GIBSON CITY — Three newcomers to the Gibson City Council were sworn in to office Monday night.
Aaron Franks, Aaron Kafer and Denis Fisher were each elected to four-year terms on the council in the April 2 consolidated election.
Franks defeated longtime alderman and former mayor Nelda Jordan to win a Ward 2 seat, while Fisher defeated incumbent Laura Miller to claim a Ward 4 spot. Kafer ran unopposed for a seat representing Ward 3, replacing Doug Parsons, who decided not to run for his appointed seat.
Also taking the oath of office for new terms were Ward 3 Alderman Scott Davis and Ward 1 Alderman Greg Houtzel, who were both unopposed in the April 2 election.
Facade grant approved
Also Monday, the council approved a sidewalk cafe permit request and granted $2,721 as part of the city’s facade grant program to Black & Whites Confections, 118 E. 8th St.
Owner Jennifer Thomas told council members that her business has added a soda fountain and she wants to expand seating areas outside her business onto the sidewalk. Thomas said five tables and three benches would be added to the outside.
In addition, Thomas said she would be adding planters to the sidewalk.
Thomas said the tables and benches would be removed in the winter, and she added that she would scoop snow on the sidewalk herself if the planters cannot be removed during the winter.
Also, as part of a building improvement, Thomas said she would be adding a flower bed on the west side of the building. Part of the flower bed would protrude into the city’s right-of-way.
City Superintendent Randy Stauffer said the idea would not be a problem, but he warned Thomas that snow plows would plow snow into that area.
The total cost of the project is $5,441, and the council approved a facade grant for half of that amount per its usual arrangement. Thomas said she would be starting “as soon as possible.”
The vote on both items pertaining to Black & Whites was 6-0. Fisher abstained from both votes since Thomas is his neighbor. Dennis Pardick was absent.
Pond committee budget
Gary Lutterbie presented council members with the 2019-20 budget for the fishing pond located at the Jordan Industrial Park on the city’s west edge.
Lutterbie, a member of the city’s volunteer-led fishing pond committee, said this year’s biggest project is adding a sidewalk around the pond. Lutterbie said an estimate totaled $23,840 for a cement sidewalk. Lutterbie said a sidewalk made from recycled asphalt could be poured for $14,000 but could settle and create rough patches, not making it wheelchair-accessible.
Other items for this fiscal year include planting more trees around the property and erecting signs. Lutterbie also said he plans to install a pavilion on the north side of the pond.
The total budget proposed by Lutterbie was $29,760, which includes the sidewalk project as well as $2,250 for signage. Lutterbie said labor will be provided by the city, thus absorbing the cost.
“These projects will wind it down for us,” Lutterbie said, talking about improvements at the property. “We are coming down to the last of the major things that we need to get done.”
In other business Monday:
➜ Stauffer asked that residents not dump garbage bags into the city’s Dumpsters and instead pay for their own garbage-pickup service. Stauffer said many of the city’s garbage bins have been full in recent weeks, and Police Chief Adam Rosendahl said the Dumpster at the Jordan Pond fills up frequently. Stauffer added that the bin in front of the Telecare building was filled with construction materials last week. Stauffer said violators will be fined.
➜ Council members approved an amendment to the Bloomington-Normal Enterprise Zone. Andrew Hamilton of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Corp. told the council that the change adds to the enterprise zone Brandt Consolidated, a fertilizer company with locations in Cropsey and Lexington.
➜ Council members approved an extension to the city’s cleaning contract with Sue O’Neal and Angie Lage. The only change is a slight increase in pay for cleaning City Hall, now at $175 per week. “We have a really good relationship with them, and they are doing a good job,” Alderman Susie Tongate said.
➜ The council granted special permits for the Lee Lowery American Legion Post 568 to host events on the third Friday of the month from May through September in conjunction with the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s Cruise Night events.
➜ Rosendahl said the shooting range will be open to the public from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 15, June 19, July 17 and Aug. 21.
➜ Administrative Assistant Peggy Stalter said the city recently underwent a motor-fuel tax audit. Stalter said nothing was found, as the city has not used money for major projects in the past year.
➜ Rosendahl said he is retiring the rank of lieutenant in the city’s police force and instead will be using captain as part of the second-in-command. Rosendahl said the change honors the late Eric Hyatt and Tony Row, who were each diagnosed with cancer while holding the lieutenant’s position.