City Council Considers Infrastructure Improvements

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Published on July 17 2012 7:56 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham City Council members Tuesday discussed infrastructure improvement projects.

The Council informally agreed to move ahead with design work on the next phase of work to extend Blohm Avenue into Woodland Heights Subdivision off Veterans Drive.  City Director of Public Works Steve Miller said this phase would include design of improvements including installation of a box culvert, earthwork and a water line extension.  Miller said once this work is completed attention can be given to pavement work for the extension.  He said the work is being done as funds are available.

A majority of the Council voiced support for extending the multi-use path along the north side of US 40 from Outer Belt West to Schwerman Street.  Miller anticipates construction could take place in spring or summer 2013.  Commissioner Brian Milleville opposed using funds on the project when there are sidewalks needing work more centrally located within the city.  Commissioner Matt Hirtzel recused himself from discussing the work since he has connection with the project in his duties with IDOT. 

Votes on the Blohm and the multi-use path projects will be forthcoming.

Milleville reported on a meeting earlier Tuesday of the 911 Task Force studying whether there should be one or two public service answering points for 911.  There are now two, one with the city and one with the county.  The Task Force informally decided on a consultant to research the question of one or two and will meet with the City Council and the Effingham County Board on the issue soon.  Commissioner Don Althoff said he'd like to see the 911 Board get behind the consolidation of 911 to one dispatching point.

Milleville reported that work is moving ahead on a consultant to upgrade the City's website including making it more interactive with mobile devices.

The Council amended the Municipal Code requiring a minimum height of 13 feet for drop off canopies on buildings so they can accommodate emergency vehicles; agreed to install traffic pre-emption devices at Wabash and Banker so emergency vehicles can make sure they're passing through the intersection on a green light when answering an emergency; waived the City's extra-territorial zoning jurisdiction on a portion of property partially within and partially outside the extra-territorial area; and voted to put a public question on the November 6 election ballot on whether the City residents want to pool resources on the acquisition of electric service to cut costs for energy.  City Administrator Jim Arndt said he is recommending Good Energy L.P. to consult on the effort.  Each governmental entity is deciding for themselves whether they want to participate and who their consultant would be, but the goal is for the entities to band together on the purchase of electricity.

The Council authorized the purchase of audio-video recording equipment for the city police department; hired a firm to determine the location of storm sewer and sanitary sewer connections and to add the findings to the City's GIS mapping program; and hired a firm to mill and resurface Culpepper Street from Rickelman to Northwood and milling and resurfacing work at the waste water treatment plant.

The Council approved a couple of water main improvement projects; agreed to revised language in the city personnel manual regarding new hire employee vacation pay; and delayed a vote on closing streets for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in October pending further discussion on possibly closing streets for the walk.  The Council voted to purchase eight new pieces of equipment for the city's Wonderland in Lights display for $22,000 with Commissioner Matt Hirtzel voting against the motion.  Council members also voted to match a $17,000 grant to enhance emergency preparedness and public safety within the city.  City EMA Director Kim Tegeler said the work could include purchase of portable radios.