Valve Replacement Will Alleviate Inconveniences

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“It’s been a busy month,” Alderman Tim Taylor stated in introduction of his monthly water report during the  meeting of Witt City Council on Tuesday night, Nov. 23. Taylor informed his fellow aldermen that all of the valves have been installed and the city will now be able to shut off water to specific sections when repairs are needed instead of the entire city as they have been forced to do in the past. The project came in under budget at total cost of $14,798.64.  The original bid was for $15,000. Alderman Taylor thanked Scott Lynch, the city workers, Bondurant Plumbing and EJ Water Cooperative for getting the valves installed smoothly and quickly. He stated that they were in the process of setting up a schedule to routinely exercise the valves to ensure they remain in working order.

He went on to report that, as anticipated, large tree roots are causing blockages to areas of the city that have been dealing with backup issues on an ongoing basis. The roots in question were discovered during their “smoke and camera” of the sewer lines. Some were so large that they blocked the cameras from passing. Alderman Cearlock made a motion to have the lines cleaned out at an estimated cost of $8,049.40. All voted in favor. After the lines are cleaned, the smoke and mirror process will resume to scope for additional repairs needed to the lines.

Treasurer Sonia Hodson presented the treasurer’s report. The municipal utility tax for October was $2345.86. Police Chief Dillon Joyce informed the aldermen that he has made a few arrests and issued several citations. The recently hired chief has spoken to Chris Sherer, attorney handling cases for the city, regarding cases that remain open from Police Chief Scott Woods’ time serving Witt. He stated that the new squad truck has been purchased and is currently in the process of being equipped. He estimates it will be ready mid-December. Mayor Cady has spoken with Joyce about potentially hiring a new part-time police officer to take over the old squad vehicle and fill in when Chief Joyce is not on duty.

Joyce explained that it is a time sensitive issue. He called the police academy and if the city can get the potential officer into the academy in February, their next course rotation, they will be reimbursed for the tuition. He said that there are firearms trainings offered in Carbondale in December and March.

Fire Chief Keiser reported that the fire department elected new officers during their annual firemen’s club meeting in November: Assistant Chief Dan Rogers; Captains Jake Spensberger, Douglas Keiser, Tyler Beeler and Kason Schmedeke; Secretary/Treasurer Tyler Beeler; Lead Training Officer Dan Rogers; Assistant Training Officers Dennis Kilzer and Douglas Keiser; Directors Jim Rogers, Dale Joyce, Phil Speiser and Dennis Kilzer; Explorer Captain Joey Keiser.

New scene lights have been installed on squad #303 and ladder truck #307 passed its annual inspection. The department has decided to add a separate training night on the fourth Wednesday of every month.

Mayor Shawn Cady asked the aldermen for permission to take action regarding recodification of the city’s ordinances - an item that has been discussed in length at previous meetings. A motion passed to move forward with the process. Alderman Taylor motioned to purchase a salt spreader for the purpose of maintaining the main roads, intersections and railroad tracks crossings at a cost not to exceed $800. All voted in favor. Alderman Dave Cearlock asked for a consensus  to obtain a quote from CTI for internet and telephone services for city hall and the fire station combined. Keiser stated that the station is struggling to maintain enough bandwidth through their current provider. The Presbyterian Church has offered to fund the addition of a basketball half-court at City Park. All were in favor of accepting the proposal. The location of where the court will be placed on the park grounds has yet to be decided.

The council discussed employee bonuses. Kaitlin Govaia made a passing motion to present full-time employees with a $200 end-of-year bonus and part-time employees with a bonus of $150. A $50 increase from last year was made in acknowledgement of hardships caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.    The aldermen moved on to discuss the Christmas party for the city’s employees. A motion was passed to provide a catered lunch. The regular meeting will be moved to Tuesday, Dec. 21, next month to avoid overlapping with the holidays.

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