Aldermen hear good sales in city

Marianne Gillespie

Though “It’s Better Here” public service commercials by Central Illinois area officials caused some to snicker after recent layoffs, Mayor Gary Fyke shared good news with the Chillicothe City Council Monday night.

In Chillicothe, Fyke said, two business people shared with him good news of sales within the town.

At Riverside Chevrolet Oldsmobile, Fyke said Eric Greskoviak told him the car dealership was 178 percent ahead of its goal.

The business boasts it is in the upper 20 percent of 33 area dealerships.

Also sharing good news, Harry Hall of ALCO told Fyke sales are above what they were last year.

Additionally, the Chillicothe store placed third highest in sales in its district of 17 stores during the last quarter.

For the first week of February, the store was in first place, Fyke said.

Fyke said, at least for some local businesses, sales are “not all doom and gloom.”

One thing that city officials also plan to keep flowing is the city’s water supply.

Work is continuing to make the new water tower fully operational. The tower, located behind RiverSound subdivision, holds one million gallons of water, compared to the Walnut tower of 300,000 gallons.

The council paid Walker Excavating Co. Inc. $24,236.29 for payment No. 10 for work on the water system controls.

Finance chairman Jim Thornton said once all the bills are paid, about $30,000 is left over from the water tower project.

He said the finance committee probably will recommend the city evenly split the money for bond reserves, to make sure the city can always pay its bonds for the improvement, and for water operating costs.

Additionally, the council approved the change order for the water tower project, which includes purchasing and installing a circulating pump for the Walnut East tower pump house. The cost for the move is $7,482.14.

Ultimately, officials say that due to the higher altitude of the new tower, residents may see a rise in water pressure when all the work is complete.

In other items, the council:

• heard alderman Jim Thornton ask about Gov. Pat Quinn signing new changes to the smoking ban. Fyke said he read about it in the Illinois Municipal League’s information.

“The health department has never set down the rules as to how to enforce it,” Fyke said.

Thornton said the city catches the flak, however, for not enforcing it. Fyke also said, depending on the particulars of the bill, it could be costly if a police officer had to attend the complaint hearings.

• heard judicial committee chairman Carl Spencer say the committee looked into the specifics of the property maintenance code due to resident Dianne Colwell asking if commercial properties are also included in the ordinance. They are, Spencer reported, and alderman Troy Childers said, in light of that information, he would probably schedule a meeting for the property maintenance committee.

• accepted the resignation of Clyde “Sid” Crabel as superintendent of Public Works, effective May 1. He will have served in that capacity for more than 30 years. Alderman Rich Underwood said he was accepting the resignation with trepidation and reluctance as the city searches for someone to fill that position.

• approved paying P.A. Atherton $9,176 for the installation of a dry well on the corner of Hushaw and Sycamore streets. Public works chairman Denny Gould said the work is done as far as installing the dry well, but the area is still barricaded, as the public works department will lay blacktop once the weather is warmer.

• approved paying $5,761.67 to the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois for a retail strategy group study from Plaza Park Tax Increment Financing funds. The council approved the measure, not to exceed $6,000, at its last meeting.

• approved paying Prout Computer Service $1,400 for a laptop computer and projector. Thornton said he suggests the council does not allow the equipment to leave council chambers.

• approved paying $150 to the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs for an economic seminar

• and approved paying $510 to Numero Magazine for 2009 advertising from Hotel/Motel Tax funds.