Aledo will not get stimulus money

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

The Aledo City Council learned Monday, March 2, 2009, that Aledo will not be getting any federal stimulus money because of its size.

Aledo Mayor Lee Celske said he attended a Bi-State meeting recently and learned that any municipality with a population less than 5,000 would not be receiving the federal stimulus. "The county will be receiving $354,000," said Celske.

Bear Country

Bill Breeden spoke to the city council during the committee of the whole about the upcoming Bear Country wrestling tournament. He thanked the city for its sponsorship over the past three years. "The last three years 36,050 people were in our gymnasium. Six hundred thirty nine wrestlers have competed in the last two years," he said.

This year's Bear Country tournament will be held Saturday, March 21 at the Aledo High School.

Breeden said the city has benefited greatly by hosting this tournament, which is organized by the Aledo Booster Club. He said last year more than $15,000 was raised, with proceeds going to all sports for the school district.

Bear Country is the state's "longest running little kids wrestling tournament," said Breeden.

The city has budgeted $1,000 a year to help sponsor the tournament for the last three years. Breeden asked the city to up its donation to $1,500 a year, saying "Trophies this year are in excess of $1,800."

Mayor Celske gave praise for the wrestling program. "They come from all over the state," he said.

The council took no action on the request.

Also appearing before the council were two area wrestlers, who received a City of Aledo proclamation from the mayor. Ethan Ball, a two-time qualifier at the Illinois High School Association Wrestling Class A finals, took third place this year and Austin Skiles, took second place in his weight category at state.

The proclamation attested to the hard work, dedication, enthusiasm and natural ability both wrestlers had and spoke of how the Mayor, city council and city of Aledo citizens "wished to extend this expression of pride in your accomplishments and appreciation for the positive enthusiasm brought to our community by good sportsmanship and hard work."

Sergio Esnard, representative of Micro-Surfacing, Inc., of Sterling, presented information on a road surfacing process for the council's information. He pointed out that "Pavements have a life cycle. There's no free lunch."

The micro-surfacing product is put over existing pavement as a topical treatment that will extend the life of the pavement, if it is applied at the right time. "It's only as good as the pavement you're putting it on," he said.

He said the pavement preservation has been used in Europe since the 1970s, where it was introduced. Now it is used in more than 40 states. One appeal the process has is its quick cure rate, which opens up treated roads anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour after it has been applied. "We do a lot of work at night," said Esnard.

The cost for this process runs from $225 to $235 per cubic yard.

The council took no action on its road repair program, but did set a committee date for Monday, March 9 at 6 p.m. to go over which streets will need resurfacing.

Lynnie Bowlyou appeared before the council to ask about the curb and gutter replacement that needs to be done next to his Tastee Freez restaurant. "When will we get the curb and gutter torn out and fixed?" he asked.

Bowlyou pointed out that his restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Mercer County and the oldest Tastee Freez in the United States. He said he has from 12 - 15 employees. "I passed out 32 W-2 forms last year," he said. "I think we provide a lot of jobs for Aledo."

The street committee has had an ordinance on its agenda since August 2008, to try to deal with the problem. The city earlier had installed curb and gutter on SE 3rd Ave., which narrowed the street too much and the council agreed to have an engineer do a study to rectify the situation. That study estimated the least expensive fix would cost $30,000.

Aledo Police Chief Mike Sponsler admitted there were traffic problems in the area. "This summer it did create a problem," said Sponsler.

"We haven't made a decision to rectify the problem," said Celske.

Streets chairman Doyce Hiscocks, Alderman in Ward 2, said "We couldn't come to a decision on what we would do."

Alderman Robert Rillie asked about the cost of the initial fix, which came in at around $3,500. He said, "We paid $3,500 to do it wrong. It couldn't possibly cost $30,000."

"I would like to see something done before the election," said Bowlyou.

The council will hold a streets and public property meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10.

Alderman Dale Jones, Ward 4, suggested that SE 3rd Ave., be added to the list of streets for summer repair.

The regular meeting of the council started at 7:25 p.m. with all council members present.

The council learned that the Wi-fi was still on hold, because Ameren wanted to have the city sign a contract for installing Wi-fi on some of their poles without telling what the cost would be.

The Farmer's Market proposal that Aledo Main Street brought to the council last month was also put on hold. There was clarification on whether or not a peddlar's license would be needed. As long as only produce was being sold, there would not need to be a license obtained, according to City Attorney Mark Walton. But if they are not selling 100 percent produce, they need to have a peddlar's license.

Aledo Main Street was asking the city to make a concession on the peddlar's license to not have a city fee. The council agreed to have the city attorney prepare an amendment to the existing city law.

Alderman Chris Hagloch, Ward 1, said he had visited the businesses along Main Street where the block would be closed off for the Farmer's Market to get their input on closing off the block. "I had a few that were concerned about taking away their parking," he said.

He also said that they would be in favor of trying it out for a period of a month to make sure it was something that would work for them.

The council took no action on the Farmer's Market.

Police Chief Sponsler said that the city will be replacing around 33 STOP signs that have faded. The old signs are about five years old.