On Thursday, Nov. 5, Mayor Steve Dougherty took time to read the accomplishments of Officer Thomas “TJ” DeWitt, who was being honored by the Litchfield City Council in his retirement after 21 years with the Litchfield Police Department.
While Mayor Dougherty’s words were meaningful and true, they weren’t as impactful as the ones written by DeWitt’s daughter Alicia, who delivered his last 10-42, which signifies an officer’s last end of tour.
“We’re so proud of our dad for the man he is,” wrote DeWitt, who dispatches for the Staunton Police Department. “No one beats him. He’s the best parent, friend and man. I’ve always been proud my dad was a cop and I’m even more proud seeing how much he means to his community. He’s the reason I dispatch today.”
With DeWitt’s retirement, the council approved a conditional offer of employment to an individual identified as the top candidate by the police and fire commission to fill the vacancy, one of three motions under police business.
The other two motions were to approve the purchase of a 2021 Dodge Charger Police Package Sedan from Victory Lane, and the second dealt with firearms.
The council voted to approve an ordinance to surplus the firearms released from the Montgomery County Circuit Court and authorize the purchase of 15 SIG M400 5.56 NATO Carbine Rifles and 15 Mapgul Industries 30 round magazines from Acme Sports, Inc, for $2,429, including the trade-in value of the surplus firearms.
Alderman Mark Brown asked if the department had already bought one vehicle this year. Police Chief Kenny Ryker said that they had and were supposed to buy three this year, but scrapped plans to buy two more. Ryker did say that the cost of this vehicle, $41,779, after it is equipped with lighting and radio equipment through Global Tech Systems and striped by D&M Electric, will be recouped over the next three years through the school resource officer grant.
Alderman Woody Street asked if the rifles would be carried in the patrol vehicles by the officers and what training would be needed. Chief Ryker said that the rifles would be carried on patrol and have unfortunately had some instances in the recent past where they would have been useful. He added that Officer Shane Grammer is qualified to train the department to use the weapons, so all training will be done in house.
In addition to the police items, the council also passed motions to accept the minutes from the last meeting, accept the bills for the last month, to accept a proposal from Young’s Roofing for repairs and partial replacement of a dilapidated roof covering at 220 North State in order to salvage the structure from demolition at a cost of $12,880, and to approve consulting services with Greg Petry Consulting LLC to produce a parks and recreation master plan for the city.
Alderman Ray Kellenberger asked if the parks and recreation plan was required for the grant the city is seeking for the sports complex on the city’s west side. City administrator Tonya Flanery said it’s not required, but it is part of the scoring. She added that the city is looking for partners to cover part of the cost of the consulting services.
Passing without much discussion were motions to approve a bid for emergency repairs of a 2012 International Work Star Dump Truck from Rush Truck Centers of Springfield for $9,324.22, to approve a bid from Gelly Excavating and Construction for $538,831 for South Side Ditch Improvement Phase I, to approve an advertising contract for the 2021 Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau’s Visitor’s Guide and to approve the 2021 regular meeting dates and holiday schedule of the city council.
Pay request number four, totalling $96,758.38, for work done on the watershed implementation project at Endrizzi Contracting also passed.
“It’s a pretty impressive piece of work,” Mayor Dougherty said. “It’s taken a lot of years , but it’s pretty impressive.
The final three motions of the night to pass were a proposal from All Inclusive Rec for additional trash receptacles at Madison Park for a cost not to exceed $2,167.76; a quote from Dan Heise Plumbing for necessary repairs on the boiler system at the Litchfield Carnegie building not to exceed $7,372; and approval of web design services for the city’s website from Civic Plus for an amount not to exceed $21,502.50, plus an annual cost of $5,304.
Alderman Street stated how confident the city was that the Carnegie project wouldn’t go over budget. Building Inspector Gary Baker said he was very confident. He said he didn’t feel like it was in the city’s best interest to replace the boiler when they weren’t sure of the future of the building and Heise was confident this would fix the problem in the short term.
Street also questioned the website redesign, asking if it was due to ADA compliance. Flannery said that was one of the issues that needed to be addressed, but there were other things as well. She added that the website had been in the budget a number of times, but had been put off.
Street asked who would be responsible for the website and what the city would be getting for its annual investment.
Flannery said that Tourism Coordinator Sarah Waggoner was the project leader and that the annual investment went toward a redesign in the fourth year.
Alderman Gerl asked when the last time the website was redesigned, with Flannery saying that it was in 2009. She also added that the city’s economic development website would be merged into the city’s site to give it more of a streamlined approach.
With no further business, the meeting would adjourn at 6:55 p.m. The next council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 19.
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