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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

City of Byron City Council met November 6

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Jan 20, 2020

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City of Byron City Council met Nov. 6.

Here is the minutes provided by the council:

1. CALL TO ORDER – Mayor Rickard called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Led by Mayor Rickard

3. ROLL CALL – Aldermen present: Todd Isaacs, Emily Gerdes, Mittzi Fulrath, Dan Reilly, Zeke Hobbie, Michael Gyorkos, Christy Hanlin. Seven members present by roll call vote.

Quorum established.

* - denotes start of the roll call vote

PRESENT: Mayor John Rickard

City Clerk Caryn Huber

City Attorney Kim Krahenbuhl

Dir. Of Public WorksAaron Vincer

Police Chief Todd Murray

Dir. of Econ. Dev. Larry Hewitt

City Engineer Jason Stoll

Citizens Pam Kultgen, Bill Pirnat

4. REVERENCE PERIOD – Mayor Rickard led the Council in prayer.

5. APPROVAL/AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA – Alderman Isaacs asked to add Tax Levy as item 16c. for first read. Motion by Alderman Reilly to approve, as amended, the November 6, 2019, agenda. Seconded by Alderman Fulrath. Roll call vote: Gerdes, AYE; Fulrath, AYE; Reilly, AYE; Hobbie, AYE; Gyorkos, AYE; Hanlin, AYE; Isaacs, AYE. Motion passed: AYE, 7; NAY, 0; ABS 0.


a. October 16, 2019, Regular Council Meeting Minutes – Motion made by Alderman Hanlin to approve, as presented, the October 16, 2019, Regular Council minutes, seconded by Alderman Isaacs. Roll call vote: Fulrath, AYE; Reilly, AYE; Hobbie (stepped out); Gyorkos, AYE; Hanlin, AYE; Isaacs, AYE; Gerdes, AYE. Motion passed: AYE 6; NAY 0; ABS 0.


8. TREASURER’S REPORT – Mayor Rickard reported that he continues to look for an individual to fill the vacant Treasurer position.

9. LIST OF BILLS - The tentative bills for the City of Byron were presented to the Council for discussion. Alderman Isaacs asked about charges from Electric Pump. Director Vincer explained that this company does maintenance on our lift station pumps annually. This maintenance cycle, they found two pumps at the sewer plant that needed parts and rebuilding. Alderman Gerdes asked if we now have ChromeBooks. Director Vincer said they have added ChromeBooks for the public works department. Alderman Isaacs asked if the WIPFLI payment for $5,500 is the first progress payment. He plans to contact them. They have been done for some time and he feels it is taking too long to complete the audit. The audit is needed for many things, including TIF and bond reports. Motion made by Alderman Hanlin to approve the payment of bills dated November 6, 2019, in the amount of $178,453.08. Motion seconded by Alderman Gyorkos. Roll call vote: Reilly, AYE; Hobbie, AYE; Gyorkos, AYE; Hanlin, AYE, Isaacs, AYE; Gerdes, AYE; Fulrath, AYE. Motion passed: AYE, 7; NAY, 0; ABSTAIN, 0.

10. MAYOR’S REPORT – The mayor attended a regional meeting regarding wireless systems moving to 5G and what that will mean for the city. We will coordinate with five other counties to have enough people to attract companies to install 5G. 5G antennas are small and would be put on poles. 5G doesn’t travel as far, so there will be more antennas. • On October 24, the mayor issued a proclamation to the Byron Rotary Club regarding their global efforts to eliminate polio. • The mayor issued a pardon to Hulsebus Chiropractic, since when they opened 70 years ago, they opened illegally. • Unless there is objection from Council, the mayor will increase Linda McNames salary from $12.00/hour to $12.50/hour, effective next pay period.


12. CITY ENGINEER’S PROJECT STATUS – Engineer Stoll reported that work on Walnut St. continues. The plan is to put the binder down next week. A decision will then have to be made to continue paving or suspend the project until next winter. There is a sub-contractor doing the paving. Alderman Isaacs asked if our price will stay the same if the project is held off for completion next year. Director Stoll said they have had problems with the contractor regarding compaction testing, and they are discussing a maintenance bond. Any repairs that need to be done next spring would be their responsibility. They have been agreeable to that. There is discussion about whether or not a 2” binder will be enough to hold up to truck traffic. There were some unforeseen problems with the project such as moving a utility pole and additional water work.

13. REPORT OF DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – Two condos and two single family homes are being built. Two custom builds in Fawn Ridge will likely be delayed until spring. • Caryn is beginning to work on updating the code book a section at a time.


a. Community Services – Alderman Fulrath reported that they did not take any action this evening. They would like to schedule a special meeting to discuss road projects.

b. Public Safety – No report.

c. Administrative – Alderman Hanlin reported that the committee is recommending a $35 monthly phone stipend for Public Works employees. • The committee is recommending council approval to correct the gap in hours for full time benefits to 32 to 40 hours, as well as a deletion regarding police hours which is in the Union contract. • The Nicor utility tax went into effect November 1, and we should see the first payment at the end of January. ComEd approved the wording of our ordinance, and the committee recommends approval of Ordinance 2019-3, implementing a ComEd utility tax. • There was discussion about allowing slot machines in Felkers, but the committee is not recommending at this time. • The committee would like to have a special meeting on November 20 at 5:30pm to discuss the information Alderman Gerdes received at IML regarding the new Cannabis laws and ordinances.


a. Rush Property – Chief Murray has had several conversations with the father, but nothing new to report.

b. Revisions to personnel policies – The Administrative committee recommends approval of the following changes to the personnel policy manual: Under “employment definitions”, insert 32 to 40 or more hours per week after “scheduled to work”. This is to correct a gap in hours for full time benefits. On Page 6A, delete “Employees normally scheduled to work 42 hours per week “(police officers), and the formula matrix, as it is now covered under the union contract. Alderman Fulrath confirmed that full time will now be 32 hours. Alderman Gerdes expressed concern that benefits could potentially become expensive. Attorney Krahenbuhl added that the current personnel policy defines full time as 40 hours per week, and part time as less than 32 hours. There was no definition in place for the span of 32 to 40 hours. Alderman Gerdes asked if anyone discussed the change with current staff, and was concerned that they could also request to lessen their hours. Mayor Rickard said that current staff were hired in at the rate they agreed to. Roll call vote: Hobbie, AYE; Gyorkos, AYE; Hanlin, AYE, Isaacs, AYE; Gerdes, NAY; Fulrath, NAY, Reilly, AYE. Motion passed: AYE, 5; NAY, 2; ABSTAIN, 0.

c. Cannabis Ordinances –Nothing new to report.

d. Utility Taxes – Attorney Krahenbuhl referenced Ordinance 2019-3, An Ordinance Implementing a Utility Tax. The effective date is December 1, and we might expect our first payment by February. The tax is a graduated rate, and most residents will fall under the first category of.61 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 2,000 kilowatts. The rate drops for larger users. He added that by implementing these taxes, we will be better able to fund our Police Department and Street programs. ComEd has approved the wording of the ordinance. The Administrative Committee recommends passage of Ordinance 2019-3. Roll call vote: Gyorkos, AYE; Hanlin, AYE, Isaacs, AYE; Gerdes, AYE; Fulrath, AYE, Reilly, AYE; Hobbie, AYE. Motion passed: AYE, 7; NAY, 0; ABSTAIN, 0.

e. Parking Lot Signage – Still in committee.


a. Optional Insurance Benefits – Director Vincer reported that several staff members met with Chad Nelson (Crum-Halsted) and Shannon Krisch (GIS Benefits) to discuss offering optional insurance benefits (dental, vision, life, etc) to employees. Fees for these optional insurance benefits would be paid for by the employees. Chief Murray reported that he also received quotes on long and short term disability and life insurance that the city currently pays. Alderman Isaacs said that IMRF offers long term disability, and we currently only offer short term disability because of this. He will compare the rates.

b. Phone Stipend – Alderman Hanlin reported that the Administrative Committee recommends providing a phone stipend for Public Works employees of $35/month per employee. Roll call vote: Hanlin, AYE, Isaacs, AYE; Gerdes, AYE; Fulrath, AYE, Reilly, AYE; Hobbie, AYE; Gyorkos, AYE. Motion passed: AYE, 7; NAY, 0; ABSTAIN, 0.

c. Tax Levy – Alderman Isaacs reported that the Tax Levy needs to be approved by the first meeting in December and this is the first read. Our assessed valuation is $68,031,653. Taxes can be increased up to 5% without a truth in taxation certificate. Estimated taxes for this year are 98.6% of last year’s tax. We have been able to keep our levy consistent over the last 10 years. The total levy is $627,918.55.

17. COUNCIL TALK – The Mayor reported that Alderman Dach has moved out of Ward II, and has resigned as Alderman. The seat is currently vacant. • In keeping with the budget schedule, department heads should begin planning for the next fiscal year. Budget meetings will take place in January, and the mayor hopes for a finalized budget by March. • The city Christmas party will be on Friday, December 13. Social time at 5pm, dinner at 6pm, at Stronghold Castle.


a. Section 2(c)11 – Pending, probable or imminent litigation

b. Section 2(c)1 – Personnel

c. Section 2(c)(5)(6) – Purchase/Sale of City Owned Real Property

d. Section 2(c)(21) – Review/Approval of Closed Meeting Minutes

e. Section 2(c)(2) – Collective Bargaining Negotiations

Mayor Rickard advised there was no need for an Executive Session.


a. Next Regular City Council Meeting – Wednesday, November 20, 2019 @ 6:30pm.

Mayor Rickard adjourned the City Council meeting at 7:15 pm.


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City of Byron