Union contracts negotiated, approved

After years of talking about replacing the city’s aerial ladder fire truck, the fire department came closer to receiving it at Monday night’s Chillicothe City Council meeting.

Union contracts negotiated, approved

After years of talking about replacing the city’s aerial ladder fire truck, the fire department came closer to receiving it at Monday night’s Chillicothe City Council meeting.

The council approved a fire truck revolving loan program agreement with the Illinois Finance Authority.

Chillicothe was one of 64 communities chosen to receive funds for the 20-year loan.

After six months of paperwork, police and fire committee chairman Chris Boyer announced the city received the maximum grant of a $250,000 interest-free loan.

The council authorized Chillicothe Fire Chief John Myer to advertise for bids for a new 75-foot aerial pumper ladder truck.

Myers said estimates of the cost are $500,000 to $550,000 for a 75-foot ladder truck and an additional $100,000 to $125,000 for a 100-foot ladder truck.

The police department was not as fortunate as the fire department, Boyer said, as the city did not receive the grant for the new squad car.

Boyer said the city’s finances were “too healthy” in order to receive the grant.

Also dealing with city finances, union contracts and pay raises were made official.

After almost an hour of executive session, the council approved new contracts for union employees and also pay raises for non-contract employees.

The public works employees, office employees and dispatchers all have a four-year contract, with the fourth year reopening for wages and insurance.

The employees will receive a 55-cent raise each year.

The police officers have a three-year contract which stipulates a 60-cent-per-hour raise each year, and they also will receive one more sick leave day. Previously, they had seven days, and now have eight like the other union employees.

Also included is random drug testing for supervisors and employees, which begins Jan. 1, 2010, employee relations committee chairman Rich Underwood said.

Twice a year, half of the city’s pool of employees will be tested by the Illinois Work Injury Resource Council.

Non-contract pay increases also were approved, effective May 13, for the following hourly employees: part-time dispatcher, $9.75 to $10.75; part-time officer, $10.25 to $10.50; animal control, $8.95 to $9.25; part-time public works, $9.50 to $9.80; building maintenance — tier 1, $9.50 to $9.80; building maintenance — tier 2, $11.25 to $11.60; and non-hourly: collector, biweekly of $612 to $730; and zoning officer, monthly of $290 to $300.

Employees also requested a change in City Hall’s operation hours.

The aldermen agreed to a trial period of six months from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The change begins the first week of May, Underwood said.

He encouraged citizens to let officials know if they like the change or not.

“We don’t have any way to vote on it, so this is our way of voting,” he said.

Also involving personnel, a special council meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Aldermen are expected to approve the hiring of the new superintendent of public works, Ron Jaski of Huntly, Ill., who is expected to begin work May 5.

Additionally, the council will hear the final report from consultant Tom Tincher about riverfront development.

Mayor Gary Fyke said the mayor’s riverfront advisory committee will then dissolve.

“They’ve completed the assignment we had for them,” said Fyke.

In other items, the council:

• referred back to the public works committee a bid from Dick Hamm to make repairs to the city docks, which could include dredging

• adopted a resolution urging state officials to pass a comprehensive capital infrastructure program

• approved an advance expenditure of $500 for Ken Kirkman to attend the Illinois Police & Fire Commission Association’s seminar for police and fire commissioners May 1-3 and registration of $390 to the IPFCA

• approved paying $880 Crawford Brinkman to repair the fire department garage door

• approved paying a $400 permit fee to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for the Sycamore Street sewer extension. City engineer Ken Coulter said normally, the city does not pay for permits, but in this case, with a partial reimbursement for the project, the city may have to pay the fee. At the time of the council meeting, it was unknown whether the city would be required to pay the fee or not.

• approved paying $4,720 to Prairie International for an extended warranty on a 2009 dump truck

• approved paying $1,814.79 to Haggermyer Co. for a gas monitor

• approved a policy for opening and modifying utility accounts. Office manager Denise Passage said legislators passed a bill making it necessary, in essence, for the city to verify residents are who they say they are when setting up a water account. They also passed a policy about detected red flags, which gives office staff the authority to decline to open or modify an account. They then are to alert Passage, as the program administrator, to investigate the situation. Additionally, the council approved an ordinance about an identity theft prevention program required by the Federal Trade Commission to protect residents using a municipality’s utility services.

• approved paying $323.40 of Hotel/Motel Tax funds to Hostway Corp. for the fiscal year of 2008-09 Web site hosting

• approved a HELP loan to Bryce Lauber of $12,500 for seven years at .25 percent interest

• awarded a $62,500 bid to Peoria Roofing to replace the roof at City Hall. The buildings committee will meet to discuss the options of either a white or black roof. Alderman Carl Spencer encouraged mayor-elect Troy Childers Sr. that in the future, the city should not wait so long to make necessary repairs, as they end up paying dearly for it.

• approved a worker’s compensation procedure/policy and pre-employment screening and testing, all through IWIRC.

IWIRC is an occupational health center which assists employers with workmen’s compensation issues and pre-employment tests. The council heard about its services at the last council meeting.