National Pickleball Day was the ideal time for Marilyn Whitmar and Teri Mason to alert the Chenoa City Council of an available grant which would cover all costs of a pickleball court in town.
The court would be located next to new batting cages in the city park. Whitmar and Mason, both representing the Chenoa Revitalization Committee, requested the city pay half of the cost to hire a grant writer, as the information is due by Aug. 31.
“I think the city will benefit from it – all ages,” explained Whitmar.
Nets, lighting and fencing would be included under the grant, if it is approved. Part of the grant writing process is to present community interest by having signed petitions from residents. Petitions will be available at City Hall, the Chenoa Public Library and Chenoa Pharmacy.
“Let’s move forward,” said Commissioner Dwayne Price. “I think that’s a great idea.”
While supportive of the idea, Commissioner Joe Moreland pointed to much going on in a short window, which prompted some concerns.
“Are we realistically going to be able to get that done?” asked Moreland.
“The grant writer seems to think she can get it done,” replied Mayor David Shane.
The Silliman fund could be used to help with the grant writer cost since it is for the betterment of the community. Since the guidelines are specific, the grant writer is unsure if a basketball court can be added at this time.
“We somehow have to make it happen,” noted Commissioner J.E. Myers.
A motion to split the grant writer bill for up to $4,000 was approved by the council.
In other business during Tuesday's regular Chenoa City Council meeting, Moreland outlined some changes he would like to see for sick time. Where a sick day is not used for personal time, he would like to make it so workers can have a mental health day.
“In today’s society, whether you agree with it or not, people need a mental health day,” observed Moreland.
For charitable emergency paid time off, he suggested starting with the city clerk rather than commissioners since they may not be around in four years. Moreland plans to hand all of this over to City Attorney Steven Mann.
Moreland also discussed the water suspension procedure and how he wants it to be done. A late notice is sent out the first Tuesday of the month and city hall will call the customer for a final notice. They will later be shut off and someone at city hall will tell them they are getting their garbage totes removed.
“This is just a procedural change, not an ordinance change,” said Moreland.
After six months, the account closes but if the customer pays in the meantime, things go back to normal. Once the city picks up the totes, Republic quits charging the city for them. The council seemed to agree to this.
Treasurer Bryan Rowold gave a financial snapshot of the city, indicating surpluses in the general and motor fuel funds with a deficit for the swimming pool. The general fund has given the pool $30,000 so far. The TIF fund is up but there is a $298,000 deficit in the water and sewer fund due to water and sewer type projects. The city spent over $400,000 more this year than last year. These income and expense numbers presented were as of July 1.
Myers has set a goal of getting started on ordinance violation reviews, trying to figure out a way to do this without angering residents.
“There are some really egregious violations going on,” Myers stated.
Myers feels property in poor condition is not safe, not healthy and impacts property values for others.
“We want to try to help them. If you need help, you’re going to get it.”
Commissioner Zack Lopeman reported the city has dealt with two split trees and more trees are on the list for the contractor to work on. Tile was patched on Seventh Street and the bump on Division has been filled. Street gutter cleaning and spraying weeds are ongoing jobs.
Price said they are working to fix a wire in the central city park pavilion. He noted the brick building across the street from city hall to the southwest is in poor shape. An inspection was done and a structural engineer is coming Saturday, who will tell the city what needs to be done. The roof and floor are falling in, according to the city.
“Unfortunately, there’s one good building attached to that and we are preserving that for the property owners,” added Price.
Moreland indicated the walls are poured on the city’s clear tank. He believes a conversation needs to happen sooner than later on tearing into Mason Street which is made of bricks as some work needs to happen underneath.