The Monticello city council met Tuesday, Oct. 15 due to the Columbus Day holiday. Three aldermen were not present for the meeting – Jeremy Jones, Rodney Burris and Tom Reed, but a quorum was still available to conduct business.

The council voted 5-0 to approve Ordinance 2019-57, which leases the city-owned property at 315 E. Center St. to A Small Hand-Piatt County Cares, Inc. for two years. The lease will not require any payment for rent but will require the organization to pay utilities and maintain the appearance of the property.

Mayor Larry Stoner voiced his support of the proposal and clarified the need for the organization.

“That house is sitting vacant and we’re not going to get rid of it anytime soon, so I think it is a real worthy way to use the property,” Stoner said. “A Small Hand and Piatt County Cares have bounced around because they couldn’t get a spot to stay – either their lease ran out or someone else purchased the property where they wanted to stay. This lease gives them some stability and I think it’s a good use for that property.”

The city purchased the property in 2014 in anticipation of improvements to the current Police/Fire Department building, but the building has been vacant since the purchase. City Administrator Terry Summers said the proposed improvements are not in the city’s near term plans, allowing for this use of the property.

“We are just very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to serving our clients in the new location with all the space we need to accommodate both our food and diaper pantry needs,” said Christina Sanantonio, director of PCC and A Small Hand Diaper Pantry.

Budget Planning

Preliminary 2020 budget plans were distributed to council members, with budget committee meetings to begin Oct. 28 and study sessions planned for Monday, Nov. 4. Summers said the budget is almost complete pending some final adjustments.