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  • Kent Casson

First meeting of '24 for council

(Mayor Shane, City Attorney Mann & Zack Lopeman shown Tuesday night)

Chenoa’s Economic Development Council has two new members, following a vote by the Chenoa City Council Tuesday evening.

Doug Barrett and Michael Hollinshead were appointed to serve on the EDC.

“I think they will be a great addition to that group,” said Mayor David Shane prior to the vote.

Commissioner Zack Lopeman told the mayor he would appreciate a “heads-up” on any future appointees ahead of time. Lopeman abstained from voting on the matter.

Communicating with city residents was another topic covered at Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

“The more we tell the community what’s going on, the better they’ll understand,” explained Shane.

City Clerk Alicia Rhoades admitted they are unsure how many citizens are reading the city newsletter and they do not have enough people submitting information for it. E-mails determine if the newsletter is really reaching people so the city is considering doing a drawing for those responding with possible rewards including a discounted water bill or a day at the pool.

“We can kind of validate our time being put into this,” noted Rhoades.

The mayor feels this incentivizes residents to see what is going on in town with issues such as the parks and pool. A newsletter tab is accessible from the city’s main website.

“I think it’s great,” said Commissioner J.E. Myers.

Shane is looking for more input on the issue.

Commissioner Lopeman asked if there was an update on streaming the council meetings. Shane said a system would be tested at the next meeting and the plan is to record council meetings and putting them on the city website for people to view.

An ordinance relating to the rule and regulations of unscheduled intercity buses was approved. This came about, according to Shane, after buses dropped off people in Kankakee and Gardner. Concerns were raised about these people not having a place to go since the city does not have the funding or a place to take care of them.

“This is just to protect us from people being dropped off here,” Shane said.

If a busload is dropped off and the city is unsure where they came from, the McLean County ESDA is contacted.

“I’ve asked (Chief Travis Cornwall) to try and do a little more patrol in town,” added Shane.

“If a bus does drop them off, is there a fine?” asked resident Sally Decker.

“There’s a fine to the operator per person,” replied City Attorney Steve Mann.

During public comment, Larry Leggett asked the status of poor structural buildings in town being fenced off and wondered why this was not up to the owners.

“You need a fence to protect yourself. If you have a fence, that’s the best you can do.”

Last month’s collapse of the old canning factory along Division Street was referred to by Commissioner Myers. Attorney Mann said there was a report on the building a number of years ago which was stalled.

“There have been issues with the building,” Mann explained.

“It’s unsafe and we need to stop it,” added Myers.

Getting the building torn down comes down to a money situation now, reported Shane.

Also during comments, Decker questioned why water bills went up this month. Mayor Shane said the city supposedly used more water than usual. Commissioner Bev Pickett reminded everyone about the recent holiday period which could have contributed to this.

“When you have more people in your house, you have water going up.”

Lopeman asked what the procedure is for issuing an ordinance violation as a tree was taken down by a contractor but not hauled off. It was stacked near the roadway for the city to pick-up. Mann will discuss this ordinance issue with Lopeman.

Shane just received an update on the final draft water plan for the city in which rates will have to be raised to cover the IEPA loan. A presentation is planned at the next council meeting. Shane also expects to start budget work this month.

Minutes were approved from the Dec. 28 special meeting and the executive session on Dec. 12. Bills and payroll were approved except for bills to Gutwein Doors and H.J. Eppel which Lopeman wants to look into further.


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