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The Paxton City Council approved a new three year contract with its police officers union. The contract provides 3.5 percent raises each year. Also incorporated into the contract is a policy on residency that was approved halfway through the previous contract. Officers can live out of town but they must live within 30 minutes driving time of the police department.

Mike Wilson, chair of the finance committee said the deal is very good for the police officers. “Ultimately this is good for the police and fair for the city,” Wilson said. “We are thankful and appreciate what they do for us.”

Also Police Chief Coy Cornett reported that the health department will host drive-in vaccine clinics at its Taft Street site during weekends including April 18, May 8 and June 5. His department and the city’s ERS will assist with traffic control. The courthouse parking lot will be used for the 15 minute post-shot observation period and the portion of Taft between there and the health department will be closed to through traffic.

Also Cornett received approval for the purchase of a new police squad, a Ford Explorer Interceptor from Victory Lane Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Carlinville for $36,000. That price includes a $5000 trade-in for a 2013 Chevy Tahoe and money to outfit and stripe the vehicle. Cornett said the price for the Ford was considerably less than that of a new Tahoe. And the vehicle is available right now on the dealer’s lot. It will be paid for using fees and fines already collected.

Also Cornett reported that nuisance violators at two locations are taking two different approaches to their problems. The resident at 556 W. Center is making clean-up progress and paying down the city’s lien on the property but the resident at 640 E. Patton is making no progress there so the matter will be further pursued in court.

Also Cornett said in the wake of so many people having already gotten their Covid vaccines that the department lobby is open once again to the public. Officers are taking face-to-face calls and responding once again to medical calls. He said in-person trainings are also being offered.

Also the council approved spending up to $196,000 for this year’s street repaving using motor fuel tax funds. Portions of Spruce, Franklin and Walnut will be done on the west side of town. On the east side portions of Prospect, Center and S. Vermilion will be done. City employees will do some curb work and handicapped sidewalk ramps prior to a contractor doing the paving. City Engineer Greg Cook said the city typically spends just half of its available MFT funds in a fiscal year.

The council will vote next month to split with the chamber of commerce the $5,000 cost to purchase a marketing package with the newly opening Rantoul Family Sports Complex to showcase the motel rooms, restaurants and shopping available in Paxton to those who come to Rantoul for games and tournaments. Several council members said they thought the council should spend more than that to gain more exposure.

Mayor Bill Ingold thanked Alderman Susan Satterlee for her term on council and thanked her for tackling the city’s nearly 30 year old zoning ordinance. Satterlee said she didn’t run again because she couldn’t commit for four more years. Ingold said he’d like to talk her into being appointed for at least two more years. Jonas Hoedebecke, because of uncertainty about his future, also didn’t run but Ingold expects to reappoint him to his seat next month. And Clerk Gwen Smith, covering her final meeting, was thanked for her service to the city.

And finally, residents are urged to call city hall to set up appointment times to install new water meters. The majority of homes on the east side of time still need to have their meters changed.

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