Year in Review - Municipalities


Police coverage was a hot topic in Bement. Options discussed included contracting with the Piatt County Sheriff's Department to provide coverage. 

Mansfield Village Board member Tom Gilbert resigned to become treasurer for the village.

The Monticello City Council approved hiring LandTech Associates to prepare a master plan for the entire recreation department and the new proposed rec complex at a cost if $13,150. City Superintendent Floyd Allsop said the move was needed in order to be eligible for grants, but Joe Brown told the council he felt the move was committing the city to taxpayer dollars without their approval.

A decision was made to close Cerro Gordo's Community Ambulance in March.  Difficulty in staffing ambulances was a major factor in deciding to shutter the service, which had been in operation since 1982.

A $3,300 Illinois Clean Energy grant helped the Monticello Township Highway Department cut energy costs by replacing fluorescent lighting with more energy-efficient bulbs.

Monticello City Council members approved plans for an $8-$10 million assisted living facility to be built adjacent to the Kirby Medical Center and Carle Clinic. Plans for the 60-bed Carriage Crossing eventually fell through, but were replaced by the Villas of Holly Brook, which should be open in the spring of 2013.

A plan to bring fiber optic data/internet cable through the area could help local schools, municipalities and businesses with blazing fast data transfer speeds.

Bement was pondering a proposal for the Piatt County Sheriff's Office to patrol the community. The proposed cost would be $26.08 per hour, and the sheriff's department would patrol the community 32 hours per week.

Residents in Mansfield asked the village board to allow chickens within the village limits. Ryan Beasley said he would like to keep up to four chickens, and would not be keeping roosters. The village board said they would consider the issue.

With no local ambulance service, the Cerro Gordo area is being served by three area services, Kirby Ambulance in Monticello, Decatur Ambulance Service and Lovington Ambulance. Just who responds depends on which service is closer and has available personnel.

The Bement Village Board voted to enter into a contract with the Piatt County Sheriff's Office to provide police coverage for the village starting on May 14. An officer will be on duty no less than 20 hours per week.

A Monticello liquor license holder asked the city council to consider extending serving hours an extra hour to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Terri Norman of the Main Street Pub said the idea is to keep patrons from driving out of town to other towns that serve later.

Monticello Police Chief John Miller announced he would retire in June after 17 years on the job.

Pam Harlan was named the new City Clerk for Monticello.

Monticello aldermen offered  $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for a fire that heavily damaged about 160 feet of the walking trail that crosses the Sangamon River.

Liquor hours were extended in Monticello to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights after action by the city council. Stan Eades, Vince Kuetemeyer and Lyle Murdock were the dissenting votes in a 5-3 count.

A stray firework likely caused the fire that burnt a portion of the Monticello walk/bike trail, according to a report delivered to the Monticello City Council.

An agreement was reached between the Mansfield Village Board and the Blue Ridge School District regarding drainage work to be done in front of the junior high school in Mansfield. The village agreed to install 600 feet of 15-inch drainage tile on the east side of McKinley Street, which is needed for the addition being made to the school. Blue Ridge will take care of four additional storm inlets that will be on its property.

Bement Village Board members approved a contract for the Piatt County Sheriff's office to begin providing 40 hours a week of police coverage for the village beginning June 18.

Cerro Gordo water and sewer rates were raised about 10 percent, but the village hopes to compensate with lower electric rates through municipal aggregation, which pools towns together to bid out the purchase of electricity.

Michael Galloway was hired as the new police chief in Monticello, replacing the retired John Miller. Galloway, a Mendota native, came out of retirement to take the post. He had served 27 years in the Macomb Police Department, including six as chief of police prior to retirement.

Supporters of the Metamorphosis Montessori School in Monticello urged the city council to amend its animal ordinance to allow them to keep two sheep that had been housed at the school since the spring. Livestock is not allowed under city law. City leaders decided to allow the sheep to stay while it looked at the ordinance more closely.

The Monticello City Council formed a subcommittee to survey other towns on their animal ordinances. 

The Cerro Gordo Village Board considers establishment of a Business District, which would use an additional sales tax to fund economic development efforts. The village board approved the idea in concept in September, then formally approved it after a December public hearing.

Monticello reported record hotel/motel tax receipts of $29,765 for fiscal year 2012, which is 27 percent higher than the previous year and well above the former record of $25,599 set in 2002.

A survey of area Montessori schools shows that livestock are rare, mostly due to zoning rules and municipal laws. Many of the schools contacted would like to house animals, but schools in Mahomet, Bloomington and Champaign do not have animals. Prairie Flower School in Decatur does use chickens as part of its educational experience.

At a study session, the Monticello City Council admitted the local animal ordinance needed some cleaning up, but that an allowance for sheep would not be among its changes.

Due to complaints from some residents, Mansfield decided to stop working on an ordinance that would allow chickens within the village limits.

A school speed zone for the area of North State Street around the Metamorphosis Montessori School was approved by the Monticello City Council.

Monticello Water Plant Supervisor Scott Bailey won Illinois Water Supply Operator of the Year, an award given annually by the Illinois Potable Water Operators Association.

Cisco citizens gathered to dedicate a new, 50,000 water tower. The $350,000 project was made possible through a $265,000 state grant.

Monticello aldermen discussed the amount of staff time being used to fulfill Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Options discussed to more efficiently process requests include buying a centralized computer server, hiring additional staff, and issuing city email addresses to council members.

Monticello's Aquatic Center operated in the black for the first time in city history. The $5,000 profit did not include servicing the bonds issued to pay for the new aquatic center.

A video gaming ordinance was approved in Cerro Gordo.

An initial animal law rewrite in Monticello would outlaw roosters and horses and allow only four hens per home.

Monticello's west-side bike/walk trail reopened for the first time since a May 23 closed the trail that crosses the Sangamon River. Total cost for the project was about $40,000, according to city officials. City crews combined with local contractor Marc Poling to rehab the trestle/bridge.

Monticello boasts the lowest overall tax rate in the area, according to an 82-community study conducted by Berns, Clancy & Associates.

After six months of discussion, the Monticello City Council approved an amended animal ordinance that outlaws roosters and horses, limits residents to six chickens and makes setback standards for chicken coops more stringent. Mayor Chris Corrie expected the issue was not over, anticipating a court battle.



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