The Carmi City Council met for the second time in June Tuesday evening, and after much discussion, made some important decisions about the future of infrastructure of the city that will have positive impacts for years to come.
The meeting moved quickly through the first three items on the agenda. Unanimous consent was given toward the donation of $9000 to the Chamber of Commerce for the 4th of July fireworks display as the Council had done in the past.
A resolution to reroute traffic for the Kiwanis Club annual Corn Days celebration was also unanimously approved, as was the prevailing wage ordinance.
Keith Moran of Moran Economic Development approached the Council with two requests. Moran explained that the State is requiring each Enterprise Zone to submit new applications and that his company has so far been 100% successful in getting approval for new applications. An agreement for Moran to provide technical services and assistance for the new application was granted unanimously.
Moran also has been involved in the TIF District for Carmi since 2007, and a proposal for his continued involvement in a new TIF area that will cover the downtown area and East Carmi was also approved.
The floor was then opened for City Electrical Engineer David Coston, who presented the Council with a plan to replace the lower bus switchgear at the City’s Light Plant. Coston proposed a contract with Duke Energy who would assume responsibility for the installation of new equipment and the maintenance and engineering of the switchgear for the plant at a cost of $15,500 a month over a twelve year period.
Coston explained that the lower bus switchgear dates from 1937, and is both a hindrance to the plants reliability and a danger to the plant’s employees. Currently, the City receives $600,000 per year in credits from the IMEA, who the City is contracted with for the next 20 years. If the plant is not able to produce electricity when asked, the City stands to permanently lose those credits.
Through this agreement between the City and Duke Energy, Coston explained that several needed improvements to the Light Plant could be made without a significant capital outlay that the City cannot afford. In addition, it would bring the plant into compliance with IMEA standards, but will also defray expected insurance increases. The City would not be liable for payment until instillation of the new equipment is completed, which would be May of 2017 at the earliest, giving the Council time to budget for the cost, some of which will be lessened by the removal of Coston’s fees for work at the plant.
Several Council members asked questions of Coston about specifics of the deal, which were answered in detail. The Council approved the contract unanimously.
In his report, Mayor Pollard announced that a feasibility study has concluded Carmi could support a new 35 bed motel in the industrial park area, which is also getting interest by some new restaurants. An ATV dealer has inquired about a new location in Carmi and there is interest in a new strip mall next to Walmart. With the Taco Factory set to open next month and Tumble Time continuing to pursue building a new facility, Pollard said that Carmi may be on the verge of a growth spurt that will definitely help the local economy.
Mayor Pollard also announced several upcoming activities. A jeep/rock crawler cruise in will be held Thursday at the parking lot in front of the James Cook State Farm office. Proceeds from the event will go to the White County CEO program. Mayor Pollard will have Bicentennial jelly bracelets available for $5 apiece or five for $20 at the event.
On July 1 there will be music and karaoke at the Burrell Woods Campground shelter from 6 to 8:30pm. On July 2, the Carmi Lions will hold their car show at the White County Fairgrounds, and the Bicentennial concert at the new property next to Burrell Woods will take place on July 4 starting with the Bradshaws performing at 4pm and A Band Called River taking the stage at 6:30. Several vendors have committed to the event, which will conclude in time for the fireworks at 9pm.
Alderman Hayes reported that the new cameras at Burrell Wood were used successfully by the Carmi Police Department to cite a 16 year old driver for doing donuts at the park.
Alderman Lamont announced that the Fire Department had re-elected its officers, and that tensions within the Department seemed to have calmed.
Alderman Headlee said that she had received the six month budget report from Botsch & Associates, and that she and Alderman Winkleman ask city department heads to keep a close eye on spending.
Alderman Blake told the Council of an interaction he had with a resident who praised the City office staff for their hard work and helpful nature.
There was no executive session, and the meeting was adjourned at 7:08pm.