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The Chrisman City Council meeting on September 7th began with the approval of building permits for 220 N. Indiana Street and 119 Woodlawn. The gambling ordinance that was sought for the Queen of Hearts raffle to be held at The American Tap was approved. “Oh behalf of the American Legion, I want to thank you for the approval. We appreciate it” said Rob Roman. Roman is the Commander at the Chrisman American Legion Post #477. Dumpsters were also approved for rental the weekend after Chrisman Days.
Police Chief Tom Dolan brought up the issues that he has been having with radio communication. This obviously poses a safety risk if he is not able to reach another officer or he is not able to be reached. “I’ll be on a call or the county will be calling me and I can’t hear them,” Dolan said. “Or I’ll be telling them something and they can’t hear me.”
The radios, however, will work if the officers are just a few feet away. Dolan spoke with the Chief Deputy, who told him they upgraded their radios a little over a year ago. “He said that we (Chrisman) were encouraged to upgrade at the same time, but something happened. I’m not sure you guys heard about it,” Dolan said.
An upgrade won’t necessarily solve the problem, but it will make it better. “We got to have communication.”
Dolan stated that he would like to keep the existing radios for a back up, which raised questions for Commissioner Rodney Wolfe.
“I’m gonna ask this question and I don’t want to offend you,” Wolfe said. “They’re not good enough to use, but they’re good enough for backup?” Dolan stated that the city could just buy three brand new radios. “They work, but they don’t work great. I’ve already had to give my radio to other officers so they could work their shift,” said Dolan.
The radios are rather old and probably have no trade in value. Dolan stated that he would check on the value of the radios they have to see about a possible discount on the purchase of the new radios. “I’ll call tomorrow,” Dolan said. The council proceeded to approve the purchase of the new radios for the amount of $2,004.41.
Chief Dolan also wanted to look into repeaters to possibly solve the ‘dead spot’ problem. Coles County puts the repeaters in the squad cars to solve that problem. “Once I know how we’re doing, I would like to look into that,” Dolan said. Years ago, the city had a repeater on the water tower. “For the city, that might work. That might be a down road fix to the problem.”
The council was in for a shock as Matt Johnson from Fehr Graham began to detail the upcoming problems the City of Chrisman will encounter proceeding with the water project. First, in terms of the sewer project, Johnson was in the process of putting together an ordinance. “What I’m proposing is to leave the basic user rate at the $5.25 per thousand gallons that we have currently,” Johnson said.
For non-unit users, the edit was to make it a flat basic rate of $24.00 if you did not have a meter. Other matters of the ordinance was copied from the current ordinance. In addition to the basic user rate that begins at the first of the year, they will install a capital improvement fee at $5.00 per month. Every year for five years, it will bump up $5.00 per month, until it reaches $25.00 per month. “Once you are there, we would be getting what we need to be getting,” Johnson said.
Wolfe spoke up, not understanding the rates. “We’re at ten dollars now,” Wolfe said. “You’re going to bump the five to fifteen? We’ll be there in three years.” Johnson stated that what he was going by was the current ordinance language. The ten dollars and five dollars, Johnson did not take into account. “It’s not in there, at least it’s not in the one that I got,” Johnson said. “All I’m saying is a $5.25 per thousand and a flat capital fee there after.”
The ten dollar maintenance fee will be included due to the city needing the money to help pay for the water project. “For the fiscal ending 19 and fiscal ending in 20, we’re bringing in about $170,000 a year,” Johnson said. “That number has to go to $337,000 per year in order to do everything we’ve been talking about doing.”
By the end of the fiscal year 19 & 20, the average monthly bill was around $26.00 per month. When it’s all said and done, the average bill will be around $51.00. “Which isn’t terrible,” Mayor Danny Owen said. At the end of the day, the city needs to bring a certain amount in to make sure they would be getting payback for the project.
Johnson stated that at any time, the council can review the rates and make adjustments. If after a few years the council sees they are bringing in enough money with the five dollar increments, they will be able to draw up another ordinance for the rates to stay where they need to. This would also work if the rates need to be raised.
Johnson said that the contract price had been bumped up by $41,000. This makes the price a total of $843,000. On the assumption that this new contract is being run as a unit price contract, pay request amounts and what they are getting paid only aligns with quantities that they have installed. “The guy that’s reviewing those pay requests should not being paying in quantities for thirty feet of plastic at the thirty feet of steel price,” Johnson said. “If he is, then there should be a change order to create a new unit price.”
Wolfe asked of the possibility to pay the money to acquire the insurance instead of sending it to the state and waiting on that. “I’ve had a line sticking out of the ground for the last three months,” Wolfe said. “It’s uncalled for. I need hooked to Paris water.”
This problem is going to impact the sewer plant. Years down the road, the quality of the water could be very different, meaning all of the arsenic could be gone. If Wolfe was to proceed and pay the amount to get the insurance, there’s no guarantee that the city will be reimbursed. “You don’t have to wait until you hear from the state to do it,” Johnson said. “You’re just doing it at your own risk. The way I’m saying it, I’m just trying to make it hurt less.”
Commissioner Bryan Haddix questioned that if the work isn’t done and the line burst due to the coming winter what would happen? “How many thousands of gallons of water will it pump before someone shuts it off?” Haddix said. “Let’s hope they can shut it off at the intersections,” Wolfe answered.
Wolfe brought up that this was one of the scenarios that is making him lean towards paying for the insurance on his own, from the city’s water fund. “I would hope that if I go ahead and pay this out of my own funds we can get this job done,” Wolfe said.
Haddix mentioned possibly writing a letter to the contractor about the contract prince change. “Tell him this has to be done in thirty days,” Haddix said. Johnson stated that even if they approve the price change, they’re still a long way out from proceeding due to waiting on the railroad.
“We’re pretty far away from getting started even if you approve it tonight,” Johnson said.
The contractor can not proceed with putting a line under the railroad until they have the licensing agreement in hand and he has his flagger’s order. “There’s some steps. I just want to make sure everyone’s expectation isn’t that tomorrow the railroad is going to proceed,” Johnson said.
The project is now in the railroad’s hands. With freezing weather coming, this isn’t something that can wait much longer. “Every citizen in this community has drove and seen that pipe sticking up out of the ground and they wonder why they don’t have good water,” Commissioner Haddix said. “It’s been sticking up that way for three months. It’s time that someone gets on the ball and gets something done.”
Johnson made the statement that the project should’ve waited until they had the license agreement in hand from the railroad. “I agree,” Mayor Owen said. “We’ve been waiting for months.”
Wolfe brought up that he still believes that he should send in money from the water department funds to acquire the necessary documents.
“It’s five percent, which you’ve already invested. If you don’t get under that railroad, that eight hundred and forty thousand is going to be worthless,” Johnson said.
The council approved paying the $40,000.