Beloit City Council Meeting
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
By Terry Bailey
Last night’s Beloit City Council gave witness to varying opinions of who said what, to whom, and when. In the time allocated for opening comments by the Councilors, Councilor Matte Otte read a prepared statement. It read, in part, “I believe it needs to be pointed out to our city staff, the local media, and the public at large that we hold regularly scheduled public meetings to pass formal ordinances and general policy is to be set by a formal vote of the council and not by just one individual council member who feels particularly impassioned by a specific issue.”
Otte’s statement continued, “Just because one councilor may choose to speak for a lengthy amount of time should it be misinterpreted that the councilor doing so has the formal support of the council.”
“I will not support any policy change which would target any individual or business for retribution especially when that business is exercising their hard won constitutional right to speak freely.”
Councilor Tony Gengler spoke more directly. “I have heard employees intimidated by council members with fear of retribution. I am talking about Mr. Richards. He has been bullying and intimidating employees and they shouldn’t have to put up with it.”
Gengler added, “Secondly, Mr. Richards, how come you are trying to broker real estate deals for the City without council approval?”
Council Bob Richards emphatically responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about. I categorically anything Tony has said.”
City Attorney Katie Cheney reported that the code revision has not been completed as hoped. She believes it should be completed in near future for the Council’s review.
City Administrator Glenn Rodden introduced Chief of Police Dave Elam who in turn introduced the City’s newest police officer. Kevin Albright was on hand to say be introduced to the Council. Elam said Albright will be going to the Academy as soon as it can be arranged.
Rodden then yielded the floor to Economic Development Specialist Heather Hartman. Hartman told the Council that they had received twenty-two demolition applicants and twenty-three rehabilitation applications for the block grant money. They will review and score the applications and there is money to fund eight rehab projects and nine demolition projects. Depending on a wide variety of factors, money may be available to fund a total of twelve to fifteen rehab projects. Hartman plans to apply for a similar grant as soon as one is available.
Rodden announced that the Planning Commission will meet on February tenth to review the final draft of the Comprehensive Plan. Depending upon action taken in that meeting they may or may not have a Plan to forward to the Council to act upon.
Rodden also informed the Council that they are ready let bids for the paving of streets at the North Campus project.
Nest on the agenda was consideration of Resolution Twenty Fifteen Dash Three, the Fee Schedule. Ronnie Sporleader told the Council that one last addition had been made to the schedule. It appears that at least one person, and probably more, has been switching out home electrical meters on their own after hours when regular City crews are not available. There is a multitude of safety issues and other concerns that prohibit such activity. Sporleader said they have adding wording into the fee schedule that addresses this issue and provides for City crews to perform this work after regular working hours.
A Nordic and box pad bid from Kriz-Davis in the amount of nine thousand four hundred nine dollars and nineteen cents was approved. These materials will be used at the North Campus, the Beloit Elementary School and the Spencer Pierson Building.
The Council approved the purchase of one hundred twenty Cooper forty-five watt LED street lights from Stanion Wholesale. The total cost will be eleven thousand nine hundred ninety-four dollars. These energy efficient street lights will replace the current mercury vapor lights that are considered to be “energy hogs.”
The final purchase of the evening was for the K-14 Geometric Improvement Project. The Council approved a bid from HD Supply for water and sewer pipe, and fittings in the amount of twenty seven thousand seven hundred twenty dollars and ninety seven cents.
The Council then adjourned into a twenty minute executive session to deliberate acquisition of property. When the regular meeting resumed, the Council voted to approve property values for the K-14 project and directed City Administrator to take action to acquire the properties.
The Council then adjourned to a twenty minute executive session for attorney-client privileged information. When the regular meeting resumed no action had been taken.
At this time the regular meeting was adjourned and the Work Session began.
City Attorney Katie Cheney made an announcement reminding everyone that there is a Snow Ordinance in place and there is a lot of winter weather yet to be faced. She noted that one business parks their vehicles on the street downtown and should the ordinance be implemented they and any others parking on the streets would be in violation of the ordinance.
The first order of business in the Work Session was consideration of the Purchasing Policy. This set off another round of fireworks. Council Bob Richards said, “Matt, I do not know if your statement earlier was aimed at me or not. I have always thought that when the City purchased from a vendor not in the City limits the price had to be at least ten percent lower than a vendor in the City. I have never said anything about boycotting any business. I think we owe it to the citizens to shop in Beloit.”
Councilor Matt Otte responded, “We shouldn’t set limits on who we will and will not buy from or we will shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Councilor Lloyd Littrell added, “We can’t make a policy that everything has to be bought in Beloit. There are a great many things we purchase that can’t be bought in Beloit.”
Councilor Kent Miller interjected his thoughts, “Boycott is a big word. East of Highway Twenty-Four or West of Highway Twenty-Four; we are all part of Beloit and we need to stick together.”
Richards said, “I believe we should buy our cement from Paul Abrahams He pays lots of taxes in Beloit and spends lots of money in the City. His business is within the City limits. I think we should support a City business.”
Otte observed, “It seems as if the three mile zoning issue has stirred up a lot of problems.”
To which Councilor Bob Petterson responded, “What does this three mile thing do? I was on the Planning Commission and I never heard of a three mile limit. Where did it come from?”
At that point the Council decided to adopt the Purchasing policy as presented and to have everyone follow it exactly as printed.
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