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Road closures, surplus funds discussed at Collinsville meeting

By Devese “Dee” Ursery

Road closures, a storm sewer project in connection with the reconstruction of St. Louis Road and a budget surplus in two city funds, were all topics of discussion at the Tuesday Collinsville city council meeting. 

The council meeting opened with a moment of silence for the six people –  three children and three adults – killed by an active shooter Monday at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn. The shooter was killed by police during the rampage at the Christian school. 

During the meeting, Public Works Director Dennis Kress explained an ordinance authorizing a $70, 606 emergency purchase of water main material. Kress said about 960-feet of water main on Combs Avenue between Cedar and Maple Street needs to be replaced. 

The emergency water main replacement is due to several main breaks that caused poor soil conditions due to the installation of the new storm sewer project. Kress said that because of the bad shape of the soil, the trench walls kept caving in, taking with them a four-inch, cast-iron water main. 

Kress explained that residents will be on a boil order for about two weeks. He said that they experience breaks in the water main on a daily basis. He said it got so bad they had to call the Environmental Protection Agency and asked to build a temporary water main on top of the ground. 

He said the EPA approved it, but required that all residents connected to the temporary water main stay on a boil order until they switch them over. 

“We talked to all of the residents and they were fine with it,” Kress said

Kress said the City will credit the residents their total water and sewer usage for their inconvenience during that time they were on the boil order. 

“Our crews are out there already installing the water main,” Kress said. “We expect everybody to be switched over probably in the next 30 days.”

Kress also discussed emergency repairs needed at the rail crossing at South Mulberry, just south of Lebanon Road. There will be a closure of the crossing April 3 -9. He said there are  signs out now, but they will be replaced with detours signs and additional road closure signs to Bethel and South Mulberry streets. 

Kress said that this project is being done under emergency repair because it was a mandate that came from the Federal Rail Administration. He also said the City sent notices of the road closure had been sent to CUSD 10, the fire and police departments and Republic Services.

Crews are installing a storm sewer on Maple Street that is considerably deep. Kress said there is heavy equipment moving in and out of the area, which would likely continue for at least a month. Maple is closed and detours signs are out. The street will open to allow local traffic in, but barriers will remain to divert through-traffic around the closure. The storm sewer project was in support of the reconstruction of St. Louis Road. 

Dennis Terrant, a Collinsville resident from the Cedar and Maple Street area, spoke on issues he has with road projects happening in his neighborhood. He told the council that he has spoken with several residents about the traffic situation on Maple and they feel it’s a major problem.

Kress assured the council that they are in constant contact with the residents of that area. 

“They’ve been incredibly patient with us with the mess that’s on that road,” Kress said.

In other news from the meeting, a motion was passed and approved to enter into a professional services agreement with WHKS Engineers. The PSA is for the design and construction administrative services for aeration piping replacement at the WasteWater Treatment Plant in the amount of $39,500.

Kress said that aeration is a critical element in the treatment process of the Wastewater Plant. He said the plant was built in 1972 and the piping that is in disrepair is the original piping of the building. The piping had become deteriorated by gasses coming off the treatment of the wastewater.

According to Kress’ report, the terms of the agreement with WHKS will include: identify and evaluate alternatives for improving the aeration piping and prepare preliminary and final construction plans. His report also states that WHKS will prepare and submit applicable construction permits to the Illinois EPA and prepare bid documents and administer the bid letting process. WHKS will also provide contract administration and construction observation. 

Dustin Ziebold went over the particulars of his surplus disposition for the fiscal year of 2022. He reported that the finance department has been working vigorously to finalize the 2022 financial statements and prepare for the annual audit as required by statute. 

“We’re in the process of our financial audit this year and we’ve pretty much completed our journal entries and accruals and eb]everything of that nature,” Ziebold said.

Ziebold said the City has a surplus of $1.25 million in General Fund and $664,000 of surplus in Capital Project Funds. He explained that debt payment, strengthening reserves and managing liabilities are priorities and if not managed properly municipalities can get turned around because they rack up debt and liabilities.

Ziebold said the City is working hard on various projects to raise city revenues, bring in business and continue to grow the community. He said the other thing that has to be done is to enhance the City’s reserve and keep it strong. He said if there are 

“If we don’t have strong reserves on hand we are at risk because we don’t have the opportunity to handle expenditures, debt management,” Ziebold said. “We are doing a lot of great things and we’re moving in a positive direction.” 

Ziebold also discussed two objectives for the proposed use of the surplus. Objective one is to eliminate debt portfolio to open up cash flow to future revenues. This will provide the city flexibility in determining uses related to planned projects through full payment or financing the project costs. 

Ziebold said by holding surplus funds in fund balance for at least the current fiscal year it allows the City to monitor current revenue streams and any downturn related to an unstable market. That would allow the City to continue with current year budgeted projects and operations while not having to cut projects mid-year due to a drop in revenues.

The service club spotlight recognized the Collinsville Junior Service Club for its 90 years of civic service to the community of Collinsville. The purpose of the club is to foster interest among its members in the social, economic, educational and civic welfare of the community and volunteer their service.

According to Kim Morris, the club’s past president, the Junior Club in Collinsville was founded in 1933, by 28 women at Jefferson School. The club currently has over 60 members, all women who are carrying out the tradition.

“One of our largest projects is our Christmas baskets,” Morris said. “We adopt about 25 or so families from CUSD 10 and each family gets a basket of essentials, paper products and some food items.” 

Morris said their motto is a quote from Abraham Lincoln that says, “With malice towards none and charity for all let us strive on to finish the work we are in.”

Chief John Bailot had the honor of swearing in one firefighter and retiring another. 

Jessica Hamilton became the first female firefighter sworn in by Collinsville fire Department. Hamilton comes to Collinsville from the Granite City Fire Department.

CFD Firefighter/Paramedic Tim Rainey retires after 25 years of service. Rainey was the first functioning paramedic for Collinsville.

“Captain Rainey has been the leader of our EMS program since I’ve been here and before,” Bailot said. “He has helped carry us forward with EMS and we’re kind of forever indebted in gratitude for the efforts and everything you’ve provided for the department.”

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