BELOIT CITY COUNCIL – Wednesday, January 4, 2023

By Terry Bailey

The Beloit City Council conducted their first business meeting of 2023 at City Hall on Wednesday evening, January 4th. Councilors Jamie Meier, Tony Gengler, Gretchin Staples and Andrew Grabon attended in person. Councilors Lee McMillan and Todd Adolph attended via a Zoom connection. Also attending were the Mayor, the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the City Clerk.
City Manager Rabe announced a public meeting is scheduled for the next Council meeting on January 18th. The topic of the gathering will be the Water Treatment Plant and the Pipeline from Waconda Lake. Topics for the meeting will include the status of the completion of these two projects, how much money had been spent to date, how much more will need to be expended to complete the project, and a summary of the project to date.
Rabe said the North Walnut project is still in a state of flux as grants become available to assist with funding the work. He said, "We just have to keep at it and see what sticks."
He reviewed the KHRC Down Payment Assistance Grant program. This will help mid-income families gain assistance in making a down payment on a new house. He expects there will be funding available to support three to five house building projects. He said homes at the North Campus would be less expensive to construct because water, sewer, electricity connections already exist in that location.
Rabe estimated that the City's cost for Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance will be in the neighbor of $910,000 for 2023.
Rabe announced on behalf of Economic Director Emily Benedick that a $75,000 grant has been received to pay for putting a roof on the old Duckwall's building as well as installing windows on the street side of the building.
The group reviewed the 2023 CIP (Community Improvement Program) list of projects. This is an ongoing list of improvements, new buildings and other work to improve the City of Beloit. He said this list is an attempt to answer questions such as, "What projects do we need to undertake to make Beloit a better community? How will these be funded? When might these projects be undertaken?" Currently there are 112 projects on this "wish list." Rabe said it would cost about 54 million dollars to do all the things that are on the list. He said, "That is why it is a long-range program planned take place over many years."
A fifteen-minute executive session was conducted to discuss confidential attorney-client business. No decisions were made as a result of this closed session.
In the work session Rabe introduced the topic of a Wastewater Plant Operator apprenticeship program. He said it is becoming increasingly difficult to locate certified personnel for the Wastewater and Water Treatment Plant. Gaining certification as a Plant Operator is a two-to-three-year course of study. He commented, "It might be wise to grow our own operators rather than being caught unaware." He proposed an apprenticeship program similar to medical facilities paying for nurse training in return for a multiyear commitment from the worker. The discussion will continue.


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