The Toulon City Council approved purchase of a new Kubota mower and a taser gun for the police department at its regular meeting Monday evening. The council also decided to limit police coverage to 48 hours per week and cap Chief Terry Engels at 32 hours per week.
After some discussion, the council voted 6-0 to spend $7,000 plus trade-in to purchase at $14,180 a 2010 Kubota zero-turn, 60”-inch discharge mower. Mayor Rick Collins felt the decision should be given additional consideration, “as this is not a good time to be buying a mower (as prices are high in the spring).”
Alderwoman Misty Turnbull felt, however, that a good deal was being offered by A.C. McCartney of Wataga, and the council backed her up.
The purchase of the taser with holster and cartridges was not to exceed $1,000 and should come in at about $850.
The Police Committee also recommended and council approved purchase of an evidence locker with keys for the chief and sheriff.
During the discussion of the police topic, Mayor Collins noted that, “We’re getting plenty of complaints about the park, abandoned housing and abandoned cars.”
TIF District aired; more information to be provided
The Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District Committee recommended and the council approved reimbursing local businesses for improvements. Cakes Et Cetera and Gerber’s Daisies will be reimbursed for 75 percent of certain work on their buildings and the Toulon Market will be reimbursed 50 percent on its new awnings.
No dollar figures were provided, but Collins said that he was preparing a list of all $270,000 in TIFexpenditures made since the beginning of the TIF District several years ago, which will be published in The News.
Toulon resident Josh Barbee presented a letter to the mayor that requested a detailed listing of all TIF expenditures to date. Barbee, an architect and city planner by training, told The News that he did not favor TIFs unless the expenditures were targeted and part of an economic development vision.
Collins noted that the present TIF District cannot be dissolved until 2013.
The TIF District covers most of Toulon and will receive a little more than $100,000 this coming year in property tax money for economic development. If there were no TIF District, the money would be divided among all the units of local government such as schools, county, townships, community college and others.
Look for further discussion of this topic in The News.
Methodist sidewalks, derelict housing
In other business, the mayor noted that the Methodist Church had requested sidewalk repair in front of the church. Collins noted that it will be May or June before the project can go on the city’s schedule.
Collins stated that one owner of an abandoned house would like the Toulon Fire Department to torch the house. Alderman Larry Hollis, also a member of the fire department, said that this could be done, with Illinois EPA approval, so long as the building is far enough removed from other buildings.
“What can we do as a city to clean up derelict properties?” the mayor asked rhetorically. “The owners often can’t afford to demolish them.”
The new software program for the city will be installed today (Thursday) and administrative clerk Barbara Cantwell will be given training. The new software will allow for the consolidation of all city accounts on one program and should save the city significantly in auditing costs.
Alderwoman Misty Turnbull requested “the same donation as last year” for the Stark County Fall Festival, thought to be $800, which was approved by the council.
At the end of old business, recently elected 1st Ward alderman Frank Galleciez was sworn in by City Clerk Sandy Langdon. New 3rd Ward alderman Rob Finney had a longstanding conflict and could not attend.