City reviewing staff contracts

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

The start of the year business for the City of Aledo took just a short 45 minutes for its regular meeting Monday Jan 4, 2010, until the council met behind closed doors for an hour, coming back into session and taking no action.

The stated reason for the closed session was to talk about pending/possible litigation, personnel and purchase of real estate.

Acting Mayor Richard Hunter said the council met and discussed the three executive positions that are up for contract discussions. Current Chief J. Michael Sponsler has been the Aledo Chief since 2005. City Attorney Mark Walton was directed to prepare letters to all three contract employees - Janice Green, city administrator, Steve Moller, director of public works and Sponsler, chief of police. The council also discussed the Tony Rees case and aldermen were encouraged to bring back some suggestions for the newly purchased lot next to Central Park. "We'll have to have a public building meeting," said Hunter.

Aledo citizen Ron Moffitt spoke to the council during the committee of the whole. He said he recently received a letter from a friend who grew up in the Aledo area and now lives in Eldridge, Iowa. Gary Davis, now works for the River Valley Coop in Eldridge. His territory covers western Illinois and he has had occasion to meet clients in the area. Moffitt said Davis was really impressed with Aledo's downtown Livermore and wanted to send a message of encouragement to the city, letting the city fathers know that this is a real asset to the area.

In business, the city approved a lease between Dr. Prasop Rattananont of Aledo and Dr. John H. Leno of Rock Island. Dr. Rattananont is assigning the lease to Dr. Leno for six months. The building is located at 301 NW 2nd St., Aledo. Dr. Leno is an OB-GYN. The city owns the land the building is on and has a 99-year lease of the land for medical purposes. The aldermen approved the lease.

The aldermen also discussed an ordinance that would increasing new customer gas connection fees from $100 to $500. Aldermen received information compiled by Don Korns, gas superintendent, about the cost of installing gas meters in new houses. The city currently charges $100 for a new connection and is looking to increase the costs to be more in line with the cost of the equipment.

"We never recoup the costs," Korns told the council.

There was some discussion about the wording of the gas connection fee ordinance. Alderman Robert Rillie was concerned that because the costs are increasing, homeowners may assume they own the new meters.

City Attorney Mark Walton said he would take a look at the ordinance verbiage and try to clarify the equipment ownership issue.

In other business the city:

• Learned the cemetery was closed to traffic for a period of time during one of the latest snowstorms due to bad roads, but is now open. Also Moller told the council that there were 49 funerals last year at the city cemetery, which is a little over the average.

• Learned that proposals for the Old Junior High building have been published in area newspapers, with March 1, as the date for proposals to be submitted to the city.

• Learned a Tax Increment Finance meeting will be held Thursday, Jan 7, 2010 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.