Valorie Eversole Daily Union Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — The Shelbyville City Council approved a resolution of support during its regular meeting Monday evening for a state grant to provide students a safe route to school on the north side of town.
The Safe Routes to School program by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) encourages students to bike and walk to school by making sidewalks and bike paths to safely do so. Grants are project funding up to $200,000.
“Currently IDOT is soliciting projects,” city engineer Alan Spesard told the council. “The grant funding is 80 percent federal funds and 20 percent local.”
After meeting with Shelbyville schools superintendent Denise Bence, Spesard proposed installing and improving sidewalks from east of the railroad crossing on Ninth Street west to Will, south to North Sixth Street and west toward the Moulton Middle School campus. Estimated cost for the project is $189,504.
“This proposed route will connect to the submitted sidewalk improvements located along North Morgan Street from First Street north to Sixth Street,” Spesard said. “It would also tie into the East Ninth Street improvement project.”
The council also approved a resolution of support for the new Transportation Infrastructure Construction Program for State and Local Governments, which is a new capital bill.
The council approved a grant application from Coles County Regional Planning and Development to create a Shelby County Hazards Mitigation Plan
The plan would help to apply for federal funds in a disaster situation.
“This was pushed by FEMA for the past several years,” said Shelbyville Police Chief David Tallman, “If Jared Rowcliffe (Shelby County EMA administrator) recommends this, we should seriously consider it. Jared is very knowledgeable. I would put my trust in him.”
“It wouldn’t hurt us in case of an emergency,” said commissioner Thom Schafer. “It would improve our chances for FEMA funding it.”
In other business, the council heard the report on the annual audit presented by Mose Yockey Brown and Kull accountant Hope Brown. Brown reported that the city had no findings and that everything was in compliance.
Commissioner Bill Shoaff asked that a cemetery employee be moved to the sewer department to fill a position left by a recent retirement. This would bring both water department employees and sewer employees up to four people each.
“The street department and the sewer department work great together. We send one water employee and one sewer employee together out on a call,” Shoaff said.
Mayor Jeff Johnson said he was hesitant to replace the position with the ongoing negotiations with the operating engineers.
“Things are still up in the air with negotiations. Until we have a better idea of what the new contract will cost us, I think we should wait. We haven’t replaced other recent retirements,” Johnson said.
Shoaff countered, “Everybody is going to have to work together to help save money. We have an employee who is ready to go over now.”
Commissioner Gib Smart added that the park or cemetery departments could spare an employee right now and that filling the position could wait until after the negotiations are settled.
The council voted 3-1 to allow the employee move.
The council also authorized city attorney Jack Kiley to draw up an ordinance to change the council meeting time from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. the first and third Mondays of the month. The council is expected to approve the ordinance at the February 3 meeting and the time change would be effective at the February 17 meeting.
In new business, Schafer told the board that the street department bucket truck needed to be replaced. He noted that the estimate to repair the truck was more than $10,000. He asked to put in a bid for a truck that Shelby Electric Cooperative has to sell which has high miles due to road time, but the bucket mechanics is in very good condition.
Schafer also reported that he is replacing a heating unit in the department shop. Estimated cost is between $3200 an $3400.
Kiley reported that he heard back from the current owner of the Lidster Hotel and gave him 30 days to board and barricade the building. Kiley was asked to have a procedure in motion that if the owner is not compliant withing the 30 days, the city can barricade the building and prepare it for demolition.
“If he doesn’t act by then, we (the city) can take action,” Kiley said.
Council members commended the street department for their work on downtown snow removal after the heavy snowfall two weeks ago. Police Chief Tallman also noted that there were no accidents in town during that time.