City Council Waiting for Support on 911 Study

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Published on August 21 2012 8:25 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Members of the Effingham City Council Tuesday indicated support for a feasibility study of the county's 911 system.  They're waiting on similar support from the Effingham County Board and the county's 911 Board.

An ad-hoc committee has been meeting periodically for a year on pursuing the study.  The committee received a proposal for a study that would cost about $40,000.  The committee's recommendation is that the city council, county board and 911 board would split the cost, or $13,400 apiece. 

The 911 board and county board voted at their meetings this month to table the issue for another month.  Concerns voiced were that the cost was too great and that potential changes in equipment and technology could invalidate the findings of the study.

City Commissioner Matt Hirtzel told Council members Tuesday, "It doesn't make any sense to wait; we need to find out what we need."  Commissioner Don Althoff said the study could help identify equipment needs for the future, as well as helping determine whether the 911 system should have one or two dispatching points.

Commissioner Brian Milleville is hopeful the cooperative nature of the ad-hoc committee that involves city and county representatives has helped enhance city-county relationships.  Hirtzel expressed frustration, though, saying, "We (the City) wants to do what is right (as far as moving ahead with the study) and the onus is on the other two parties."

The Council amended the city liquor control ordinance to reflect the number and types of liquor licenses currently issued by the City.  Mayor Merv Gillenwater, the city's liquor commissioner, reminded that if an entity wants a license in a classification that has no licenses available, the entity can make a presentation before the Council and the commissioners can decide whether they want to add a license to the list.

Also Tuesday, Council members agreed to dispose of City items no longer needed through sale or disposal; Hanson Professional Services was contracted to work on roof replacement work on City Hall and ceiling work in the police station; purchased a pickup truck for the plumbing and electrical inspector; approved the plat for the site of a new Nuxoll Food Service building on the former Fedders parking lot along South Banker Street; and agreed to close a portion of city streets and public parking lots for the Corvette Welcomefest in September.

The Council also accepted improvements in striping around town; allocated Motor Fuel Tax dollars for work on the multi-use and bike path along US 40 from the EHS athletic complex to Outer Belt West with Hirtzel abstaining since he works for IDOT, which has a role in the project and Milleville voting No; agreed to close 4th Street between Washington and Jefferson Avenues the day of a Tea Party rally in downtown Effingham on October 13; approved a change order in a street surface project for about $20,000 to allow sections of Shiloh Street and Shenandoah Street to be resurfaced; and agreed informally to switch to a flat $100 fee for those who bring entertainment attractions to town rather than a percentage based on the number of tickets sold in hopes that the amount due will be more easily collected.  The entertainment tax has only affected three or four events in town each year.

Council members informally agreed to add a tornado siren by the city treated water standpipe on East Rickelman to serve that portion of town; agreed to work on adding street lighting along the portion of Outer Belt West from Avenue of Mid-America to Keller Drive; and agreed to approve a downtown rehabilitation project on Wiedman Cleaners.

The Council was also updated by City Administrator Jim Arndt on the city's fiscal status after the first quarter of 2012-2013.  At this point, Arndt said income as opposed to outgo is favorable, although he is disappointed that water revenues are not a bigger share of the total revenue he had projected in this year's budget.  Arndt also reported he is seeking refinancing options on a raw water line project and on the early retirement incentive option that was offered retired city workers.  He believes both projects could be refunded at a considerable savings in interest costs.

By the way, the complete first quarter financial snapshot presented by Arndt Tuesday night will be available on the City website as of Wednesday.