At the April 14 regular council meeting, Mayor Pro-Tem Kathy Tucker opened the meeting with all aldermen present. Normal business was conducted before the installation of new members who were elected on April 6.
In the public session, Lucille Shannon thanked all the members leaving office for their service, which was echoed by others in the room.
Bills totaling $72,809.74 were approved unanimously, which included the Illinois Municipal League payment. City treasurer Alison Boyt reported $189,227.46 in the general fund and broke down the amounts held in the different accounts.
City Clerk Lori Klotz, who was re-elected on April 6, gave her collector’s report as $77,671.23 from various sources.
Paul Driver, maintenance supervisor, reported a need for backhoe tires, which require filling at least three times a day. Mowing can resume once a tractor tire is fixed or replaced.
Bill Copley, fire chief, stated the department responded to 15 calls last month. There were two structure fires out of town, as well.
In the aldermen’s session, Scott Martin mentioned many complaints about a property on Unionville Road that is filled with debris and one lot on Stacy Drive that has squatters living in a makeshift shelter. Police action may need to be taken.
A motion was approved to amend the appropriation ordinance to fiscal year 2021 to balance the over and underfunded line items.
The water system grant was approved to pay the contractor pay estimate (No. 9) $73,860.76 and the engineer’s observation bill $23,849.85. A change order No. 3 was also approved for replacement of pipe at 30 Crocket St., which is well within the contingency fund, according to Jim Brown.
Brown & Roberts were approved $74,248.11 for the design of the pole barn using the remainder of the Delta Regional Authority grant of 2015.
For the last order of business with the outgoing council members — Tucker, Ward 2 alderman Aaron Tucker and mayor Tami Wessel — the new officers and mayor were sworn into office. Klotz gave the oath of office to Mayor-elect Rance Phillips and new aldermen Bronda Jones (Ward 1), David Brannum (Ward 2) and Jack Anderson (Ward 3). Sandra Bailey (Ward 1), Debbie Workman (Ward 2) and Scott Martin (Ward 3) remain on council.
The meeting resumed under the new council with the first order of business being a presentation of a plaque to Kathy Tucker for 20 years of service to the city. She served as alderman for Ward 1 all those years and had seen a lot of changes in her five terms. Some of her accomplishments were organizing the parades and July 4 celebrations, holding teen dances and running fundraisers, as well as tending to city business.
Phillips discusses prioritiesFollowing the swearing-in ceremony and plaque presentation, Phillips took possession of the gavel and first asked for aldermen’s thoughts.
Scott Martin had a short list of unfinished business that needed attention, such as the status of the Municode, a program the city had purchased in order to organize and update ordinances. Riverfront property ownership, Dam 52 property and use of the motor fuel tax were other items with which he was concerned. Martin felt matters were started and then not followed through.
Workman felt that as alderman, she was not kept informed with city dealings and would like to see improvements in communications.
Phillips agreed that communication was key and that the city should be an open book and everything should be laid out on the table. “Attack problems, not personalities” was his short answer.
One of Phillips’ main concerns would be to get the flood wall in better condition since it is the life blood of the city.
“It may not ever be recertified, but it can be better maintained. The minor flap gates need to be cleared and the trees cut off for mowing. The storage area for the gates need to be fixed and the gates properly stored,” he said.
Getting business into town was another of Phillips’ goals. He would like to try again to get a dollar store to locate here. “There is the Enterprise Zone that should be an incentive, and we will look at what properties are available,” he said.
Phillips plans to talk to all the department heads and get a list of needs. Proper tools and equipment are needed for everyone to fulfill their role, this includes the community. “Look at what the community had done with the old school gym. People may not want to take the lead, but they do come through when something is needed. They were eager to help,” he said.
Once the water project is complete, the park needs attention. “There are many teams that would use the ballfield for practice, and the basketball goals need to be put back up. Kids need something to do,” Phillips said.
The new mayor acknowledged he would make mistakes and that it will take time for him to learn the rules and regulations, but he will be accessible and listen to suggestions. He would like to form partnerships with other entities and recognizes that, with community support, the City of Brookport will improve.
Refreshments were served once the meeting was adjourned.