The City of Vandalia officially filled three aldermen seats with an Oath of Office taken last week during the monthly meeting inside the Lange Building.
City Clerk Karen Shaw led the ceremony for newly elected aldermen Bob Dunn (Ward I), Dempsey Dixon (Ward II), and Gabe Jennings (Ward III).
City Administrator Alan Winders also presented plaques to outgoing aldermen Ron Stallcup and Larry Shaw.
Aldermen then voted to name John Weiser as the city’s new Mayor Pro-tem. Both Dixon and Dunn were nominated for the position but declined the opportunity.
According to drafted city minutes, Chief Water Plant Operator Darren Berry told the group that by action of the Clarence Cannon Wholesale Water Commission (CCWWC), the city can now connect to their system as a back-up, as-needed water supply.
The city would pay for only the water used, but would have to pay for the equipment necessary to make all of the connection and to change to chloramines water treatment. This will cost $10,000-$15,000. These costs would be part of the MGT project cost and paid for through the capital surcharge.
A back-up water supply during the period that the MGT is out of service is very beneficial and could be critical if something should happen that we cannot produce water. If the city uses CCWWC as a back-up supply as envisioned, water will automatically flow into our system if the pressure falls below that prescribed. This might be the difference between having water and not having water for all uses, including firefighting
Public education regarding this change has begun and is in progress.
The CCWWC will charge us $5.84 per thousand for water the city uses and it would pay for only the water used. The connection will remain should it be needed in the future. The CCWWC approved this connection at their meeting on April 8, 2015.
Aldermen authorized the back-up water connection with CCWWC.
Lift Station Pumps/Lagoon Update
Utilities Superinten-dent Aaron Rentfro told the group that the City of Vandalia has six lift stations and 14 pumps, which were built between 1985-1995.
During the annual inspection in March, three pumps were found to be in need of repair. The costs for repair were almost as much as replacement. The cost to replace all three pumps would be about $76,000, including installation.
Winders advised that this item would have been better titled “authorize funding for purchase of Lift Station Pumps,” as the item to be decided is how to pay for the project.
Funding will come from the sewer surcharge fund. This will reduce the lagoon dredging savings from about $150,000 to $75,000. Dredging will still be necessary in two to four years.
Paying for pump replacement from these funds will mean that there will not be enough money to do the dredging without increasing the surcharge at that time. The alternative is to increase the surcharge now.
Because the lagoon permit is up this year and other DNR requirements are going to require funds be spent on the lagoons and the surcharge likely raised anyway, staff recommendation is to postpone this by paying for the pumps from the lagoon dredging savings.
Alderman Weiser moved to authorize funding for this project from the lagoon dredging savings. Alderman Jennings seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
Street Improvement Plan
Street Superintendent Dave Hamby told the group that the evaluation of streets and plan preparation has been completed. There is no change in the approved rating criteria.
The plan proposes $50,000 in programmed chip seal, $10,000 in unprogrammed chip seal and pre-seal preparation. No asphalt overlay is proposed at this time. At least 55 blocks would be addressed.
There are three options presented for the chip seal program for consideration:
• End to end, shoulder to shoulder only, no patches. Every street on which any work was done would be chip sealed from end to end, shoulder to shoulder.
• Virtually no end to end, shoulder to shoulder chip sealing. This is what we have been doing for the past four or five years.
• Patch on streets which need less than 40% needs to be chip sealed or if there are numerous areas spread out over the street, the street would receive end to end chip seal.
The proposed plan was provided, with a spreadsheet of street rankings and a street improvement map. Winders stated that there would be some patching regardless of the option selected.
After discussion, Alderman Weiser moved to approve Option B. This motion died due to a lack of a second.
Alderman Dunn moved to approve Option A. Alderman Jennings seconded the motion, which carried with Alderman Weiser opposing. City Clerk Shaw asked for clarification of votes, and there was only one opposing vote (Weiser).
Health Insurance Change
Assistant to the City Administrator Debbie Hopke told the group that each year in the Fall, staff begins to research and review new health insurance quotes for the next year. Based on other quotes that were received for 2015, the current carrier offered the best plan with the lowest increase in cost. During the December 2014 meeting, council approved renewal with the current broker with an increase for the city.
In March 2015, Kent Slaughter provided a quote from Federated Health Insurance with similar to better benefits under an ACA approved plan, and with significant savings to the city through the end of 2014. In addition, Federated confirmed an increase of no more than 2%, plus age differences, through the end of 2016. Realizing that the current carrier increases are double digits each year, the cap of 2% under the Federated plan was an additional plus.
Findings were discussed with employees. Employees supported moving forward due to the cost savings, the rate guarantee through 2016, and the benefit plan choices.
Provisions have been made to keep employees from incurring expense as a result of a mid-year carrier change.
The change, effective May 1, 2015, was approved unanimously.
New Handicap Space
Hamby told the group that a request has been made from the owner of the Vandalia Hotel for a handicapped parking space in front of his business.
After review, staff recommends approval of the handicapped parking space.
Bill No. 15-1152 was read and passed and became an ordinance.
Aldermen approved a measure where Mayor Kuda appointed Dennis G. Koch, CPA as the auditing firm for the ensuing year.
Approval was given for the Semi-Annual Financial Report of September 1, 2014 to February 28, 2014. Finance Officer Sharon Myers told the group that this statement is prepared in accordance with State Statute.
Winders told the group that a list of items which have been identified as being “excess” was provided. The city would approach the disposal of the items either by auction or by sealed bid, or other means if necessary. The move was approved unanimously.