Menard County. He also stated that there has been a rise in several bad checks being wrote to the gas stations which is being monitored. There was a vehicle theft but we got the vehicle back today, it was found in Decatur. It is being processed right now. There is a suspect and officers have names. There were 76 services calls and 13 traffic stops.
Fire Chief (Reynolds): Chief Reynolds stated that there were no calls. He thanked Randy and the crew for plowing the fire station. He stated that it was nice to know that we can get out and go if needed. Chief Reynolds also mentioned that the roof is leaking at the station. Its not horrible but there is water dripping down. The department is also looking into get a brush truck and possibly spending about $30k-40k. It is something we need especially with country fires and trying to get out in the timber. A smaller truck is more useful for that. Chief Reynolds stated they aren’t sure where the money is going to come from, we are currently looking at grants. There is a committee meeting tomorrow to see if we can come up with something. He stated there are a few for sale in Decatur.
Zoning Board(Merriman): no report
Library Board: no report
Economic Development: no report
Cemetary Board: no report
Park Board: Alderman Cox reported that the pool has been painted and plumbing is repaired. There are new doors and windows in pool house. They will start working on the concrete in the spring. The fence fell down on the southwest side, so they are going to put brand new fence around it. The ball diamonds all ready with new clay. Just need some new lights.
French: Alderman French stated that he seen the guys working the snow today and he appreciates that. He stated that he had some questions on the tree fund and would like to meet with McClure and Barrett to go over some things. McClure stated that we have spent quite a bit of it since the storm we had, the trees were bad but he was unsure how much of it was spent. Alderman French stated that he just has general questions if both of them could help him get some answers.
Pratt: Alderman Pratt stated that he had a question for Treasurer Barrett. He asked Treasurer Barrett if anything had been started about the idea on the street lights? Treasurer Barrett stated that he had not heard. Treasurer Barrett stated that we talked about doing something with Ameren with the street lights and that we lose every year on them as they are levied. We would need to contact Ameren for details on that. Its not about making money on them it is about at least breaking even. Treasurer Barrett also stated that it was also mentioned on getting a head start on some things in the next year, like health insurance. We had an increase and had to make a big change in the plan. Even though it kept cost about the same, it did cause a change in benefits. Treasurer Barrett stated that if we want to make a good decision for the employees, we need to review as early as possible. The pandemic is hard right now, but if we look at for next year when everyone gets back on their feet. Alderman Pratt also mentioned about a new computer system. Treasurer Barrett stated that he would like to start getting some quotes from companies on a municipal computer system. We could incorporate water and sewer as well so all billing could be done together. Treasurer Barrett stated right now, it is so easy to make mistakes and sometimes hard to catch. Every year the auditor says that it is better than last year but at this point we should probably make the switch to something that is designed for municipal financials. All city business could be incorporated together that way if one of the employees isn’t here, the other can still access the information. Treasurer Barrett stated if you guys are ok with spending the CURES funds on things that we need to upgrade; the computer system would be one of them. We could also help the fire department with the brush truck and we still have money left over for Randy’s projects he was wanting to do. It is a big project so we would need to get organized in implementing it.
Bowman: Alderman Bowman would like to thank Randy and the crew for cleaning up the streets. He also stated there is a 0-5% utility tax, you can turn it on and you can turn it off. You aren’t locked in once you get in. He mentioned Ashland does it and I think they are at 2-2.5% but it is based upon the average of your bill. Treasurer Barrett states we wouldn’t even need 1%. Alderman Bowman states it depends on the percentage you want to set. Treasurer Barrett states that it was something that you wouldn’t really notice paying it.
Mayor Brunk asked Treasurer Barrett about the auditors. Treasurer Barrett stated that the auditors said they were going to try and reschedule. Treasurer Barrett said everything has been submitted but they need to come back here to do their final report.
Wulf: Alderman Wulf thanked Treasurer Barrett for his work behind the scenes supporting the city. He also thanked McClure and crew for doing the street clean up, made a lot of people happy. Alderman Wulf agrees with Treasurer Barrett that we should wait until 21-22 past the pandemic when things are better.
Cox: Alderman Cox thanked Treasurer Barrett for doing such a great job. He also thanked McClure and crew for all they do. Alderman Cox asks where we are at on Veltens building. Alderman Wulf asked if the owner has paid taxes back on that? Treasurer Barrett states that he doesn’t think so. Alderman Wulf stated that there are several properties that this owner has that are not in good shape.
Behrends: not present
City Clerks Report
Nothing to report
Mayor Brunk stated that there is a couple who have purchased Roy French’s building. They want to have a bar/restaurant. Liquor licenses that could be used is the one from Dr. Uggs, it is available. They have another restaurant/bar in Sherman. Alderman Wulf asked if it is going to be like a diner? Mayor Brunk states he is not sure but they will be serving food.
Alderman Cox states he supports them having the liquor license that is available. Alderman Wulf states if they want to open a business now, let them. Alderman Pratt states they have tried to buy other things but they were not successful.
- Camera and Safety lights to be purchased for Squad Car
Chief Fanning stated that the camera system in the current squad car is not recording. It is a vital piece of equipment and we really need that feature to function. We are also needing lights on the squad car for safety purposes. Chief Fanning states that the camera system (WatchGuard 4RE) is $5600.00. This includes the camera in the front, back and a prisoner camera inside the vehicle for transport. We have issues with prisoners trying to stash stuff inside the car. Chief Fanning states there are two major highways that we deal with and there are no females on the force so we can’t do searches on them. The females haven’t been searched and they will hide stuff in the car and then we find it later on. There is both cameras and audio inside so we can do interviews inside and it will be audio/visually recorded. This also helps in prosecution. Chief Fanning stated that safety is a big thing especially with officer involved shootings on the rise. This would also help hinder a lawsuit on the city. The camera is the heart of the car. Chief Fanning stated that now a days Virginia is not the same as we grew up before, there have been a lot of changes. There is more traffic on the roads. Chief Fanning stated that we need to look into this because right now we have nothing. Beardstown PD and two county cars have the lights we are needing to get installed and they work well. You can see them from a long way out. Chief Fanning stated it is a possibility we can
get them installed in Jacksonville but he just hasn’t been able to make contact with the guy yet. PDS quoted $1700-
$1800 for the lights but GTSI is going to provide a quote as well. Chief Fanning stated that Jacksonville is a lot closer than an 8 hour round trip. Treasurer Barrett asked Chief Fanning for a ballpark price. Chief Fanning stated the camera system will be about $5600-$5700 and the install will be about $1500-$1800. Treasurer Barrett stated that the police expense is way down so there is room in the budget to do this. He also stated that payroll is down as well. Alderman Wulf states it is a smart move for the officers and liability purposes. Chief Fanning stated he will
make sure to get everyone a final price. With nothing further to discuss, Alderman Cox made a motion to approve the camera and safety light purchase for the squad car. Alderman French seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
- Employee Compensation
Alderman Wulf states that this is in regards to officers once they get their firearms training while they are working for the city. That allows them to back up Chief Fanning if needed. Alderman Cox asked if we had anyone? Chief Fanning states that there is one possibility pending his power test at the end of March. The Academy doesn’t start until June 5th . Alderman Wulf asks how many weekends is that? Chief Fanning stated it is every Saturday for 10 months. He stated that it is a lot of dedication. He also stated that when he got hired he didn’t get compensated, he took it in knowledge but unfortunately not everyone sees it that way. He has had people ask what the training pay was. Chief Fanning also stated that this something that could be scaring people off because they aren’t being compensated for training. He stated that minimum wage would be sufficient while in FTO. He stated that once FTO is completed then a pay increase could be discussed. Chief Fanning also believes that initiative has to be shown. Alderman Wulf stated that we need to do something to get them involved. Chief Fanning said that he understands that no one likes working for free so if we could just give them something to keep them interested and keep them coming back. With nothing further to discuss, Alderman French made a motion to approve minimum wage pay until FTO training is completed for potential officers. Alderman Cox seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Treasurer Barrett asks if council is open to donating to the fire dept. Treasurer Barrett suggests the computer system, brush truck, and the projects that Randy is needing to be included in the budget. The council likes that Idea.
Fire Chief Reynolds asked if the city now owns the piece of land on the square? Mayor Brunk states it is under consideration right now. Alderman French what are the options? Mayor Brunk asks for ideas. Alderman Cox states to maybe ask the people who are buying French’s building if they want it. Mayor Brunk states he may want the lots. Mayor Brunk will follow up and report back to the council. Mayor Brunk would like to see a building. Alderman Cox states maybe the new business owner wants to buy it to add on.
At 7:55pm, Alderman Cox made a motion to adjourn the council meeting. Alderman Wulf seconded. Motion carried unanimously
Reg Brunk, Mayor Ashley Cox, City Clerk