Streetscape sidewalk work

The Streetscape Project work has begun. Although there is work on the south side of Main Street between Broadway and Morgan, the sidewalk next to the buildings is open for business traffic.

In light of the Shelby County Board voting to re-open businesses last week, the Shelbyville City Council made its own statement on Monday: Members said they said they do not have the authority to act, either way.

They issued this statement:

“Shelbyville is a non-home rule community and only has the power granted to them by law. Neither the Governor or state legislature has granted the City the power to make decisions or determinations regarding the opening of businesses. It was not the City’s decision to order businesses closed in March nor is it the City’s decision whether to reopen now.

“We certainly acknowledge that citizens of the city are suffering greatly from the pandemic and our businesses must find a way to re-open safely. We are trying to do our part to see that this happens swiftly. To do so, we are joining with cities and counties in the central region with a unified request for a data supported plan.

“As businesses reopen, social distancing, capacity limits, and all other precautionary measures outlined by the county, local health authorities, state and federal agencies should be observed. It would also be sensible that businesses involve their insurance companies and attorneys to discuss potential implications of contemplated actions.”

What all that means is that the city says that it is not a player in this issue. They did not close businesses, they cannot give permission for businesses to open or seemingly keep them from re-opening.

“We want to see things re-open as soon as possible,” Mayor Jeff Johnson said Tuesday. “”The city has no desire to pull a general license for just being open, but we don’t want to be misleading to the public. We don’t have the final say.”

That’s why the city included in the statement that when businesses do re-open they should contact their attorneys and insurance companies. There are a few businesses that have consulted an attorney and re-opened.

Ordinance violations within the city are usually civil matters, not criminal, unless there is a physical confrontation. Then they can become criminal.

The Moultrie County and Fayette County state’s attorneys have refused to prosecute COVID-19 emergency order violations, which under the Governor’s emergency rule has been classified as a Class A misdemeanor. The Fayette County State’s Attorney does not consider a COVID-19 violation as a criminal action.

The Shelby County State’s Attorney’s Office has not issued a statement yet on whether they will prosecute a COVID-19 violation.

After making their statement on re-opening, the city council approved a General License for Modern Stump Removal, 5-0.

Item #6 was a request for a General License for Michelle Allen dba Allen’s Concessions and Catering, a mobile food unit. It was passed, 5-0.

Alan Spesard, the City Engineer, reported on bids for furnishing seal coat road material. He recommended a bid from Howell for oil at $2.26 a gallon for a total $48,590 and for gravel at $15.50 a ton for a total of $13,950.

He also recommended a bid from Charles Harmon for stockpiling at $25 a ton, for a total of $22,500. The total for all that was $85,040. The Council approved the bids unanimously.

The council discussed hiring summer help for city departments. Commissioner Thom Schafer said he would like 3 or 4 summer workers for the Street Department. Commissioner Shanks said they could use summer help for mowing.

Comments from Commissioner Martha Firnhaber, Treasurer Kelli Pasley and Commissioner Debe Wright were unintelligible due to the poor quality of the audio from the council chamber.

The council voted to hire 3 summer workers for the Cemetery and Parks Department, 4 for the Street Department, and 3 for the Water & Sewer Department.

The council discussed what to do about opening the Shelbyville Family Aquatic Center this summer. It is set to open Memorial Day Weekend.

Commissioner Mark Shanks said that his lead at the park said that once they get the word, they could open the pool in a week and a half. However, Mary Bolinger, who runs the pool staff said that it will be hard to get lifeguards certified.

“We hope to put off the decision,” Shanks said, “But, at some point it will no longer be feasible. We wouldn’t be able to sell season passes. It looks like the lake could be in a flood year and the pool would be greatly needed. We would like to reserve that option. We are waiting on changes through the legislature.”

The council decided to put the decision off until the next meeting. The next meeting will be June 1, meaning the pool would most likely not be open for Memorial Day Weekend.

Under unfinished business, Shanks reported some finished business, the roof repair on City Hall.

“The roof replacement was completed,” Shanks said. Mid-State Roofing did the work. I authorized some additional work, while they were here.”

They put a containment over a parapet to avoid future problems and put coating on it as well. It cost about $1000. Shanks also reported that there are some tuck pointing issues in spots around the east side second story windows. He suggested that would be something to do in the near future.

Spesard reported that he submitted the plans for a storm sewer project on South Morgan Street. They are awaiting approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

They expect the approval and will have a bid opening on June 11. He said 50% of the cost is from an economic development grant and the other 50% will be paid by the city.

Mayor Johnson reported that there had been questions about the sidewalk on the south side of Main Street between Morgan and Broadway. He said that although the Streetscape work is being done in that block, the sidewalk next to the buildings is open for people to enter those buildings. They have to enter at the corner of Morgan and Main Street.

There were no public comments and the meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

John Curtis can be reached at

John Curtis can be reached at

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