City approves options to buy

Marianne Gillespie

Riverfront activity and possible land acquisition topped the Chillicothe City Council meeting Monday night.

The council approved six-month options to purchase the property at 217 W. Cedar St., owned by John L. Gray Jr., and 223 W. Cedar St., owned by Grayboy Cycle Center Inc.

Under the option-to-buy, the city will pay $500 for each option, and should the city purchase the two properties, each property is $130,000.

With the city already owning the former Four Seasons Hardware at 227 W. Cedar St., city officials will attempt to entice a buyer to develop that area, economic development committee chairman Jim Thornton said.

Moving from property to boat docking, the council approved a revised boat docking ordinance.

Aldermen changed a one-hour time limit at city docks to 30 minutes.

Boats are only allowed to dock from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Previously, the city had no docking limit.

Alderman Troy Childers asked what would happen to offenders.

City attorney Mike Seghetti said offenders would be issued a notice to appear like other city code violations.

Aldermen discussed the measure needing to be enforced, and alderwoman Judy Cantwell said, like many other city issues, it will be complaint driven.

Also mentioned was the safety issue of those docking overnight, and that the city already spent $3,000 in Hotel/Motel Tax funds advertising overnight docking with the city.

Resident Jeff Dunbar also wrote a letter to the council suggesting ideas of making the city more “boat user friendly.”

He suggested signage for contacting the police department, wireless Internet, relocating all boat launches to Pine Street, making Elm to Pine streets a no-wake zone, and more. The ideas were referred to the public works, judicial and mayor’s riverfront advisory committees.

The council also approved an increase in salaries for elected officials, which will begin after the next election.

The salaries will be: mayor — $200 per regular meeting and $100 per special meeting; local liquor control commissioner (also the mayor) — $25 per month; city clerk — $600 per month and $75 per special meeting; city treasurer — $275 per month and $75 per special meeting if required to attend; and aldermen — $150 per regular meeting and $75 per special meeting.

In other items, the council:

• approved paying Watch Guard Video $4,932 for a video camera for a police squad car. The money is to be reimbursed  by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, as the city was one of 16 to receive a grant for the camera.

• authorized Chillicothe Police Chief Steve Maurer to advertise for a part-time dispatcher. Alderman Rich Underwood also said the employee relations committee, which interviews and hires city employees, would feel more comfortable with Maurer, Chillicothe Fire Chief John Myers and police/fire committee chairman Chris Boyer sitting in on the interviews and adding their input.

• approved city attorney Mike Seghetti drafting an ordinance to add stop signs in city code. They are: Sandyshores Drive at Hillcrest Drive, River Birch Drive at Stillwater Drive, Stoney Walk Way at Stillwater Drive, Misty Breeze at Stillwater Drive, Ridgewood Drive at Hillcrest Drive and a four-way stop at Stillwater Drive and Hillcrest Drive. The stop signs are all in the second phase of RiverSound. Aldermen Mel Witte said the aldermen previously on the public works committee talked about the developer paying for stop signs within a subdivision. Alderman Denny Gould said the developer also could pay for a traffic study to see what stop signs are needed. The issue was referred to the subdivision/annexation committee for future subdivisions.

• approved for American Legion Post 9 to have live entertainment in its outdoor pavilion Aug. 30 and extended the playing of amplified music from 11 p.m. to midnight

• approved a notice for special event held on public property for Bailey’s Pub to use Second and Chestnut streets from 4 a.m. until noon Sept. 1 for the seventh annual Breakfast for Rescue 33

• approved a revised notice for special event held on public property for the addition of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 5 for a fishing tournament with Rib Classic. Organizer Jeff Anderson said he hopes to have 50 boats with contestants using dip nets to catch Asian carp.

• waived the cemetery grave opening and closing fee of $100 for the cremation burial of cemetery and parks caretaker Art Jackson. Mayor Gary Fyke also had a moment of silence for him at the beginning of the meeting.

• approved paying Hubert Mattox $3,800 for a Project Facelift reimbursement

• approved paying JMP Radio Group $1,521.50 for the HLC Canoe/Kayak Jaunt and $2,636.25 for Corn Fest for radio advertising, which is paid through Hotel/Motel Tax funds. Underwood asked if economic development director Lisa Burnett could determine the return of investment for the advertising. Burnett said the Hotel/Motel  Tax funds continue increasing each year, which means more people are staying in Chillicothe hotels and motels.

• awarded a contract to Joe Coleman Salvage & Demolition to demolish and remove unwanted items at the former Archer Daniels Midland grain elevator property, now owned by the city, for $30,825. Burnett said the job should be done within the next month at 10 W. Elm St.

• heard alderman Carl Spencer say the judicial committee looked into the idea of golf carts using city streets. He said state code already allows for their use as long as they are street ready.

•  and referred the issue of impoundment of vehicles for Seghetti to make a recommendation. Boyer said other communities charge $500 when impounding vehicles of those with suspended or revoked licenses. He said the city could have collected $3,000 last month if $500 was charged. Seghetti said the current amount by code is $250.