Extra chairs had to be brought out for last night’s Grayville meeting as nearly 30 individuals were in attendance for a packed agenda. Following the treasurer’s report, 8 Grayville FFA students gave a presentation. Advisor Michaela Greathouse says the students are competing in the ag issues state contest in June. As part of preparation, the kids are required to preview their work at a minimum of 5 forums. You can see the entire presentation at the City of Grayville facebook page as last night’s meeting was live streamed and archived.
Other highlights from the meeting included property demolition updates. Mayor Travis Thompson says another dilapidated house has been taken down, the 7th in the last 9 months. This one, on Warren Street was demolished on January 21st and Thompson says a structure on Commerce Street is next. Thompson has made a focus of trying to clean up properties in town and notes that to do so, he’s had to be proactive in reaching the property owners and the city has been implementing fines for unkempt properties encouraging those landowners to move forward with destruction.
Also last night, new organization, the Friends of Grayville made a request of the city to hold fundraisers. The new organization is largely the result of the city asking the Grayville Days Committee to file as a 501c3 non profit organization which prompted an exodus of leadership from that group. Undaunted and still aiming to make a difference in their city, the new group is moving forward with plans to continue their efforts and some of the events members have helped put on in the past. With that, Andy Brock, speaking on behalf of the “Friends” officially requested support from the city to hold events on June 6th and July 25th. Though still untitled, Brock says one of the events will most likely mirror the successful Mudbug Festival, while the other will mimic or aim to continue the “Hog Roast”. As part of the request, Brock requested for street closures and financial support specifically from the motel/hotel tax funds. Another representative pointed out that the events traditionally bring in 500 to 600 people in reasoning for the city government to provide assistance. Brock went on to say the group currently has 22 members and he expects that number to grow. Moreover, the “Friends” will focus on directly assisting both kids and seniors with all profits raised. Commissioner David Jordan, after checking with Police Chief Burrows, made a motion to donate $1,250 per event and to assist with road closures. Brock says the group meets the first Monday of every month. Hand in hand with that, the Moose Lodge requested and was granted a special event license to operate it’s traditional beer tent at both gatherings.
Andi Ford, representing the Grayville Community Arts Association made a request for use of the Park Pavilion to carry on the Arts Camp this summer. She says 90 young people typically take part and that no one is denied regardless of ability to pay. Letters requesting donations will be going out in the future and Ford noted that last year, the city donated $100. Her request was unanimously granted.
Her husband Doug Ford was next on the agenda and gave an update on the Park Restoration Project. He encouraged those interested to attend meetings which are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 6pm at City Hall.
Tom Cook of Cook Funeral Chapels appeared to check on the possibility of Revolving Loan Funding for maintenance he’ll be having done at his Grayville property’s parking lot. City attorney Jay Walden advised that there is a program available to assist. Commissioner Jordan requested a bit of time to get familiar with options and to meet with Cook personally, but it’s expected there will be an option.
The City officially adopted the USDA Rural Development Grant Agreement. The agreement will assist in reimbursing the city for cleaning of it’s water wells in the amount of $84,000.
The city also took up the Illinois Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant for consideration. The half a million grant will go toward water line replacement and appeared headed for passage. Fiscal hawkeye and finance commissioner David Jordan caught a snag however when he recognized a discrepancy in the cost of the engineering agreement portion. At a previous meeting, the engineering portion was $120,000. Jordan is seeking clarification as the agreement presented last night showed $130,000 and while he signaled it wasn’t a deal breaker either way necessarily, he wasn’t in agreement with moving forward until that detail was reconciled. Therefore, the matter was tabled.
Police Chief David Burrows says the Grayville Police Department roof is again leaking with one of the worst spots directly over the radio console. Burrows provided council with roof bids and said one contractor advised he wouldn’t just cover the current roof as it already has 2 ½ inches of prior roof material and adding to that weight isn’t a good idea. Additionally Burrows says the floors are completely shot in the whole building. He says the heating ducts are rusting through and no heat in the basement is resulting in the plaster collapsing. “It’s in bad shape. I’d hate to see us spend $100,000 to repair a roof on a building that isn’t worth $5,000 if you tried to sell it. It’s a hard pill to swallow, I realize that. But if we’re going to house people in there to work, it needs to be safe, accessible, and weather proof.” Always the voice of reason, Commissioner David Jordan recommended prior to moving on any front that the police commission get together with Chief Burrows and get a full list of all needed projects and look at ballpark figures of projected costs before moving forward.
Mayor Thompson expressed concern over trucks utilizing Water Street and introduced consideration of implementing weight limits on certain roadways. Specifically, heavy trucks are bypassing scales and as Commissioner Chris James says “we don’t have the funds to repair those roads”. Chief Burrows says 10 to 15 tandem trucks are the issue as they’re headed down to the water wells. James says he thinks they need to reach out to the Department of Transportation for guidance.
Mayor Thompson recommended doing away with the dumpster fees for in town utility customers. That motion was passed unanimously and takes effect immediately.
Finally, Thompson sought to clarify procedures in reference to use of the stage. No change in procedure, the motion was to basically clear up any confusion and make obvious that rental of the pavilion gives the user access to the stage if so desired. Council agreed.
An executive session was held Monday night to consider specific consideration with regards to an employee or employees of the police department. Any potential action following however was tabled after that private gathering.