BELOIT CITY COUNCIL – Wednesday, June 15, 2022

By Terry Bailey

The Beloit City Council met Wednesday evening to oversee the business of the City. In attendance were City Manager Jason Rabe, City Attorney Katie Schroeder, City Clerk Amanda Lomax, Mayor Tom Naasz, and Councilors Andrew Grabon, Jamie Meier, Tony Gengler, and Gretchen Staples. Councilors Todd Adolph and Lee McMillan were absent.
In the time reserved for comments from the Councilors, Andrew Grabon urged folks to be mindful of the severe effects made possible by the extremely hot weather. He encouraged people to keep an eye on friends and neighbors.
Councilor Tony Gengler said, "The same problem keeps coming up each year about time. I have heard from people concerned about our young people riding scooters, skateboards and bicycles on the streets downtown. This can be very dangerous for people on the sidewalks and the kids riding on the sidewalks at the same time. We need to remind the kids and their parents that riding scooters, skateboards, and bicycles on the sidewalks downtown violates city ordinance."
City Manager Rabe commented that he had noted the same problem. In discussing the problem Rabe and the Councilors hoped that by, once again, reminding everyone that riding on the downtown sidewalks is not safe and violates City ordinance. Rabe said that by informing everyone about the problem he hopes the people will self-monitor the situation. If not, more stringent measures may be necessary. Everyone hoped that step will not be necessary.
City Attorney Katie Schroeder told the Councilors that the City was nearing the limit for impounded cars at the lot located near the big KVSV radio tower. She anticipates a public auction in the near future to reduce the number of cars in the City's impound lot.
City Manager Rabe reported that the status of the new water treatment plant and pipeline was moving along at the expected rate as the City files paperwork with the KSDE and responds to their requests.
Rabe reported that the new Solar Farm was up and running as of last Friday at a limited capacity as the technicians fine tune the system and check out all the various components of the operation. The system will not operate at 100% capacity until it is officially certified.
A Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting of the Solar Farm will take place at the site of the farm on June 30th. The site will be open from 12 noon until 5 p.m. that day. The official ceremony will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. with visitors encouraged to attend. The site of the farm occupies ten to eleven acres.
Everyone noted that building of the solar farm was a very positive action with fuel prices rising to record numbers each day.
A frisbee golf tournament event was approved for Adam Mosher at the Chautauqua Park on July 22-24. No alcohol will be sold but consumption was approved.
The purchase of a parcel of property just north of 8th Street owned by Dr. Bob Gentry where the storm water control facility will be located was approved. The purchase of the property was in the amount of $35,000. This facility will be a part of the overall plan to control flooding on the west side of town currently experience during heavy rainfall.
A supplemental agreement for the previously approved phase four of the Safe Routes to School sidewalk building program was approved. This agreement increases the total overall expense of the project to $814,362. The City is responsible for 20% of the total cost. This segment will run east and west along 8th street making the work more complicated and more expensive than previous segments.
A hearing of the Public Building Commission was held. Current members are Mayor Tom Naasz and Councilor Lee McMillian. Matt Otte was the president but is no longer on the City Council. Andrew Grabon was named as the third member of the Commission and Councilor Lee McMillan was named as the new president. The Public Building Commission meeting was then adjourned.
Rabe summarized the new Personal Policy draft document for the Council. Formal action on the document may be taken at the next council meeting.
Rabe led the Council through a discussion of the current emergency siren system. It was noted that siren coverage across the entire city is not as complete as ideally hoped for. Rabe encouraged the Council to study the coverage map and construct a comprehensive overall plan for the system. The Council approve the purchase of a new siren to replace siren number four at a cost of $30,000.
Rabe reviewed the proposed new contract with Blue Cross-Blue Shield for health insurance. He said changes in the contract were minimal and well as a minimal cost increase. A Blue Cross representative will be present at the next meeting to present the new contract and answer questions.
Rabe presented a proposed budget for 2023. Due to the mandate by the state legislature, total dollars for the new budget is the same as the current budget. Rabe said, "This is a status quo budget."