The Prophetstown City Council held discussion on changing phone and computers systems at city hall during their meeting on Tuesday night.
Aldermen Ryan Inskeep said he had spoken to representatives with Stahr Media, William and Mary, and one other local company about computer upgrades. More information will be gathered with possible presentations to be arranged for the October meeting.
An update to the city’s phone system was also discussed. Swanson said, “The phone system here stinks,” and described several problems with the current landline system. Office Administrator Rhonda Carter said she would check into options and report back at the next meeting. The council did decide to switch the internet provider at the public works building from Frontier to Mediacom.
Discussion was also held concerning installing security cameras in the City Hall lobby and office area. The council agreed it was a good idea and costs will be investigated.
Council Discussion and Action
A motion to amend the ordinance pertaining to building permits was tabled, but city attorney Matt Cole said he would have a draft ordinance for the Council to consider at the October meeting.
The water drainage issues on Birch Street which briefly discussed. There was no new information, but the public works department will continue to search the area for a rock well that may have been installed decades ago to help with the problem.
Trick-or-treating was briefly discussed. Police Chief Bruce Franks said he would contact the Whiteside County Health Department to seek their input. The majority of the Council was in favor of having trick-or-treating from 5 to 7 PM on Saturday, October 31. Specific information will be forthcoming from the police department.
The mayor updated the Council on the progress of paving the alley just south of Highway 78 between Locust and Grove Street. Last month the mayor reported a property owner on the alley considered it private property. After checking with the county, it was determined that the alley is public, and the property owner relinquished the claim. Mayor said the paving should be done soon.
Mayor also asked the public works department to do some additional smoke tests on the sanitary sewer system to determine if there are any homes that have downspouts connected to the system. Swanson said any additional water that can be removed from the system helps it to run more efficiently.
Swanson also updated the Council on the status of the storage building that has been condemned on Railroad Street across from Eclipse Square. Swanson said the city attorney advised him to contact the owners and try to get a quitclaim deed to the property. If that is done the city will then be responsible for any back taxes and can then proceed with demolition.
Jan Pels address the Council with a complaint about vehicles speeding on Park Avenue. She collected signatures for a petition asking for speed bumps to be placed on the street. Mayor Swanson said that speed bumps cause major problems with snow removal and would not be a good option. Please chief Bruce Franks said he would step up speed monitoring on the street to see if that alleviates the problem.
Gene Ryan owner of Ryan’s Tree Service presented the Council with a Freedom of Information Act seeking information on the city holding an EPA permit that allows commercial tree trimmers to dump their waste at the city yard waste collection site. A lengthy discussion ensued between Ryan, Mayor Steve Swanson and Public Works Director Brian Strike about commercial tree trimming companies dumping trees at the Prophetstown site illegally. Swanson said he has witnessed a few illegal dumps and required the offenders to remove the material. The site is not gated and has no posted hours. Ryan said not only is it illegal for commercial entities to dump their waste, but it is also unfair as it can save companies money from having to transport their waste to locations where fees apply. Swanson said that commercial waste is not allowed in the site and anyone caught will have to remove the waste. Swanson said he is not in favor of putting up a gate and setting hours as it would be inconvenient to the public.
Todd and Michelle Wetzell, 5573 Lyndon Rd. – Swimming pool deck
April Hinton, 316 W. 3rd St. – Fence
Police – Chief Bruce Franks
Franks addressed Atty. Cole about a loophole in the state statutes regarding possession of tobacco products by minors. Cole said the state legislature removed “possession” from the law and that several municipalities have also complained about the change in the law. Cole said he would check again to see if any changes have occurred to address the situation.
Public works – Dir. Brian Strike
The final E-waste drop-off will be on Saturday, October 17.
Executive Director-Tara Pyse
Announced that plans are in the works to hold a “reverse parade” in the Prophetstown State Park in lieu of the traditional Lighted Christmas Parade on Main Street. Organizations and individuals will be invited to set up lighted displays with spectators driving by in their vehicles. There will be some activities on Main Street. More details will be announced.
The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 13 at 7 PM.