Gibson City Council approves bills for repair of privately owned building

GIBSON CITY — In a short post-Christmas meeting last Wednesday, city council members approved two bills for repairing the roof of a privately owned building at 107 N. Sangamon Ave., even though the total exceeded the amount previously approved.

In November, the council previously approved estimated repairs to the downtown building in the amount not to exceed $2,500. However, the bill from local firms will be more than $4,000.

City Superintendent Randy Stauffer said the increase is because he followed recommendations to install complete new flashing rather than do spot repairs. He said he was advised the patch repairs would likely leak. In addition to the $3,764 bill from K&K Coating, Stauffer said he had to spend about $300 for steel flashing from JC Plumbing & Heating.

“I didn’t realize it would be that much over (the estimate),” Stauffer said of the changes.

Alderman Dean Kidd made the motion to approve payment for the work in the amount not to exceed $4,200. Kidd said he would expect Stauffer to be more careful with estimates in the future.

As part of Kidd’s motion, City Attorney Marc Miller was directed to file the total cost as a lien against any future sale of the property.

The location is currently empty with an absentee owner. It previously housed Loy’s Dime Store and Silver Lion Antiques.

Alderman Barb Yergler again voted against the approval, having previously indicated she opposes the city spending money on property that it doesn’t own.

In other financial business, payment of general fund bills raised two questions from council members.

John Carlson questioned a repair to one of the city’s pick-up trucks. Stauffer said it was damaged by another driver backing into the truck at Jordan Industrial Park.

The damage was less than the city’s $500 insurance policy deductible, he said, so no claim was filed and the city had to pay for the damage.

Both the mayor and the council agreed with Carlson that the city should bill the other driver for the $382 repair bill. Because the damage was less than $1,000 no police report was filed although the other driver was at fault, Stauffer said.

Alderwoman Nelda Jordan questioned a bill for camera installation in a police car. She was told by administrative assistant Peg Stalter that the money to pay the bill came from a drug program fund. Police Chief Steve Cushman was not present to explain further.

The council formally approved a previous informal agreement to spend up to $960 for additional engineering fees with Donahue & Associates of Champaign to install two new stand-by generators at the city’s water and sewer plants.

Stauffer said both generators should be operational by the next council meeting.

Stauffer also commented on a letter from Heritage FS addressed to all council members. The firm would like to increase the size of its anhydrous ammonia storage tank from 18,000 to 30,000 gallons at 301 S West Street on the city’s west side.

Stauffer told the council there is no city ordinance preventing the change, but he is checking with local, county, and state officials and the neighboring firm, Solae, for safety concerns or restrictions.

Stauffer said the firm needs the increased storage to keep up with farmer demand in season and hopefully avoid excessive truck traffic and night refueling under bright lights.

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