City mulls changes to peddler's licenses

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Mayor Lee Celske, and two aldermen, Marc Dicklin, 1st Ward and Dale Jones, 4th Ward, were absent from the March 16, 2009 city council meeting.

Aldermen in Aledo heard a request from Bob Harrison, owner of Maggie Doodle Dogs, to lower the annual food cart license fee from a $250 annual fee to $100 at Monday's March 16, 2009 meeting.

Harrison also requested that the city install a 10-minute parking space and sign near his restaurant, located at 107 N. College Ave. He plans to use the space to offer curbside service to his customers.

Harrison said he paced off the area near his restaurant and said there was 27 feet before the alley. "There's enough space for a handicap spot," Harrison said. "There's plenty of elderly people in this town that would use it."

He said he wanted to take his restaurant to the next level and since it is not able to have a drive-through, the curbside service was the next best alternative. "We need to have curbside service if we're going to stay in town," he added.

The consensus of the council was to have the police chief and public works director look into the prospect and make a recommendation to the council at the next meeting.

Steve Moller, public works director, said he thought the city might already have signs that could be used to mark the spaces.

Regarding the food cart license fee, Harrison pointed out he contributes income for the city through sales tax revenue. "This is a burden for our business to pay the $250," he said. He said the $250 annual fee seemed "out of range because the days are limited."

There was a discussion about the peddler's license in conjunction other businesses that sell at a non permanent location. It was pointed out that Schwann's has a delivery route in the city, but sometimes parks its vehicle and sells out of the truck.

Harrison said that he would love to have more businesses join him with a cart selling food. "Competition is good. I would love to have another cart," he said.

The council discussed the need for having a permit system in place. Currently the city allows up to three food carts for an annual $250 permit fee, or a daily fee of $10 a day.

Harrison said that since he has opened an establishment, as well as has a food cart, perhaps the city should look at the peddler's license fee and adjust it.

The council directed City Attorney Mark Walton to put together either a resolution or ordinance that would amend the costs for an annual food cart license.

Public Works director Steve Moller said he had recently met with city engineers Missman & Stanley and toured the streets to put together a list of summer street work. "We're $30,000 under our allotted budget," said Moller.

Moller was directed to put together an updated list of streets that would need work done by the April 6 meeting.

"I'm trying to work on a program where we will do something every year," Moller added. "Chip and seal is a tough one to do every few years."

Moller said he was also working with putting up the telemetry building for the Industrial Park Water tower. He said the field is still a bit too muddy to get out there, but he figured sometime later in the week the crew could begin putting up the building. He looks forward to getting the electric service put in and have the tower online by the beginning of April.

Heritage Woods

A draft of the Heritage Woods Development agreement was discussed by the council. City Attorney Walton said the agreement was prepared by the developer's attorney.

He said he had also investigated several issues the council had concerns about, such as the lift station that was installed by the Heritage Woods Developers. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had on file a Dec. 27, 2007 application that indicated the city owned the lift station, he said. "In the eyes of the state the city owns it, the city maintains it," said Walton.

Another issue was the provision to dedicate the streets and cul de sac.

The third issue the council was concerned about was the water and sewer mains.

Walton said the city code doesn't define the difference between (water) mains and laterals, especially when looking at the condominium location as one big private parcel.

The development draft agreement makes the road the responsibility of the condominium association.

Walton said the council needed to decide whether it wanted to take ownership of the lift station, the water and sewer mains and the streets.

"I don't know that the mayor and Jewel Bucy (former public works director) had the authority to file the lift station with the EPA," said Alderman Robert Rillie, Ward 1. He also said there was no evidence that the streets were accepted (13th Avenue) for dedication to the city.

His opinion on the water and sewer mains -- "I don't see we have an obligation to take over the main pipes."

Chris Hagloch, who was acting as the mayor pro tem, then went around and asked each alderman present at the meeting what their views were.

Rillie said he was not in favor of the city's involvement with any of the development agreement. "I don't like that (the lift station) would service several subdivisions and is being paid for with tax abatement."

He compared the piping involved in the condominium development as equal to a 10-story building, only horizontal.

Rich Maynard said, "The property owner needs to take care of the streets and sewer and water."

Maynard also discussed the fact that there had never been an approval made of the plat for the subdivision.

Mike Frye asked, "Is it legal?" He wondered whether if anything went wrong out there, wouldn't the city be held liable.

Hagloch said, "I think we need to maintain the lift station, because we're going to have to take care of it anyway."

He suggested that the public works director have some camera work done on the infrastructure (water and sewer) out at Heritage Woods.

Moller said he would camera it within a week. He said he would have Missman and Stanley check for adequacy of the existing system and for additional loading, answering the question: Is the force main rated for expansion?

Rillie said that the agreement was proposing to give the developers everything they wanted. "We're not here to give them everything they want. We're here to find a solution to a problem they created."

Alderman Randy Mattson said he was not totally against the lift station, or water and sewer mains.

Farmer's market

The council also discussed the proposal by Aledo Main Street (AMS) for the Farmer's market. Maynard said he stopped by three businesses located on Main Street about closing off the parking for the farmer's market.

AMS is requesting the city close off Main Street between College Avenue and 2nd Ave, to allow vendors to set up stations in the street. The proposal is to have the farmer's market from 4 - 7 p.m. every Thursday, from June 11 through Oct. 22.

Maynard said some of the merchants voiced a concern about the parking. "Twenty five percent of the sales are after 3 p.m. (at Dollar General)," he said.

He suggested that the farmer's market only close off half the street, or maybe move to another area, such as down by Curves, or in the city parking lot. "I'm not so much in favor of closing this street," he said.

Pam Myers of Aledo Main Street spoke up and said that the issue had been thoroughly researched by her organization. She said one of the biggest complaints downtown businesses have voiced to her is that if there is an event at the park, the downtown businesses did not necessarily benefit.

"Our goal is to increase the traffic to the downtown merchants," she said.

"That's why we chose the direction that we did." She suggested that the council approve the farmer's market for a month and then reevaluate it.

"Most of them (businesses) are going to stay open until 7 p.m.," she said.

She said the farmer's market will give shoppers the option of coming to town, both to socialize and shop. "We've got six restaurants downtown."

She said she knows that the merchants are nervous about it, but thinks that the city needs to at least try it out.

The council directed the city attorney to exempt the farmer's market from having to purchase a peddler's license, and lower the annual fee from $250 to $100 for food service carts.

Another AMS downtown project -- installing Wi-Fi -- was discussed, with Moller saying he had not yet heard from Ameren about using the light poles for the Wi-Fi nodes. He added that he was under the impression that Ameren thought the Wi-Fi nodes would be attached to power poles.

The city attorney said, "It should be less of an issue for them if they're on light poles than on power poles."

In other business the council approved the Etheridge Tree Service Tax Increment Financing grant and loan.