City of Virginia
November 14th , 2022
Regular Meeting Minutes
Meeting Called to Order: 7pm
Roll Call: Cox, Knous, Wulf, Bowman, Pratt, Martin all answered present
Agenda Approval: Mayor amended agenda, moving new business B and C under Guests. Alderman Bowman made a motion to move “New Business B and C to “Guests”, Alderman Cox seconded. Motion carried unanimously. Alderman Cox made a motion to approve the agenda and Alderman Knous seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Minutes Approval: Alderman Knous made a motion to approve the minutes, Alderman Pratt seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Approval of Monthly Bills: Alderman Pratt made a motion to approve the monthly bills, Alderman Bowman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Sales Tax: $15431.22
Video Gaming: $5067.49
Mr. Elliot gave the council a packet to review. We made a presentation last year. We are looking at water and sewer projects as they are in need of repairs/replacement. The project presented last year was around 5.5 million. The rates have increased since last year and the trend is that it will be continuously increasing over the future years. The City of Virginia is what is considered “poverty level” so you are eligible for a grant for the project. This time we looked at doing three different projects, a small, medium, and large scale project. We would work the public works committee to find out where the biggest issue is. There are maps in the packet. The large project is about 5.5 million, the medium is 4 million, and the small 2.4 million. Elliot stated that the second page of the packet shows what the rate increases would be per each project. There are numbers that reflect without grant money and then there are numbers that reflect with grant money. Elliot states that taking advantage of the lower interest rates will help lessen the impact on the community. At some point you are going to have to get this fixed either now or later. Alderwoman Martin asks the status of federal grants. Elliot replied that the grant is a federal grant through the USDA. There is state funding but it is very competitive. They haven’t set a date of a deadline. Elliot states that he can see if the city qualifies to apply for the state funding or not. Alderwoman Martin asks if we could do it in phases. Elliot states that you can pick one of these projects and then we would get started. With a bigger project, there is a lot of things that you can do one time instead of doing smaller projects and having to repeat processes. Alderwoman Martin asks if there is a timeline for the grant? Elliot stated that the USDA grant there is no deadline. Alderwoman Martin asked what the engineering fees would be to apply for a grant. Elliot responded his guess was around $6000 in engineering fees to apply for it. Elliot stated that if you want to try and get the state funding grant, we would need to start the process as soon as possible. McClure stated that we have been talking about this for about a year. We missed the ball with the cheaper interest rate. McClure was hoping this winter we could get something going. Alderman Cox agrees something needs to be done. McClure states we have money in the ARPA funds. McClure stated that the last time that crew flushed hydrants there were a lot of problems. Some of the parts for them are not made anymore. Alderman Martin asked if Mr. Elliot could assist with the grant writing. Elliot replied that they can but there are parts that the employees could do as well. Elliot stated the first thing that the city needs to do is send letters to our legislators asking of they have any funding available to help with the project. Alderwoman Martin states that the water committee needs to look at this and make a recommendation because we need to do something. McClure states we could set up a meeting and review this. After review, we can invite Mr. Elliot back.
Mr. Miller passed out information to the council. The information distributed to the council pertains to a program called Safe Ride to School. It is a great program that provides improvements to sidewalks, bike paths, etc. for school aged children. It is a two-year cycle that is administered through IDOT. The next cycle is due in September 2023. Any improvements have to be city owned and city maintained. It can be anything related to improving sidewalks, signing, striping, pedestrian crossings that are associated to the children’s passage to school. It must be a direct path to school within less than 2 miles from school. McClure states we could go down Illini and Morgan St. Alderman Wulf states we could use it for LED lighting for school crossing. Miller states yes, if it is a way to lead to the school. Some municipalities use these funds to ensure ADA compliance. Alderman Martin asks about the survey. Elliot it is passed to the community and to the students in class. The more people you have respond to the survey, the better the chances of getting the funding. Miller states the average request is about $25000. Miller states it would be beneficial to determine what the wishes are and figure out a dollar figure from there. Alderman Martin asks the cost of the application. Miller states it is about $5000-$6000. McClure states we should probably have a committee meeting and discuss this. Miller states that it would be nice to have a plan together by Spring. McClure added we could write to the legislators like with the water. Miller states it never hurts to write to your legislators.
Mr. McMillan stated the county is going to have to put together this national hazard mitigation plan in order to get FEMA mitigation money. Roger Lowder is our county coordinator and he will be putting this plan together. Each community has to put a list together of projects like water, sewer, security, etc. A few examples would be storm shelters or tornado shelters. It would be beneficial to get a committee together and discuss the projects so we can make the list. McClure states we have been discussing a one call option to call individuals to communicate information. McMillan stated that he thought that could qualify. He stated the paperwork states any project that is used to prevent life and property damage. McMillan stated that he would be happy to help with this if the council would like. Alderwoman Martin asks if there is a timeline? McMillan thinks there is but not sure when the next meeting is. McClure will give Roger a call. McClure would like Mr. McMillan to get some people together so we can discuss this, McMillan said that he would do that. Alderman Martin states maybe FS has someone we can contact because they probably have someone there that does emergency planning.
- Discuss and/or Purchase Health Insurance for City Employees
Alderman Bowman states that the finance committee met and we went through different plans and rates. We made the recommendation to go through Wessler Brothers and go with a plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield. The city would be paying 80% and the employees would be paying 20%. Alderman Bowman would also like to recommend dental and vision for the employees funded by the city.
Mr. Wessler reviewed the plan that the committee selected. If anyone has any questions about the plan itself, he would be happy to answer them. Mr. Wessler stated if we are going with a December 1st effective date, we will need to get the ball rolling this week. McClure asks if Wessler could meet with the employees and explain the plan. Wessler states yes. Alderman Wulf asked if the dental and vision would be extra. Wessler replied according to Alderman Bowman, the city would be paying for that part of the insurance.
Alderman Pratt makes a motion to accept the plan recommendation and appointing Wessler Brothers as the agent. Alderman Martin seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
- Discuss and/or Purchase Property Insurance for the City of Virginia
Alderman Knous stated that we have discussed with Risk Management Association in regards to the property insurance for the city.
Mr. Little stated Risk Management Association focuses on small municipalities insurance. Little refers to the packet that the council was given. Little states that we have really focused on keeping the deductibles low for our customers. Alderwoman Martin asks if the park is included in this? Little replied yes. Alderman Knous added the Workers Compensation is included in this quote as well. Little confirmed. Alderwoman Martin asks what the recommendation from the committee is? Alderman Bowman states this is due December 1st. Little states that he would be happy to answer any questions the council may have.
Alderman Cox made a motion that the council would like to hear what Snedeker Risk Management has to offer for the insurance. Alderman Wulf seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Ayres stated that the speeding is still occurring near his residence. He asks about the police chief. McClure states that he is coming, we are waiting on fingerprinting and background checks to come back. He has found a place to live. Ayres asks if we have a relationship with the county with the main road that goes through town. McClure states they do assist occasionally.
Ordinance Officer this is a list of cases that we have been working on. There is about 50 on the list and 4 cases are closed. I have spoke with about 11 of them and everyone has been very receptive. We will work with anyone if they need an extension or whatever, just call me. The first court date is Dec 13. I have about five cases of non compliance that we need to discuss with Attorney Veith. I am writing on the notice what specifically needs to be done.
Police Chief no report
Fire Chief 4 calls: mutual aid call, 3 car accident on 125, car fire on 78, and trash fire
Zoning Officer no report
Park Board Alderman Cox stated everything is pretty much winterized now. The Spooktacular event was a huge success. The new lights are on the big diamond now. The gate will be closed soon to deter traffic. There is a 10pm curfew up there.
Library Board no report
Economic Development no report
Cemetery no report
TIF McClure states this will be discussed later
Attorney Veith stated the ordinance authorizing TIF funds to be utilized at the East Side bar. They wanted to get started on it and they are asking a waiver of the second reading, this will take 5 votes to finalize it or 4 votes to pass it but then you would have to come back for another meeting to finalize it.
Cox Alderman Cox thanks the city guys for picking up the brush. He then stated that the Ordinance Officer is doing a good job but his main focus for this was the buildings on the square, not torn screens or telling residents to paint their house in November. Maybe we need to get the ordinance committee together and discuss what our focus is here.
McClure asks if anyone ever read the International Property Maintenance Code? There is a lot of stuff in there and she is just doing her job. Alderman Cox stated he understands. McClure states we are trying to get the town cleaned up. We aren’t getting the tax money that we used to due to the older homes, people getting their taxes waived for various circumstances etc. We need to figure out how to get more revenue.
Knous Alderman Knous stated he talked to Chief Shumate, he will be moving in at the end of the month. He has taken one refresher course and has one he is working on now.
Wulf Alderman Wulf stated that he received several calls on brown water. The light by the school on the highway is not working. McClure states he thinks it has something to do with the solar powered battery. Alderman Wulf added Christmas on the Square will be the first weekend in December again.
Bowman Alderman Bowman stated the tax levy was presented to the finance committee and we are good with that. He also has concerns about brown water. McClure states we are trying fix this, we brought Mr. Elliot here to start getting this taken care of. Alderman Bowman also mentioned people are concerned about leaf burning. Alderman Knous asks if it is a state law that you are not supposed to burn certain things? McClure states you cant burn anything that is man made. Alderman Bowman mentioned the boil order notices. Some people stated they believe they got a boil order notice too. McClure stated that there was a boil order in Grand Villa due to a leak. We put a notice on Facebook but it got misunderstood and the whole town thought we were on a boil order. Alderman Knous asks if we can have Susan to put an announcement on Facebook? Alderwoman Martin responded yes but we can also send it to WLDS.
McClure states we have to send out a cross connection control letter to all residents in town. We thought maybe we could put something out to see if we can get peoples phone numbers/emails and If we do get the one call we can transfer those over. Alderwoman Martin asks do we have a company in mind for this? McClure states yes, there are other water departments that have it. Alderwoman Martin states maybe we can get some more information and it can be presented next month.
Alderman Bowman added that Beardstown St has become like a main highway. People are scared to walk or have their kids ride their bikes because of the speeding. McClure states he thinks once the Chief gets here, he hopes things will slow down.
Pratt nothing to report
Martin Alderwoman Martin asks about the street signs. McClure responds that they are ordered and on the way. She also asked if we have gotten a bill for the recycling bin and if we could talk with GFL and do something in that direction? McClure stated we haven’t gotten the bill yet and maybe we can get a committee meeting in January in regards to that. McClure would like to negotiate a contract bill. Alderwoman Martin states we need to negotiate a really good contract like Ashland that doesn’t pay anything.
City Clerks Report
Nothing to Report
McClure would like to applaud the Virginia Park Board, especially Krystal Myers, for hosting the Spooktacular event, we hope that is done next year. McClure stated he was sent a copy of Facebook and did not like what he saw. They are bashing a city employee about property management code. I think this person owes her a public apology both in person and on Facebook. The man that is bashing the employee is also the same man that passed the property management code back in 2017.
No Unfinished Business
- Tax Levy FY 22/23 (1st Reading)
With nothing further to discuss, Alderwomen Martin made a motion to approve the Tax Levy and Alderman Bowman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
- Ordinance Authorizing use of Tax Increment Financing funds for repair and renovation of East Side Bar at 102 S Main St. (waiver of second reading requested)
With nothing further to discuss, Alderman Cox made a motion to approve the ordinance authorizing use of TIF funds for repair and renovation of Eastside Bar. Alderman Wulf seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Zoning Officer Merriman stated that he had someone approach him about the solar roofs but there is no ordinance in regards to that. Alderwoman Martin states we could maybe work on that in January.
Pat Noltensmeier asks if the recycling bin has been repaired? McClure states no. Alderwoman Martin states we do have curb side recycling back. McClure states we got the cardboard one back but we haven’t fixed the other one. McClure stated that A Team is offering to set a bin out for recycling and we possibly will go into negotiations with GFL. Noltensmeier asks if that was the original intention. McClure states he researched and we are spending $12000 for this. Alderwoman Martin states you can take it to Jacksonville to GFL and they will take it.
At 839pm, Alderman Pratt made the motion to adjourn and Alderman Bowman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Randy McClure, Mayor Ashley Cox, City Clerk