The Paxton City Council held its regular monthly meeting online via Zoom. Mayor Bill Ingold, City Clerk Gwen Smith and City Attorney Marc Miller were present in the council chambers, other employees were in their separate offices and aldermen and the public checked in from their homes. Few technical problems marred the meeting.
The council voted to proceed with recommended road work to be paid for with motor fuel tax money. Public Works Director Mark LeClair said some of the side streets bordering downtown Market Street will be repaved in conjunction with the $1 million street replacement and sidewalk improvements set for this summer. LeClair said there is $153,000 available in the MFT fund. The streetscape project will be paid with state money.
Also the council approved paying United Paving, Paxton, $16,250, to redo a 290 by 18 foot section of the 400 block of E. Prospect, near the cemetery. That money will come from the general fund. Alderman Kammy Johnson Anderson told LeClair she’d like to see the alley that parallels Market behind the businesses uptown be redone. LeClair said there was not enough money to do that.
The council also approved the purchase and fitting out of a 2020 Tahoe for a squad car for $42,600. Police Chief Coy Cornett at the council’s direction will seek closed bids for 2013 police vehicle with 92,000 miles on it that will be retired.
Also the council approved the annexation of the Grace Baptist Church at 931 S. Railroad Ave. Pastor Levi Deatrick told Ingold the main reason he sought the action was for increased police protection. The church property already has city water and sewer services.
The council did not agree to install two-way stop signs on E. Orleans at the intersection with Winter. Two residents had complained to Alderman Deane Geiken about speeding vehicles along Orleans. But an accident study revealed just two accidents there in the past 15 years and Cornett said results from the speed trailer he set up there for a few days did not show excess speed.
Also the council agreed to delay the liquor license fee, $500, restaurants would pay May 1, to Aug. 1. The idea is to ultimately give the restaurants a six month break from the fee when the restaurants now are either closed or operating in a reduced capacity.
Also Todd McNutt of MCS Office Technologies spoke to the council about a possible downtown sound system. It could include programed music, security cameras and free public wifi. He installed such a system in Gibson City and what he proposes for Paxton would cost about $85,000.
Ingold said he had hoped some motel/hotel tax receipts could be used toward the project but that money has dried up. Ingold said the Cobblestone is closed and will remain closed through May and that not many people are staying at the Paxton Inn. McNutt stressed that at the very least the city should have conduit installed belowground during the downtown project and the council agreed to that.
Ingold asked McNutt to come back in May or June with a formal proposal. Nothing was said about asking any other company for a proposal.