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The Chrisman City Council held the first of two meetings for the month of December on the 6th. The meeting began with approval of previous meeting minutes along with claims in the amount of $34,232.97. Building permits were approved for 114 Woodlawn Drive and 316 North Michigan Street. The special meeting minutes held on November 24th were also approved.
City worker Erik Bohle thanked Commissioner Rodney Wolfe and Commissioner Cory Chaney for their help assisting with the Christmas lights in town. “There was a ton of people helping put up Christmas lights,” said Bohle. “Thank you for all your help. I appreciate it.”
Commissioner Thad Crispin stated that there was some miscommunication concerning the pavilion and the lights in the park. Crispin’s electrician believed that he was waiting for a quote from someone else and decided not to proceed. “I did touch base with him today,” said Crispin. “By next meeting, he said he should have his quote ready.”
In matters of new business, Erik Bohle was set to move to his new position to be working for the water and sewer department. “I’ve gotta do something,” said Commissioner Wolfe.
Not having someone working for the water and sewer department is resulting in Commissioner Wolfe being stretched thin in all that needs to be taken care of. Commissioner Crispin stated that he would look into other applications and set up interviews to get the position filled as soon as possible. “I’ve made contact to follow up with someone else,” Crispin said. “I need to check my calendar to set something up.”
With a new person coming in and not knowing exactly what the job entails, Commissioner Wolfe made the suggestion of making Bohle a ‘supervisor’ until the new hire gets his feet wet and knows the job. The position would be at least four or five months, possibly sooner depending on how quick the new hire catches on.
“The problem we’ve got is how much turnover we’ve had,” Wolfe said. “Until you start paying people money, you’re not going to keep them. We’re gonna get hung every time unless we start paying some money.”
Commissioner Crispin mentioned that if that was the case, then he himself would have the highest turn over because he can’t afford to pay huge amounts. “We also talk about three guys, but now we’re down to two,” Crispin said. “Are we going to stick with two?”
Surrounding communities like Ridge Farm and Newman function with just two city employees. Crispin mentioned that not too long ago it was brought up that two people wouldn’t be enough for Chrisman.
Currently, Commissioner Wolfe has Matt Shelato under contract to work at the water department. Shelato’s contract is up at the end of December. “Am I hiring Matt for the next six months to be the water operator from January to June until he (Erik) gets his license?” Wolfe asked.
Shelato is in charge of pulling samples to send and have them tested. Samples were taken to Massey to be picked up by UPS and be taken to Champaign within the time frame of the samples still being valid. The council voted to extend Matt’s contract with a pay of $500 per month as well as an hourly rate beginning January 1st.
Now, the UPS truck isn’t picking up until two or three o’clock in the afternoon when it was usually nine or ten in the morning. This delay makes the samples invalid. “Now I have to pay Matt to drive to Champaign to meet with the carrier to take them,” said Wolfe. “There’s no other way around it.”
Commissioner Wolfe asked Bohle what it would take to make him stay.
“I’ll be honest with you,” Bohle said. “I’ve gotta be at twenty-two (dollars) an hour. That’s where I gotta be. I would like to have the option to drive a city truck back and forth to work.”
Part of Bohle’s decision has to do with not being on call every single weekend. “There’s no point in the fuel that I’m spending being on call everyday. It’s not hacking it for me,” Bohle said.
Commissioner Crispin stated that that rate was more than what they were paying the supervisor to be the boss. “What’s the difference?,” asked Crispin. “If he’s going to train my guy, I get it.”
“That’s what I’m saying,” Wolfe said. “I’ll just give it to him now.”
If Bohle obtained a water operator license, he would be getting a raise with that. Wolfe said that it would just be a good idea to give it to him now, knowing that Bohle would obtain his license.
Bohle will be taking his test on December 14th. Commissioner Crispin said it shouldn’t be more than three months of Bohle training the new hire.
Commissioner Cory Chaney, who was acting as Mayor due to Mayor Danny Owen not in attendance, mentioned that Bohle has vacation time saved up that has to be used by the end of the year. “I want to get your thoughts, but I propose changing that in the handbook concerning vacation and letting time roll over,” Chaney said.
Commissioner Crispin asked about the possibility of just paying out for the vacation time rather than having it roll over to the next year. “That way they just start fresh every year,” Crispin said.
In the past, employees had time rolled over with anywhere from eighty hours to one hundred and twenty hours, causing things to not be accurate. “That’s where we were running into trouble,” Crispin said. “I hate to have stuff running over. Wouldn’t it be easier to pay out the last week of the year and everyone start out fresh?”
Crispin explained that if an employee has forty hours of vacation time, then they would get paid out that forty hours at an hourly wage. Chaney made a motion to do a payout for remaining vacation time at the end of the year. Handbook revisions will also be made.
Police Chief Tom Dolan also has time saved up as well. “It’s hard to take it because we need coverage,” Dolan said. “I’m happy with that policy. I don’t have an issue with that. I think it works for me too.”
Knight Insurance was to be at the meeting to discuss insurance, but will have to attend the next meeting due to not having the paperwork in hand.
In reports, Commissioner Wolfe told the council that a homeowner had not paid their water bill, which resulted in the water being shut off. Wolfe shut the water off, but with the new meters, the homeowner was able to turn it back on. “I shut it off and they turned it back on,” Wolfe said. “Do we want go as far as charging someone with theft of service because it is theft of service.”
If this was to happen, Dolan would have to write a report on it. “If the city makes a complaint, I’ll have to report it. We would handle it just like any other complaint,” Dolan said. “It’s a misdemeanor.”
Dolan mentioned to keep a record of what the homeowner owned as documentation. Wolfe stated that it is on record and the homeowner’s meter was removed to keep the water from being turned back on. At the meeting, the bill was up to $240.00.
Commissioner Chaney ended the meeting by thanking the City of Paris and Chris Redman who helped hang the Christmas lights on the poles. “It was a huge help,” Chaney said. “We talked about how we were neighbors and it’s always good to help each other out.”
A thank you was also given to Lewsader Electric for helping with the bandstand lights for the tree as well as employees for the City of Chrisman.