Accomplishments behind us and goals ahead of us

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The City of Aledo seems to have got a lot done in 2014. From introducing the Aledo Bulletin to refinancing the IEPA loan for the water treatment plant to purchasing a new street patching machine with the Mercer Township Highway Department.

Hagloch said the Aledo Bulletin began publication last year to inform the public about city programs and services.

"It's received a good response," said Hagloch. The bulletin publishes twice a year in spring and again in the fall. The spring addition will come out in March or April. "We felt we needed to get some info out. We want people to know we are not trying to hide anything here. We want people to know why we do what we do."

The City recently completed three year labor agreements with its two bargaining units.

Hagloch added, "We completed a street analysis throughout the city so we can budget better maintenance of our roads. When we get done with the study we would have a four to five year plan on what to fix next in the streets of our community.”

Hagloch noted the city had successfully negotiated a 30 year contract with Ameren. It replaces a 50 year contract that just expired. In the past the city had received a discount toward their streetlights. Ameren is beginning to phase that discount out this year. "We had no choice really," said Hagloch. “We can't go to MidAmerican. We have to work with Ameren.”

Hagloch said the upgrade to the city's substation is a couple of years away. "They are spending a few million dollars at the New Windsor plant which should help with the service in Aledo."

Hagloch said Ameren has supplied them with an engineer to help fix issues the city has had with the system. "We have to reset the system because of power surges," said Hagloch. Members of the city's water department are spending a tremendous amount of time traveling back and forth resetting the system each time there is a power surge.

Hagloch said the county has also had some power issues at the jail and the hospital has also had some issues with power surges.

The city recently sold two lots at Progress Park to Big Rivers Resources for the future construction of a grain storage facility. "It should be a nice addition to our tax base," said Hagloch. "They have five years to build a storage facility or the city can purchase the property back."

The city constructed a new salt storage facility in 2014 and it is working out well. "We've used up the remainder of the salt we had stored up last year. Now we are purchasing the high priced salt."

After last year's winter there is a salt shortage and the price of the salt has skyrocketed. "We've used up more than 100 tons of salt since November," said Hagloch.

While the city and the village of Joy entered an agreement on a water main interconnection project, the city is not currently selling water to the village of Joy. "This is in case their system were to fail. They can switch a valve and have city water from our plant."

Hagloch said the city would still have plenty of water even it the Village of Joy were to become a permanent customer.

Hagloch noted that the city is surveying property and finalizing the plans for the multi-purpose path. The City will be finalizing the plans for the path throughout the spring and summer getting right of ways and purchasing land. "We hope in the fall to put it out for bids. This is Phase 2 of the plan with the construction in the spring of 2016. There are three overall sections to the path. Phase 1 was accomplished this summer with sidewalk repair and replacement. Phase 2 will connect from SE 2nd Avenue through to the south side of the cemetery to Wal-Mart. Also part of Phase 2 is the part of the path behind the hospital. Phase 3 includes the part at the Northside ball diamond east through Dave and Jo Lawson's property and the bank to Highway 17.”

Hagloch said the city is taking steps to deal with problem buildings inside the city limits such as those at the RMA site. Hagloch noted that the old RMA site was one of four properties the city was currently going through the legal process to encourage the owner to clean up. "We are trying to work with the right people to get it cleaned up," said Hagloch.

"The City successfully refinanced its IEPA loan for the water treatment plant west of Joy," said Hagloch. "The refinance of the IEPA loan was very positive for our city. We saved $78,000 and will pay off the water treatment plant in 2019." Hagloch noted that the city will pay off its newest water town in 2018 and between the two, the city will have an additional $400,000 to $500,000 per year to use on other projects. He feels the sewage lagoon project was one of the next items on the list.

Administrative

•Aledo Bulletin was introduced to inform the public on City programs and services.

•Re-established the Historic Preservation Commission to complete a National Register District application for the downtown area and promote Aledo's historic resources.

•Re-established the Plan commission to appropriately review subdivision developments and encourage long-term community planning.

•Approved the reduction for the Class D Liquor Licenses to better control the type and location of liquor establishments in the city.

•Appointed a new director public works and utilities.

•Negotiated three year term labor union agreements with two bargaining units.

•Approved a new natural gas utility transportation agreement to maintain municipal utility services.

Financial and economic development

•Refinanced the IEPA loan for the water treatment plant, which provided a $78,000 cost benefit and an overall reduction in the financing term by two years to 2019.

•The City received an S & P Bond rating of "AA-" which is an exceptional rating for community or size and shoos the City Council's commitment to fiscal responsibility.

•$7 million balanced budget for FY 2014.

•Introduction of a five year capital improvement program budget to better plan and budget for future infrastructure improvements.

•New 30 year Ameren franchise Agreement.

•Initiated direct debit utility billing for customer convenience.

•Sales of lots 1 and 2 in Progress Park second addition to Big Rivers resources West Burlington, LLC for future construction of grain storage facility.

•TIF project support to Blessed by Nature and Mercer County VFW.

Equipment purchases

•Purchase of a new John Deere wheel loader for the street department.

•New spray injection street patching machine purchased by Mercer Township Highway Department and the City.

•New gas department pick-up with snow play and tool storage box.

•New mowers for cemetery department and water and sewer department.

Infrastructure projects

•New Police Department renovation completed.

•New Salt Storage Building completed.

•Central Park Electronic Message Board installed.

•NE 8th Avenue milled to improve the street profile and re-surfaced.

•Cemetery roadways resurfaced.

•Completion of the Village of Joy/City of Aledo water main inter-connection project.

•North College Avenue/NE 2nd Street Intersection Project completed.

•NE 3rd Avenue water service line relocation project completed.

•New street sign installation.

•Storm sewer utility mapping project completed.

•2014 sanitary sewer lining project underway.

•Well site grounding fields installed to reuse lightning strike surges.

•Preliminary engineering for the multi-purpose pathway project is underway.

•GIS mapping coordination between the city, Mercer County and Western Illinois University for improved mapping and access to parcel data for the City.

•New aerial photography project for the City and surrounding area was completed with the intent to share the imagery with the County to update the aerial photography from the previously used 2003 aerials.