City of Highland City Council met Nov. 18.
Here is the minutes provided by the council:
Mayor Michaelis called the Regular Session to order at 7:00pm. Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind were present. Others in attendance were City Attorney McGinley, Directors Conrad, Cook, Gillespie, Imming, Kim, Korte, Rosen, and Slover; EMS/Fire Chief Wilson, Coordinator Hubbard, Aquatics Supervisor Wilken, Treasurer Foehner, Deputy City Clerk Hediger, City Clerk Bellm, 60 citizens, and two members of the news media.
Councilman Frey made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 4, 2019 Regular Session as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Citizens’ Requests and Comments:
Highland Civic Woman’s Club – Presentation of Flugel Fest Proceeds – Janet Nicolaides, Laura Wilken, Corie Clements, Amanda Stehlik, and Beth Grohmann of Highland Civic Woman’s Club, presented their club’s $1,281.52 proceeds from the Flugel Fest’s Kids’ Korner to the City of Highland. They gave a shout out to Mallord and Mark for allowing them to be a part of it. Mayor Michaelis noted planning began a little over a year ago, when Bob Wurth gave me the idea. Mayor Michaelis asked Director Mark Rosen to describe where the proceeds from the event will be used. Director Rosen reported there are a couple of things, more flower baskets and more irrigation for watering of flower plants, and maybe putting more of a solid surface around the fountain to limit the amount of mulch around there. Mayor Michaelis added I know you discussed putting in sprinkler system to allow for more irrigation to the plants, as well.
Mark McGranahan expressed disappointment to find out the council is allowing a marijuana dispensary in town. I do not see that adding the incredible record. Do we really need a marijuana dispensary here? Is the taxes really that great? There is a lot of construction going on because of the reputation you have. I live out by the Korte Rec Center. I see all the new construction and growth. I do not think this was a wise decision. A fifty-year, long-term study, shows a behavior link between pot and violent behavior. Another study shows links to psychosis. I don’t think it is the best decision. Highland is an excellent city. I moved here from Minnesota. I just don’t think opening it is a good idea.
Mayor Michaelis stated I am going to have Director Conrad come forward and give an update on what is going happening with the state legislation.
Don Rogier, 275 Sunflower Drive, stated I would like to address a couple of points. I am a native of Highland, a fifth generation. A couple of points I would like to make. I was a Chairman of Kaskaskia Community College Board, an elected position. I served on a number of boards. Public bodies that don’t have to earn the money can spend the money wrongly. This marijuana dispensary money is just a way to earn money. Colorado has had issues with rift raft, homelessness, since legalizing it. The governor of Colorado has said he would not do it, if he had to do it over again.
Phyllis Sway stated we moved here twenty-four years ago, from St Louis County. We searched far and wide. My husband worked in St. Louis, so this was further out. Chose Highland after searching far and wide. We went to a Kirchenfest and was sold. Seeing those ladies up here, I feel Highland is a wonderful community. I realize medical dispensaries are operating right now. But, I feel the recreational sale of marijuana is wrong. A marijuana dispensary is a soft sell. A way of easing in and getting into the position of making Highland a legal drug dealer. It is not a harmless drug. You get it and then it becomes an addiction. Big corporations will be involved and add things into it for it to be more addictive. My husband and I, unfortunately, know more about drugs than other families because of our family history. We already have alcohol and tobacco sales in Highland. I ask law enforcement how you will tell if someone is under the use. People are not going to go to a legal drug deal space versus just getting it illegally. Military people, if tested positive, will get fired. Federal Reserve employees will get terminated as well. They are going to be targeting kids, so that they get addicted. Collinsville has a medical marijuana dispensary, right now. It is only 25 miles away, if someone wants or needs it, they can get access to it. Legalization is only to make it seem acceptable. It is not acceptable. I am demanding that it be put to a vote. Just because you can do, something doesn’t mean you should.
Wayne Sway stated my wife and I are extremely disappointed about this. In The Pioneer, Bill Napier wrote an article about this being a gateway drug to other addictions. We have a family member severely affected by opioids. Did it start with opioids? No. Robert Dupont, the first director of National Institute on Drug Abuse wrote, it should come as no surprise that most of the heroin users have used marijuana. They began with alcohol and marijuana. It primes the brain for the use of other drugs. Establishing it as a third, legal drug will increase drug use, including expanding opioid addiction. Those addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to use opioids. I have been to funerals for teenagers and young adults for those that have succumbed to these addictions. Go to addiction centers, talk to those there. I am going to demand a separate vote on this.
Mary McWhorter, Eden Lane, stated our family came here for the school system. We came here for higher tax rate and driving further to work. I have two grandchildren that do not have their father in their life, because he started with marijuana in high school. How many alcohol parties do the police break up? I have extended family members that started with marijuana. I am disappointed that this was not put on the ballot for a November vote. I realize we do not have a vote on businesses coming in and on other issues, but this is not a candy store. This is serious. Recreational use means having fun. These kids are going to have fun. Pastor Mark is our pastor. I do want to see the kids doing this. I have not personally done it, but I feel it is wrong. People can get fired for using it. What does that tell you about it? We should have been given the option to vote on it. If I had small children and lived here, I would not have chosen to move here. It may look good on the outside, but it is not good on the inside.
Dennis Buckalew stated I lived here in excess of fifty years. I served this country, city and served on police pension board. Marijuana is a gateway drug. I would like to ask you to reconsider. Check with members of the city, not just the board. This affects many people. I would suggest that you canvas the city and reconsider. Let us vote on whether to sell in city or not.
Bob Freeman stated I am not representing the school. I am retired and very old. These things that disturbs me and I ask for reconsideration. I think it requires more consideration. When I was with the school, we had the D.A.R.E. Officer come out and talk to the kids about the use of drugs and alcohol. The D.A.R.E. Officers said don’t use marijuana; it is a gateway to other drugs. We do not have to be the liberal community.
Brian Pollard stated I served as a JAG at the height of the Vietnam War. We rotated squads out of Southeast Asia. When squadrons returned, several of the young airmen were often sent to the offices for drug abuse. If you talked to them, you find out they all started with marijuana. One young man, moved on to “liquid orange,” a form of LSD, which fried his brain. He had started with marijuana. He was so debilitated he could not understand his basic legal rights. I asked for him to be given a medical disability. He probably returned to his community and could not hold a job, because he could not handle ordinary everyday life. Many, today, deal with addiction to opioids. Do not do this to this community. Allow them to grow up healthy, beautiful and strong.
David Michael, citizen and Madison County Board Member, stated more than anything for me, it is a vision issue. For the State of Illinois, it was public policy. I don’t know about the bonding for a pool, that is nuts and bolts issue. The dispensary is a vision issue. Ten or fifteen years ago, did we view this community with a wonderful marijuana dispensary? I would say no. I think the nice thing about them is that visionary things you can put onto the ballot. Mr. McGinley knows more about this. I think you have 92 days. Attorney McGinley stated, by the next meeting we would have to decide to put it on the ballot for the March 2020 Primary. Mr. Michael stated I humbly ask the council to do that.
One resident stated I am 27-years old and my wife is 25-years old. We moved here four years ago. We lived in Missouri and my wife from was from Troy. I was dead set against living in Illinois until we found Highland. Kids could walk to school. We both had worked in southern Illinois with kids, where we experienced the indirect consequences of kids with drugs in their home. We had a fourteen- year old come to school pregnant. She ended up being put into foster care, because her mom, boyfriend’s mom, and boyfriend were all using rampant amounts of drugs.
Debbie Geiger Vance stated I was born and raised near Highland. My husband, Bob, serves on one of the city’s board. That is all we have been talking about, for the last week. He is a teacher at the school. Just because it is legal does not make it the right thing to do. I am disappointed that you guys voted this in, without getting our opinion. Unless you followed the city council meeting agenda on the website, no one would know. I would like to thank John for being the lone dissenter on this issue.
Elmer Emig, President of Senior Citizens, here in Highland. I am here to talk about Article G; this proposal was presented to our club, last Wednesday. The seniors were very excited and hopeful that we can move forward. This started three years ago, when we started to seek an alternative. After countless searches and reviews, the city manager and myself have worked diligently to find something the city could work with. This seems to be a perfect solution and the seniors might finally have a place to call home. A place for entertainment. A place to get out of their homes eight hours a day, to enjoy socializing, playing games and doing activities. It is a tough decision for all, but the seniors need it desperately. Even the family members have forgotten the seniors, some who are homebound. You can secure that dream for us.
Bill Napier stated I have a lot to say, but I will just say, if you put the marijuana issue on ballot it will cost money. I think we should just rescind it.
Another person stated we have lived here four years. I did not come here to talk, tonight. I was an elected official in St Clair County. I was a Republican. So I was as welcomed as a Puritan at a KKK gathering. If you put the marijuana dispensary here, it will bring people here that are nothing but trouble. In 1960, East St Louis was voted #1 City. If they tore it down today, no one would be upset. I give you credit to bring the question forward. Another recreational activity is sex. Would you be willing to put a brothel in? I like the high taxes. I was born and raised in East St. Louis and moved to Florida for thirteen years. Then on September 15, they said I was going to die; but I am still here. Doctors do not know everything.
Chief Conrad reported I attended several meetings since the last council meeting, to discuss this. After January 1, people will be able to buy at current medical dispensary facilities. Each medical dispensary will get an additional license for selling as recreational. Those purchasing must be 21 years of age or older. Those coming to Illinois to purchase will only be allowed half the amount of residents of Illinois. Dispensaries must be licensed by the State of Illinois. They expect up to 295 locations by 2022. How much people can possess? This surprised me. The answer is up to 30 grams. For a visual, put your hands together and mound it over. That is about the size of it. Cannabis concentrates and traceable products will be much less. Yes, the marijuana we see today is more potent than that of the 1960s and 70s. It is the most genetically modified plant. We converted one of the cells upstairs, at the police department, to use as evidence room, because if put it downstairs the whole place smelled like it. It will be allowed for use on personal residence property, dispensaries and lounges. It is not allowed on school grounds, near youth under age of eighteen, or in vehicles. We covered it with the landlords. It does not change the Smoke-Free Illinois Program. You can grow up to five plants if you have a medical marijuana card. Though Illinois Police Chiefs Association lobbied hard against this, we lost. The jest we got from the state is that it is about the money. Like it or not, it will be legal January 1. We are preparing our medical and law enforcement staff and do several training sessions on how to prepare the community.
A resident asked do they get asked if they have children at home when purchasing it. Director Conrad replied I do not know. A resident pointed out, you think about it sitting around and kids get their hands on it. Yet we cannot even burn leaves because of the second-hand smoke. We are doing this for money. That is greed. You put that much marijuana into the home and kids will get their hands on it and sell to their friends.
Mayor Michaelis asked how much it would cost to open up a dispensary. Director Conrad noted this taxed significantly at state level. City Attorney McGinley reported from what he learned in training, from seed to sale, it is taxed at a rate of 45%. Locally, we would see 4.5% of the sale. So, if a dispensary did $1,000,000 in sales, the city would receive $45,000. Mayor Michaelis asked what the costs to open dispensary is. Attorney McGinley stated, with permits and construction requirements, estimate upwards of six figures. A resident asked what the point was. Why did you vote for it? Mayor Michaelis stated to me, it is similar to when the state legalized gambling, years ago. It is not necessarily what each of us thinks; it is what the state has legalized. I talked to the city attorney several times this week. We respond to you. A resident expressed how this is the same as the gambling issue. In this, I personally see no value in recreational marijuana. There are some medically issues that do benefit, if handled properly. All I can see is problem ahead. Mayor Michaelis suggested a consensus vote if we want to move forward. Attorney McGinley advised that the council could not take a vote on this, at this time.
Mr. Rogier expressed talked about unintended consequences. Why would Highland want to do it? In the name of money? Bob Freeman pointed out that no businessman is going to open a business at the cost of $1M unless foresee a huge return on that investment.
A resident expressed, if we do see it, I do not want to see it around the Square. Mayor Michaelis reported, by ordinance, it must be at least 1,000 feet from any church or daycare and only present in commercial, industrial or mixed use and with a Special Use Permit in any of those districts. Mr. Todd pointed out this is all in the council minutes from the last meeting.
A resident read off Colorado Crime Bureau statistics showing 2018-19 reported numbers in all categories, except burglaries, growing dramatically from 2012, before the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. Burglary is the only one that has gone down. This is in a time of economic propensity. Nationally, crime has gone down, but in Colorado, it has not. I do not even know if need to put this on the ballot. Mayor Michaelis asked Chief Conrad what the theme of this is coming out of Springfield. Director Conrad reported this came out of Chicago, to decriminalize marijuana use. Two primary sponsors of the bill were from Chicago. Expungement was a big element of this bill. At the police department, we realize this is going to be legal, whether there is a dispensary or not. We are making sure officers are trained and looking at what our options are. Addressing DUIs is a different animal. We have a plan to get our officers trained to continue to take cases to the states attorney’s office. Mayor Michaelis asked what local areas has this pinpointed. City Attorney McGinley reported, from what we have been told, in awarding of dispensaries, they are going to look at putting these into places economically impacted adversely by drugs and crime.
A resident expressed concern over use of this in lounges. Cigarette smoking is illegal because of the issues with second-hand smoke, yet now we will have this. Director Conrad clarified where consumed this is allowed for use is limited to residents’ privacy of their backyard. They cannot smoke in public places. These lounges are cannabis lounges. However, they did not make changes to smoke-free Illinois Act. Attorney McGinley noted while cannabis lounges are allowed, there is no dram shop insurance for these establishments; so, operating with no insurance is a suicide mission.
Mr. Sway stated we are very passionate about this. Tonight, on Channel 4 10:00 News, they are airing a segment on how you can get a medical needs license in sixty seconds. Because it is illegal, opioids are all around. If the governor decided to provide needles for heroin addicts, would we be talking about it? No one is talking about the edibles. We have heard from friends about how many kids are being treated and then removed from homes because of these things. Mayor Michaelis asked the council for their thoughts.
Councilwoman Bellm stated, first all, thank you all for coming. I like it when people come to the council meetings. We have posted the full agenda and background documents. We have background information that may not make sense to everyone. We face some really tough decisions. Something I said, at last meeting, is it is legal. Go talk to the governor. It is legal whether we like it or not. Dollars were not the concern. It did not make the decision. I took the perspective to deal with it head on. If someone wants to use it, they are going to get it. I know people who have used it for medicinal purposes. Whether it has any benefits, I do not know. I wanted people to get it safely. Medical cards are being easily handed out. As far as parenting issues, I cannot tell people how to raise their child or what they should do in their home. If it is regulated in Highland, we can control where it is. This will be treated as alcohol is. Whether you like it or not, it is legal. It was a tough issue for all of us. We all gave it a lot of thought. I read everything I could get my hands on, but there is no definitive with marijuana. Having said that, I wish you people would have been here. A referendum is expensive and we did talk about is we could get it on the ballot. I am not opposed to a referendum, but I am not sure it is the best way to deal with it.
Councilwoman Sloan stated I thought to be in control of it is the best. My neighbor can use it if they want, but we know where it came from. With incidents of vaping, buying from the black market has caused deaths and illness. To be in control, and by us taking control, it makes it somewhat safer.
Councilman Frey stated I was on the fence until the vote. I spent probably 30-40 hours on it. Talking to those in law enforcement, also. I had to make my mind up. I agreed with what they said. I am not opposed to putting it on the ballot.
Councilman Hipskind expressed this struggles with my principals. I did not need you all here, last week, because I have been out talking to the people and knew what people’s feelings are on this. Sometimes government has to spend more money than they should, and make sure that people have their voice. I think it should be on the ballot. I do take a little issue that it was eluded to that it takes money to get it started. At a meeting I had up here, it was said there is an individual in Highland that has the money and is interest in putting a facility in Highland. Everyone knows where I stand and it should be put to a vote.
Councilwoman Bellm stated I too do talk to an awful lot of people and ask for input. This way you get to regulate it. I know full well, when people want something we do not hear from them. When they do not want it, they will voice their opinions. There are people out there that want the freedom to choose what they want to do. That was the way things were with video gaming and tattoo parlors. I have to do what I think is best for the city overall. I felt the best decision was to face it head on.
Mrs. Sway expressed anyone that wants grass is going to get it. Are they really going to pay more for it, to get it legally? Councilwoman Bellm replied probably no, but the people that want it and know it is safe are going to choose to pay for it. Mrs. Sway contended all this does is normalizes this. Another resident pointed out that Collinsville is not that far away. Why do it here? Highland is a nice, quiet down. Why label Highland with “Go to Highland to get our marijuana”? We are going to have a breakdown. New families that could highly contribute are not going to come here. I do hope it is on the ballot.
Mayor Michaelis asked City Attorney McGinley to explain the two ways this can get to the ballot. Attorney McGinley advised citizens may circulate a petition, which must be submitted by December 19, 2019. December 23 is the final for any review of canvas signatures. A city ordinance would be required by December 30, 2019 for the March 2020 election. Councilwoman Bellm inquired we just pass an ordinance that would put it on the ballot. Attorney McGinley noted it is not that simple, there are a lot of deadlines along the way, including figuring out what to do with existing ordinance. Just because there is an ordinance, someone would have to come before the council for a special use permit. Councilwoman Bellm pointed out someone would have to come before the Planning & Zoning, even before coming to the council. Deputy City Clerk Lana Hediger was asked how many signatures would be required for the citizens petition, to get this to the ballot. Deputy City Clerk Hediger reported 8% of citizens that voted in last gubernatorial election. Mayor Michaelis asked for raise of hands if you want this to go to a vote. Bill Napier stated I do not want to see it go to a ballot vote. I want the council to rescind the ordinance. Attorney McGinley pointed out the council cannot commit to the outcome of a vote.
Beth Hemann noted if the council cannot commit to outcome of vote, but it takes time to put onto the agenda, and the council votes it the same way, then the citizens lose the time to get signatures and get it to vote on the ballot. Attorney McGinley stated the council would have to advise the city manager to put this on the next agenda. City Manager Latham stated I am not sure what you are asking for us to do. Resident asked what if The Pioneer provided a posting announcing a citizen’s forum. It saves the cost of the referendum and informs the council of what the citizens really feel. A citizen questioned if that would change the opinion of the council.
A citizen stated, with all respect, I think you have mischaracterize it. We were not afforded our opportunity with the governor. People are going to be able to get it. While we did not get a say at the statewide level, we at least get a say about what happens with our community. Councilwoman Bellm stated I would be more comfortable with this being on a full-fledged ballot initiative versus a citizens forum. I still have my reasons. Councilman Frey noted someone expressing concern about waiting on the council to act and it getting too late to get signatures. You can do that without waiting for the council to act on this at a meeting. Mr. Sway asked is there anyone looking at opening up one of these here. Mayor Michaelis responded that is nothing more than a rumor stage. Mr. Sway noted with regards to the members that voted on this for more control, from what I am reading and seeing, Los Angeles has had more illegal shops since legalization. Colorado has seen more opioid deaths since marijuana was legalized.
Requests of Council:
Councilman Hipskind addressed the council regarding the condition of Vulliet Road. We had a meeting at City Hall, a while back; we had 30+ people up here expressing concern about the condition. The city does not own all of the roadway, but part of the road. I spoke with Public Works Director Joe Gillespie about leveling the roadway, as snowplows maintain the roadway. I asked City Manager Latham about taking the next step to address this issue. I asked residents to donate right of way, to maintain and improve roadway. City Manager Latham reported I have not receive any dedication of right of way from the property owner. We have a lot of roads that need repair. Oak Street has been on the docket for several years, and the engineering contract is next step to that project. He suggested maybe having a meeting to prioritize these projects and strategically plan them out. Councilman Hipskind noted, at the last meeting, we discussed send out letters. I am not sure these people are going to donate the right of way. I do believe Oak Street needs to be addressed. Councilwoman Bellm agreed the strategic planning was done three years ago. Vulliet Road has always been a problem.
Councilman Frey noted a lot of people already left. Regarding the senior center, the city has always provided a senior center. This is a place they do not have to share with other people. We have not forgot our seniors.
Councilman Frey reported, along Broadway, by the apartment complex, where there was a fire, a few years ago, and across from Kaiser Park, there is a Walnut tree. You cannot walk on the sidewalk because of the tree. Fifty percent of the tree is gone from pruning around the power lines already. It is a safety issue. Mayor Michaelis asked does it have a trunk that could be used. Councilman Frey replied yes it is a good size tree trunk.
City Manager Latham reported one thing on the agenda is approval of the bid for resurfacing of Broadway from Helvetia to roundabout. A culvert will allow for expansion of the roadway along that section.
Presentation of Swimming Pool Audit – Josh Mandell, AIA, Brennan Hartin, AIA, and Chris Peris, PE, of FGM Architects Inc., presented their findings of the swimming pool audit. Mr. Hartin reported we came in May 08, 2019, to assess the pool site and facilities. With a city population of 9,919, the facilities attendance in 2018 was 10,670 daily visitors and an additional 9,000 with swim team and swim lesson users, for a total close to 20,000 people. The pool was constructed in 1964-1965 along with bathhouse. In 1980, the bathhouse was reconstructed, along with the pool to form an L-configuration and the addition of the kids’ pool. We are out to identify items not in compliance or in line with best practices, including accessibility. Illinois has its own ADA code along with the federal ADA program. There is also a section code that covered under Illinois Department of Health and specific guidelines today. After what we looked at, we defined cost to address immediate needs, with the intent to lead conclusion and planning for a future facility, whether reconstruction or a new facility. We looked at site and access, pool construction and equipment. Due to topography of the pool setting, there are several drainage issues. We found 17 not compliant issues and 23 not following best practices. The aluminum pool has met its shelf life, while greatly maintained. The pool deck has various areas of settling, leading to drainage issues. We saw, in the bathhouse, several fixtures not in compliant with ADA codes. This is where we get into pool bathing code. The concessions building has some serious accessibility issues. We saw transactions windows not at set ADA height. One ADA parking stall is separate from the general parking lot and general public access. Not only does it have long accessible route, it really is not an ADA accessible route.
Chris Seris, P.E., for FGM Architects, reported for pool-specific issues, there were a number of deficiencies with the two bodies of water. There is the main pool and kiddie pool. They share one pump and one chemical system. By code, each should have their own chemical system. There could be an issue with water not having appropriate levels. There is a lack of code markings for depth signage and their location, lack of egress of pool and turnover rate of pump is questionable for meeting code. We want to make sure the water is being treated enough times over a span of a day to stay safe. The mix of chemicals needs to be taken care of. The metering is not in place to ensure that chemical and water ratios are at appropriate levels. As far as best practices deficiencies, we see a number of issues with mixed piping and broken inlets, labeling of valves and directional valve labeling, along with metering of water. The way Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) works, is if some of the things were addressed, then it would be trigger for a full review by IDPH requiring all to be done. IDPH covers anything from deck drainage to bathhouses and can be a snowball effect. Prior to the 2018 code, renovations and alternations were on a sliding scale. Any alterations, which define any changes to plumbing fixtures or controls, could trigger full ADA compliance review of the entire facility.
Kudos to the city for keeping up with pool trends and for maintaining the facilities they have. The climbing wall feature and other designs to keep the pool up with trends. There is functional obsolesces of the facility. Those who have been at the pool know that the bathhouse is a lifeguard post, bathhouse, concessions, mechanical area, and first aid, along with locker rooms. There is three options presented which include moving forward and continuing as is with what you have. There is also the renovation of facility, address deficiencies and correct best practices at an estimated cost of $1.4M. The third option is construction of a replacement facility. Pros: While a big chunk of change, $1.4M is far less than a new facility and the location meets the needs of the city’s dynamics. Cons: It still leaves functionality issues and less bang for your buck. You get the same pool structure and facility with no new amenities and at higher cost per square foot versus new construction. It does not allow for any future expansion. Topography issues remain for drainage. With new construction, you get a customized pool. More square footage per dollar and more bang for buck. The site can be something under the city’s ownership. Cons: More than renovation costs. How much becomes what fits the city’s needs and desire for the future. I am not sure that we can put a number to how much continue repair will provide and not provide in comparison to what a replacement facility would provide. You are still limited to the footprint of the current facility with renovation. As a compliment to Laura, Mark and the staff, there has been a lot of TLC to maintaining the current facilities. It has really hamstringed the staff. This site is an enormous liability to the city. Renovations would be at the risk of the landowner surrounding your facility that you are sinking considerable amount of money.
Councilman Hipskind stated this is an excellent report. Would you mind elaborating on the shower area draining into the pool water? Brennan Hartin, of FGM, explained the configuration of showers are at the level of the pool and is in the access to and from the pool area. Councilman Hipskind noted the risk assessment of spacing between the decking and depth signage lacking creates a legal liability. Now that we have this report, that is a significant liability for the city if we fail to act on it. It is a little disconcerting to me that we have an all abilities playground; but those with disabilities cannot go to the pool like others. Credit to Mark and his staff who have done a lot to get the pool to last this long. It is kind of sad that we let this pool get to this point. Mr. Hartin explained the ADA parking accessibility is very long distance and the elevation grade is too large for compliance under any ADA program. They want joint use facilities. Councilman Hipskind asked have you seen facilities at this age still operating. All from FGM acknowledged yes. Mayor Michaelis pointed out this is a community issue that we all need to look at. Every summer we have 125 children that swim competitively. Not only residents but also those from other communities participate. I think it is so important to all. Mr. Hartin noted there are a lot of strong swim team communities. Swim meets are a huge focus of the planning process that has changed this process over time. Councilman Frey expressed a lot of what was said does not surprise us. Once we touch one thing, it is going to trigger a full review. I think the cost is going to be more than $1.4M I do not see putting a big Band-Aid on this. All the cons are so obvious. We have to move forward.
Bill #19-152/RESOLUTION Determining the Intent of the City to Reimburse Itself for Certain Capital Expenditures – Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve Bill #19-152/Resolution #19-11- 2667 determining the intent of the City to reimburse itself for certain capital expenditures as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-153/RESOLUTION Approving a Three-Year Agreement for Auditing Services with Scheffel & Company, P.C., d/b/a Scheffel Boyle – Councilman Frey made a motion to approve Bill #19- 153/Resolution #19-11-2668 approving a three-year agreement for auditing services with Scheffel & Company, P.C., d/b/a Scheffel Boyle as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Councilman Hipskind stated I know Scheffel Boyle does a fine job. I was wondering why we are handing out a $100,000 contract without going out for bid. Finance Director Kelly Korte stated I did put that in as an option in our memo. City Attorney McGinley explained this falls into a professional services contract, which is based upon qualifications. It is whether they are providing services that meet the needs of the city. Councilman Hipskind stated I just want to make sure that we are doing it appropriately. Attorney McGinley advised it is the same as with architects, engineers, and accountants. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-154/RESOLUTION Approving and Authorizing Execution of a Contract, Including Tender of Defense, Indemnity, Hold Harmless, and Lease Agreement for Shared Space, Between City and Delta Genesis – Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve Bill #19-154/Resolution #19-11-2669 approving and authorizing execution of a contract, including tender of defense, indemnity, hold harmless, and lease agreement for shared space, between city and Delta Genesis as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Councilwoman Bellm inquired they are just leasing space and we are getting monthly rent. Director Rosen replied yes. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-155/RESOLUTION Waiving Normal & Customary Bidding Procedures and Approving and Authorizing Execution of a Managed Services Agreement with MobiTV – Councilman Frey made a motion to approve Bill #19-155/Resolution #19-11-2670 waiving normal & customary bidding procedures and approving and authorizing execution of a managed services agreement with MobiTV as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-156/RESOLUTION Authorizing Execution of the 340B Health Care Services Contract Between City and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital—Highland - Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve Bill #19-156/Resolution #19-11-2671 authorizing execution of the 340B Health Care Services contract between City and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital—Highland as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill 19-157/ORDINANCE Vacating Right-Of-Way Easement Along the Illinois Route 160 Shared Use Path for St. Joseph’s Hospital, of the Hospital Sisters for the Third Order of St. Francis, Parcel Number: 02-1-18-33-00-000-001 – Councilman Frey made a motion to approve Bill 19- 157/Ordinance #2978 vacating right-of-way easement along the Illinois Route 160 Shared Use Path for St. Joseph’s Hospital, of the Hospital Sisters for the Third Order of St. Francis, Parcel Number: 02-1-18- 33-00-000-001 as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-158/ORDINANCE Authorizing Lease of Real Property from Frey Properties of Highland, LLC for Property Located at 185 and 187 Woodcrest Drive, for a Senior Citizen Center – Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve Bill #19-158/Ordinance #2979 authorizing lease of real property from Frey Properties of Highland, LLC for property located at 185 and 187 Woodcrest Drive, for a Senior Citizen Center as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Councilman Hipskind directed questions to City Manager Latham. Do we have numbers on how many seniors come in during a day or week? Director Rosen reported he gets a monthly report. It varies, depending on the time of the year; it ranges from 350 – 800 per month. Elmer Emig, President of Senior Citizens Group, stated we would have a lot more members if handicap accessible. Last year, we had three people fall. They come in with a potluck dish, their walker and a purse. They have trouble getting into the bathrooms. We hope with the new facility to increase that number. We have approximately 100, but 60 only come regularly. We are hoping that with the new facility to increase the number to 200. Mayor Michaelis noted City Manager Latham has been going around to different organization and asking if they would go to more senior events, if in a different facility. City Manager Latham replied yes. Mr. Emig stated we are hoping to engage SWIC with various activities. They spoke to us, a few years ago, but we could not make things work. Director Kim noted SWIC did come out and do some things at the library. Councilman Hipskind stated I left work early, today, and checked out the Weinheimer. There was some ladies playing cards and a couple of guys playing pool. They were happy with the Weinheimer. I don’t think the city takes good enough are of what we have. The Weinheimer, I know it is a special place for many people. Has the city approached the people about purchasing that home next to it? Mayor Michaelis reported we did approached the person that owns the house next the Weinheimer Center, years ago. There was no interest in selling. Councilman Hipskind asked Mr. Emig, with wanting a place of your own, how do you feel about sharing the facility with this other tenant? Mr. Emig responded I think it is going to be a good fit. If there is something later in the day, we may be able to get a key and allow for extended hours at a later time. Councilman Hipskind asked why is the Korte Rec Center not an option for you. Mr. Emig replied too many other things going on. We want to set up puzzles one day and someone else can work on it on the follow days. This will allow for line dancing, since many have lost their dance partners. Simple activities. Councilman Hipskind expressed it seems the Weinheimer or Korte Rec Center could accommodate a lot of those activities. Mr. Emig reported we met on a Wednesday each month, but we had to be out by 3:00pm.
Councilman Hipskind stated my understanding was we were going to do a five-year lease. Do you think it is going to be a good idea to spend $438,000 on something that we are never going to own? City Manager Latham pointed out we will not have maintenance costs and collecting property taxes on it. Councilman Hipskind stated this is just hearsay, but I had heard that we were offered the purchase of the building for $215,000. City Manager Latham reported the city had an interest, from a public safety standpoint. The discussion was that they wanted well over $250,000. Chief Conrad confirmed we had some appraisals done and Highland-Pierron Fire Department wanted more than $180,000, which is what it appraised for. The asking price at that time was $235,000. Councilman Hipskind asked what happens after ten years. Attorney McGinley reported we have right of first refusal. Councilman Hipskind asked are we legally allowed to be a landlord. Attorney McGinley replied yes.
Councilwoman Sloan reported I met with Mr. Emig and the senior citizens. If we keep the Weinheimer and fix it, we are still going to have the same issues. I have manned that building as a storm shelter and spent many hours there with youth dances. It would just put a Band-Aid on it. Mayor Michaelis expressed when I go to Grantfork or New Douglas, I wonder where we went wrong. We owe this to the senior citizens, because they built this community. Councilman Frey suggested they look at allowing individuals to use it. Breese does that. They pay to rent it and clean it, if it is available that day. Councilwoman Bellm expressed I was reluctant to buy a free-standing facility for the senior citizens. This does not become another building for us to be maintained by us. We still get real estate tax from it. I was concerned at first with not cost us an arm and a leg. Councilman someone else in the building, but I feel it is a good match. Councilman Hipskind expressed I think seniors should have a center, but I think there is a better approach. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, and Bellm voted aye, none nay. Councilman Hipskind abstained. Mayor Michaelis voted aye. Motion carried.
Bill #19-159/RESOLUTION Approving Estimated Tax Levy – Councilman Frey made a motion to approve Bill #19-159/Resolution #19-11-2672 approving estimated tax levy as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Director Kelly Korte explained this is a requirement to establish the tax levy. We are setting it at 3.54% more than last year. This is based upon police pension board, which is not available to us until tomorrow. We calculate for rates to raise the funds that we budget needs to cover operations. Those rates are then taken to the county. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-160/RESOLUTION Approving Collective Bargaining Agreement with Fraternal Order of Police – Telecommunicators – Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve Bill #19-160/ Resolution #19-11-2673 approving collective bargaining agreement with Fraternal Order of Police – Telecommunicators as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Award Bid #PW-11-19 for the Walnut and Main Parking Lot project – Councilman Frey made a motion to award Bid #PW-11-19 for the Walnut and Main Parking Lot project to Keller Construction, of Glen Carbon, IL, in the amount of $206,443.00 as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Award Bid #PW-07-18 for Broadway Resurfacing project – Helvetia to Iberg – Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to award Bid #PW-07-18 for Broadway Resurfacing project – Helvetia to Iberg to Stutz Excavating Inc. of Alton, IL, in the amount of $702,547.94 as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Approve Warrants #1147 & #1148 – Councilman Frey made a motion to approve Warrants #1147 & #1148 as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to temporarily adjourn this regular session to enter into executive session under the Illinois Open Meetings Act under 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(21) to discuss approval of executive session minutes. Motion seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried. Meeting temporarily adjourned at 10:11pm.
Mayor Michaelis reconvened the Regular Session at 10:21pm. Council members Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan were present. Others in attendance were City Attorney Michael McGinley, Deputy City Clerk Hediger, and City Clerk Bellm.
Mayor Michaelis stated nothing discussed in executive session will be acted upon tonight in this session. Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to adjourn; seconded by Councilman Frey. All council members voted aye, none nay. Motion carried and meeting adjourned at 10:21pm.