Toulon Council looks ahead to needs

New generator, water tank to cost $700K

By Jim Nowlan
[email protected]

In a routine, two hour meeting Monday, the Toulon City Council looked ahead to its needs, which include a first-time back-up generator for water services and a larger ground-level water tank, tuck-pointing of the leaking old city hall, new sidewalks and tree planting.

Finding the money to meet the needs is the big challenge, the mayor and council agreed. The Council is in the preliminary stages of developing a budget for the coming year.

The big items are for a generator and water tank that will be larger than the present one, which consulting engineer Josh Harken said, “has all the signs of leaking.”

The generator would provide back-up electricity for pumping city water.

Harken presented the council with a proposed total budget of about $76,000 for consulting engineering services for the project, which would itself cost more than $700,000.

“The project will only cost more, the longer we wait,” observed Mayor Larry Hollis, who added that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is putting pressure on the city to do the project. For example, the EPA believes the city should have a larger on-ground storage tank than at present.

“I have talked with the State Bank of Toulon, and the bank is willing to work with us on financing,” said Hollis. “We will probably have to raise water rates as well, which I hate to do, but water is a business and we generate income to provide the service from water users.”

No decisions were made as to when to proceed with this project.

Sidewalk work needed
“We need to start replacing sidewalk,” said Hollis. “For example, we should put in sidewalk on Jefferson Street out to the new library. In some places, the sidewalk is no longer existent, and people have to walk on the street.”
“We haven’t done much sidewalk work in a long time,” Hollis continued, “and it will be expensive because today all new sidewalk must be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.”

“I’m just throwing this need out to the council as we look ahead,” said Hollis.

Public Works Director Mike Richardson told the council that the water maintenance building (the old concrete block city hall) leaked badly during a recent ice-rain-snow event.

Richardson said the building must be tuck-pointed to prevent further leakage, after which it would have to be painted and the roof flashing would also have to be replaced.

Richardson estimated the cost of the tuck-pointing would be $17,000.

“We will start this when we come up with the money,” said Hollis, adding that work might begin in the spring.

“I think that I shall never see. . .”

Hollis also asked the council to think about tree planting.

“We have $2,000 in our budget each year for trees,” said Hollis, “but we never spend it. We don’t replace many trees.

“I will talk with Al Curry (retired high school science teacher) and ask him to come up with some ideas, plans for tree planting.”

The mayor, council and Richardson appeared to feel that tree planting could be relatively inexpensive.

Richardson discouraged planting trees under power lines along streets (the city is responsible for the ground between sidewalks and the street), where later they become entangled with the lines.

Hollis said the city should work with citizens to encourage and help them to plant trees on their property, while the city would do so in open areas that it controls.

The new playground equipment that has been purchased will be placed in the park soon, probably in April when the ground will accept the concrete footings. Hollis said the Toulon Civic Association, of which he is also a part, will help with this work.

Deputy City Clerk Barbara Cantwell reported that grocery store operator Chad Patel had requested a liquor license for the new store in Toulon, which she said suggested the store would open soon.

Hollis reported that he had escorted representatives of Schnuck’s Grocery chain around the city to look at possible sites for a tele-pharmacy. The visitors made no commitments but seemed interested in the possibility of creating such a store in Toulon.

In the only formal action of the evening, the council voted 5-1 to award a one-year contract for $9,000 to Teresa Macy to do the water billing, which she does at present on an hourly basis.

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