Get Home Delivery of The Observer for only $8.50 per month, $9.50 for motor routes. Just click here and after filling out one simple and secure online form you could be on your way to learning more information about local, state and world news.
Richard Mackie addresses City Administrator and Recorder Terrie Richards Tuesday, saying that citizens of Elgin should be made aware of council agendas and city happenings. (Kelly Ducote/The Observer)
Council passes new rates, raises EMT stipend
ELGIN — Concerns over Elgin’s planning commission and recording were raised during Tuesday’s Elgin City Council meeting.
The council OK’d a conditional use permit to allow sheep to graze down the vegetation at the lot at 10th Avenue and Baltimore Street.
During public comments, Michele Miles raised concerns over the city’s planning commission, which would have handled the sheep matter. She said it had two vacancies and councilors motioned to advertise for the positions to be filled at the council’s February meeting.
“There was no mention of this discussion or the vote in the minutes from the meeting,” Miles said. “It is my understanding that two more positions have now expired, leaving only one member. This may have been avoided had the positions been advertised.”
City Recorder Terrie Richards said she did advertise “not too long ago” for openings on the commission.
Resident Richard Mackie said he had not seen anything posted.
Richards said she advertised before a board at city hall was put up and said advertisements are sometimes stolen from that board.
“As a planning commission they also have the right to do advertising themselves,” Richards said. “It does not have to come through me.”
Richards said the city did not get any volunteers for the commission.
Mackie also said that councilors receive their agenda packets late and that notices for budget meetings were not posted.
“My … point is, the information is out there and should be posted the same time that the councilors get their packets on the agenda, so that the citizens of Elgin can get out there and see it,” Mackie said.
The Elgin City Council also adopted new overage fees for sewer and water rates at its meeting.
Councilors agreed to raise the commercial overage rate — for more than 1,800 cubic feet — from .0016 percent per cubic foot to .02 percent. The basic rate for one unit is $33.75, up from $22.75 in a 2011 resolution.
Working on water rates, councilors ran into a decimal issue on the resolution and whether the numbers were describing a price per cent or per dollar. Ultimately, they voted to increase the overage fee for 1,800 to 5,000 cubic feet from .35 cents to .4 cents per cubic foot. The fee for more than 5,000 cubic feet was set at .55 cents.
Councilors changed language within that resolution to clarify that retired firemen and city retirees are eligible for the same discounted water rate as current city councilors at $18.50 a month for up to 1,800 cubic feet. The basic rate for one unit is $40 a month for up to 1,8000 cubic feet.
Mackey noted another problem with the resolution in that it stated that the rate to fill a bulk tank — at $4 per 1,000 gallons plus a $12 fee for use during office hours or $40 for use after hours — is cheaper than the rates for out-of-town use.
“My understanding is it’s supposed to be $40 per thousand,” Mackie said.
That rate was modified to $40 per 1,000 gallons before the resolution was passed.
The council also passed a resolution to pay an extra $75,000 yearly principal payment on an old water debt until the debt is paid in full.
Also at the meeting councilors voted to increase the stipend for EMTs from $35 to $35 to $45 per run. The policy will work retroactively, beginning from January.