Trustee proposes changes to pair of village ordinances

RANTOUL — Village board trustee Terry Workman proposed the adoption of two ordinance changes at last Tuesday’s village board study session.

Citing what several on the board deemed a lack of communication over the appointment of an interim economic development director, Workman urged the village ordinance allowing expenditures of up to $35,000 by the village administrator without board vote to be reduced to $10,000.

Asked by Mayor Chuck Smith what prompted the proposal, Workman cited the administrator’s decision to award a three-month contract for Rebecca Motley to serve as economic development director. That action came after the village’s contract with Center for Community Adaptation, for which Motley worked, expired.
“We just felt like we should have a say in this,” Workman said.

Some trustees said Motley’s temporary contract extension caught them by surprise as they found out about it in the Rantoul Press. They agreed Snider had the authority to make the hire, “but we felt we should have had some say in the amount of money being spent,” Workman said.

Snider said it was important for the village to have an econ director in place due to several projects that are in the works, including a land bank agreement, enterprise zone expansion, the possibility of additional jobs and the anticipated groundbreaking of the new Shields auto facility near Walmart.

In previous years, the administrator could approve purchases up to $10,000 without board approval. But three years ago, that amount was raised to $35,000 in some cases. The reason was it took up to 45 days before some bills were being paid. He said other central Illinois towns allow maximum purchases up to $25,000. However, none of them have their own electric, airport or gas utilities.

Workman suggested the amount be amended to $15,000. 

Central maintenance proposal
Workman also proposed that the central maintenance department be moved from the public works department back to the recreation department, where it had been for years.

He said he made the proposal “to make things work more smoothly and efficiently than they are now and ... to take some anxiety away from the situation.”

Snider said making that shift would change what is now a balanced budget to a deficit one. Snider and Comptroller Pat Chamberlin attempted to explain the reasons why, but no one seemed to understand.

Trustee Chad Smith said it recently took an extended time for a fire truck to be repaired, which normally would have taken far less time.

The department’s third-newest fire truck developed brake problems, and it took at least three weeks for its repair.

“For someone who does interior firefighting, that was unacceptable,” Smith said. “Two months ago we didn’t have that problem.”

In investigating the problem, Public Works Director Greg Hazel told the Press the situation was complicated. Due to a communication problem, central maintenance was not alerted to the vehicle’s problems until a couple of days had passed. Mechanics then diagnosed the problem and had to find the needed replacement parts, “securing pricing, enter the requisition and secure approvals, order the needed materials and then actually perform the repairs,” Hazel said, adding that an additional problem was also discovered and repaired, which delayed the truck’s return even more.

Trustee Hank Gamel said he would like to wait to see the results of the village audit before any vote is taken to make the change of the central maintenance department. Chamberlin said the audit results should be available in July.

Flooding problem
In other business, trustee Sam Hall asked for an update on a flooding problem in a residential area on Illinois Drive. Snider said one informational meeting was held that he and Rantoul City Schools Superintendent Michelle Ramage attended. He had nothing further to report.

In the public comment section of the meeting, resident Jasmyne Boyce informed the board that she had been the victim of an assault and battery during the Memorial Day weekend by the holder of a local liquor license.

Boyce cited village code that requires any liquor license holder who is guilty of such action to either be fined or have their license revoked or suspended.

She said charges are pending against the individual, and she said she would expect the village liquor commission to meet and discuss the matter.

Debbra Sweat asked why the village’s human relations commission is not still active and said it is her understanding that the appointments have been allowed to expire.

Sweat said she noticed there were a number of committee/commission appointments forthcoming and there is “not much diversity on that list of appointments either.”

“I know there are minorities in this community who would be willing to serve on those committees,” Sweat said.
Chuck Smith said he would look into resurrecting the human relations commission and asked Sweat to provide the names of some people who might be willing to serve.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com
 

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