City of Highland City Council met June 17.
Here is the minutes provided by the council:
Mayor Michaelis will introduce Miss Briar Engelmann as Mayor for the Day. She goes to St. Paul’s School. St. Paul’s School held a benefit fundraiser and one of the items on the auction was “Mayor for A Day”. Briar’s parents bid on that today. That is good, because, I need all the help I can get. Please welcome her. Who knows? She may be the mayor of Highland, someday.
“Mayor” Briar Engelmann called the Regular Session to order at 7:00pm. Mayor Michaelis and Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind were present. Others in attendance were City Manager Mark Latham, City Attorney City Manager Mark Latham, City Attorney Michael McGinley, Directors Conrad, Cook, Gillespie, Imming, Kim, Korte, Rosen and Slover; Coordinator Hubbard, B&Z Administrator Speraneo, Treasurer Foehner, Deputy City Clerk Hediger, City Clerk Bellm, two members of new media, and 17 citizens.
Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 3, 2019 Regular Session as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey, and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
At Mayor Michaelis request, City Attorney Mike McGinley opened the sole sealed bid received by parties interested in purchasing a portion of the city’s 138 kV Electric Transmission Line. Said property was declared surplus by Ordinance No. 2933 and offered for sale by advertising in The Pioneer on May 15, May 22, and May 29, 2019. The sole bid received is from Ameren Services Company, as agent for Ameren Company. The bid is for $1M. Mayor Michaelis asked what that means for the city. City Attorney McGinley explained the city declared surplus our rights and easements, utilities, and facilities from the Jarvis Station to the Lochmann Station. According to Illinois law, we have to surplus the property and advertise at least three times in the 30 days prior to opening the bid. We have an item on the agenda to award this bid, tonight, if the council sees so fit.
Citizens’ Requests and Comments:
2019 St. Paul Kirchenfest Request – Joe Horstmann, 2019 General Chairman, requested permission to hold our event August 23, 24 & 25. Mayor Michaelis asked what services will you need from the city. Mr. Horstmann responded city utilities, trash disposal services, police, fire and EMS services, and closure of streets. Mayor Michaelis asked what streets will be closed. Mr. Horstmann reported 9th Street at the western side of Lemon Street to the eastern side of Cypress Street; Main Street from the western side of Lemon Street to the eastern side of Cypress Street; Olive Street from south of the alley between 8th & 9th Street; Olive Street at the northern side of the alley from Main Street to Broadway; and, for during the run, Lemon Street from 9th Street and Main Street. Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve the request of St. Paul’s Parish to hold annual their annual Kirchenfest, August 23-25, 2019, with the services and streets closures as requested and as attached per special event applications; seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Racing Date Change – Highland Speedway – Sue Zobrist, Track Manager for Highland Speedway, since 2002, stated with so many rainouts this year, it has been tough to get races in. One of our regular Saturday nights, take off, so that we do not compete with another track. The I-55 Speedway, in Pevely, has not had a race yet this season. We have a gentleman’s agreement not to compete with races on the same night. For the Summer Nationals Race, they would like to switch dates with us. Our scheduled date for that race is July 6. We would like to swap for what would have been our off date of June 29. We have not asked for this before, but we would like to do that this year. Councilman Frey made a motion to approve the change of race dates for Summer Nationals race as requested; seconded Councilwoman Bellm. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Highland Band Parents – Cow Pie Bingo Square Use Request – Barbara Hosto-Marti, President, requested use of the Square for Cow Pie Bingo. This is our largest fundraiser for the school band program, which spans 5th Grade through high school. Councilwoman Bellm requested the date of the event. Ms. Hosto-Marti replied September 12, 2019. Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve the Highland Band Parents’ request to use the Square and facilities per the special event application as attached, to hold Cow Pie Bingo on Thursday, September 12, 2019; seconded Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Requests of Council:
Councilman Hipskind reported there was an item previously tabled to be on this agenda, which inadvertently did not make it on the agenda. It is my understanding that we can bring that up for discussion tonight. Councilman Hipskind stated I move to take from the table, Bill #19-69/A resolution authorizing allocation of Hotel/Motel Tax funding for the 2019 Chamber of Commerce Street Art Festival. Motion seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Mayor Michaelis advised since this motion is undebatable; we will go straight into a vote. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Councilman Hipskind stated I have a couple of questions for Mrs. Zobrist (Nancie Zobrist, Executive Director of Highland Chamber of Commerce). He stated, in full disclosure, I reached out Mrs. Zobrist and we discussed this matter and you answered the majority of my questions. There was a few folks here from the Chamber, last time, but they did not know the budget for this event. It was a concern of mine and other members of the council as to the increase in the amount of funding requested for this event. The fact remains that you are making a decent amount of money off the event. Councilman Hipskind asked do you make revenue for sales of drinks and alcohol. Mrs. Zobrist responded the Jaycees hold the Hops & Color Festival simultaneously with this event. They pay a flat rate and then a percentage of sales after a certain amount. It comes as a donation from the Jaycees. Councilman Hipskind asked how much. Mrs. Zobrist stated that it varies based upon sales, which is dependent upon the weather. It is included in our budget under “other income”. Councilman Hipskind reported $7,700 was budget amount based upon last year for that. Councilman Hipskind stated the amount ($4,048) seems like a lot of time. Mrs. Zobrist explained that staff spends six months out planning for this event. This is a time intensive event. Artist are great people, but they are not good about meeting deadlines. We spend a lot of time communicating with them, following up and confirming the event and details with them. Councilman Hipskind explained I am general counsel for a large comedy festival in St. Louis, so I do understand how it works. How much time and people are involved for the staff cost? Mrs. Zobrist replied one full-time executive director and two part-time staff members.
Councilman Hipskind noted it was stated that some of the additional money requested in the budget for advertising was for signage. Would you tell us about those signs? Chamber Executive Director Nancie Zobrist reported the signs are 10mm corrugated boards signs. It would be for an additional six signs. We would invest in them for reuse each year to catch the other towns in the area, to encourage attendance. We will not have to purchase additional signs next year. The signs are $340 signs each ($1,920). Councilman Hipskind stated I know about working with artists, with the comedy festival. People always want to know the dates. Mrs. Zobrist responded, if that is the hold up on this, I would be happy to design the signs so we can put the date on them and change the vinyl dates each year on them. They are modifiable. The rain date is always the day after the scheduled event. Usually, if it called on the account of rain, we do it that morning. Councilman Hipskind asked if rains on Saturday, then it happens on Sunday. If it rains on Sunday, too, it would be cancelled all together? Mrs. Zobrist replied yes.
Councilman Hipskind stated I believe money spent should have a return on investments. When taxpayer money is used, it should be the same. Do you have any data that this increase in budget for advertising will increase revenue? Mrs. Zobrist responded I was told by the Highland Arts Council increased their advertising their revenue increased. Councilman Hipskind stated I am not concerned about other organizations. Do you have actual data? Mrs. Zobrist asked do you want hard numbers or do you want actual data. The Highland Arts Council spends 40% of their budget on advertising. When they increased their advertising budget, it grew their revenue significantly. Councilman Hipskind pointed out this is a lot of money for a one-day event that could be rained out. Mrs. Zobrist acknowledge, yes, I realize this is an outdoor event and there is a chance of rain. That is the chance anyone takes with an event like this. Councilman Hipskind pointed out your request for additional funding is based upon the Arts Council’s information. Councilman Frey inquired the increased advertising is primarily for these signs, what other advertising is included in there. Mrs. Zobrist reported these signs are reusable and we have some already that are reusable. We currently have a digital billboard already running. We are also doing digital advertising outside of Highland and radio advertising. Councilman Frey asked in addition to the signs what other advertising are you adding. Mrs. Zobrist stated we have done all of these in small portions. We are just doing larger amounts in each areas. We are partnering with banks to put the additional signs on property of those banking branches outside of Highland. Councilman Frey expressed I do find the advertising amount to be high. Mrs. Zobrist asked what would be an appropriate amount. Councilman Frey stated I think half that amount, based upon past events that I have worked with. I have attended this event before. Councilman Hipskind expressed I do want to say that I love your event. I would be happy to help with the event and I want it to succeed; however, $6,000 is too much. $6,000 is a lot of taxpayer money if it rains out. I would be comfortable with half that amount. I am happy to support with other events, but this is a lot of money for a one-day event. If you cut in half, I would be happy to vote “yes”.
Councilwoman Bellm stated I do not have a problem with the Chamber making a profit on this. I would prefer to have this event promote the retailers more, but I understand how it is set up and that it does not work. All the other organizations that we give this funding to, all have to make profit to do all the other things they do. It is not taxpayer dollars. It is funds from taxes of those that stay at the hotel. We have approximately $46,000 estimated to distribute. It has to be used to promote, market events aim towards tourism. It does seem like a lot of money for a one-day event. I think it could be a much bigger event, possibly if more money is spent to advertise the event. Councilman Hipskind stated I understand the distinction of where the money comes from. It is as much my money, as it is yours or Councilman Frey, or any other citizen. If you ask any business owners if they are going to double their advertising costs, they would not unless they are going to see an incremental return. If there is no other data than what other art people say, I do not feel that supports it. Councilwoman Sloan stated the Street Art Festival was one of the first things I attended when moving here. It is what brought me into getting involved in this community. You need to grow your advertising costs each year, because it costs more each year. Councilman Hipskind stated I have your actual 2018 budget and proposed 2019. How much did you spend the $2,600 advertising, in 2018? Mrs. Zobrist reported we spend $3,000 for IllinoiSouth Tourism, which gets print advertising for Christmas Parade and Street Art Festival. Then we advertise in the Pioneer, Belleville News Democrat, and The Shoppers’ Review. Therefore, you could say half of the $3,000 for the Illinois South Tourism goes to this event. Councilman Hipskind stated this is a huge increase. I think it is a great festival, but it is a lot of money. If giving this much money, then maybe have the city staff have a say in how the advertising funds are spent.
Mayor Michaelis explained this motion is to approve the requested funding in the application, for $6,254 in hotel/motel funding. City Attorney McGinley advised the amount of funding can be amended. The committee reviews the application to decide if it qualifies for the funding. The council can amend the request as they see fit. A motion can be made to amend the motion to a different amount, if someone wishes. With no further comments from anyone, Mayor Michaelis called for a vote. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Bellm and Sloan voted aye; Councilman Hipskind and Frey voted nay; and, Mayor Michaelis voted nay. Motion fails.
City Manager Latham reported the demolition work of the buildings along Main Street is complete. A concept of the parking lot for that area has been provided to the council.
One leg of the roundabout (east side) was poured this morning before it rained.
City of Highland EMS staff provided about seventy hours of support during the flood, in Jersey & Calhoun Counties.
Councilwoman Bellm noted, with regards to the lot along Main Street, there are some big trees on that lot that are still there. I would like to see if we can keep them. City Manager Latham stated he would check into that. Mayor Michaelis noted one tree appears that it needs to come down. He suggested contacting Burt Elliott, who has a portable saw. If we ask him, he has offered free service to cut the wood up and take it to the high school for the shop students to use to build various desks, chairs and other items for donation to needy causes throughout the city.
Bill #19-74/ORDINANCE Authorizing Surplus Real Estate Interests in Easements, and Surplus Personal Property Including Utility Facilities, to be Sold According to Acceptance of Bid - Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve Bill #19-74/Ordinance #2940 authorizing surplus real estate interests in easements, and surplus personal property including utility facilities, to be sold according to acceptance of bid as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Councilman Frey made a motion to amend this to award bid as opened on June 19, 2019, for real estate interest in easements, and surplus property including facilities as previously declared surplus with Ordinance #2933 to Ameren Services Company, as agent for Ameren Company, for the amount of $1,000,000; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried and motion amended. Roll Call Vote on the motion as amended: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Approve Mayor’s Reappointments to the Library Board of Trustees – Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve the mayor’s reappointments of William Wagner, Arnold Bodinet, and Justin McLaughlin to the Library Board of Trustees, for additional three-year terms to expire June 2022, as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-75/ORDINANCE Amending the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 90, Article I, Section 90- 15, Definitions, To Include a Definition for “Hardship” – Councilman Frey made a motion to approve Bill #19-75/Ordinance #2941amending the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 90, Article I, Section 90-15, Definitions, to include a definition for “Hardship” as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Councilman Hipskind asked this is just for clarification purposes; we are not really changing anything. Mayor Michaelis replied yes. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-76/ORDINANCE Amending the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 90, Article I, Section 90- 15, Definitions, and Chapter 90, Article II, Division 4, Section 90-73, Accessory Uses – Development Criteria – Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve Bill #19-76/Ordinance #2942 amending the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 90, Article I, Section 90-15, Definitions, and Chapter 90, Article II, Division 4, Section 90-73, Accessory Uses – Development Criteria as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Councilwoman Bellm asked this is just cleaning up wording. Planning & Zoning Administrator Breann Speraneo explained we are defining Accessory Use for clarification and we are defining setback so that it is standardized and clear. In all areas, it is five feet from the rear and five feet from the side. If we have a clear code, everyone is at the same standard. Councilwoman Bellm asked what this changed from. Administrator Speraneo reported our setbacks were a lot larger, with ten feet from the rear property line. This prevented a lot of people from construction of a garage or pool. Accessory Uses are not structures, such as fences. Previously, the setback, for those non-structure items was three feet. If a building, the setback would range from seven- to ten-feet, depending upon the area. This just makes everything more consistent. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-77/ORDINANCE Amending the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 90, Article I, Section 90- 15, Definitions, and Chapter 90, Article VIII, Division 3, Section 90-263, Signs – Permitted (Feather Flags) – Councilman Frey made a motion to approve Bill #19-77/Ordinance #2943 amending the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 90, Article I, Section 90-15, Definitions, and Chapter 90, Article VIII, Division 3, Section 90-263, Signs – Permitted (Feather Flags) as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-78/ORDINANCE Declaring Personal Property, Surplus and Authorizing Its Sale and/or Disposal, Including Highland Communication Services Equipment, and Other Personal Property – Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve Bill #19-78/Ordinance #2944 declaring personal property, surplus and authorizing its sale and/or disposal, including Highland Communication Services equipment and other personal property as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Bill #19-79/ORDINANCE Declaring Personal Property, Surplus and Authorizing Its Sale and/or Disposal, Including Public Safety Department Equipment, and Other City Personal Property – Councilman Frey made a motion to approve Bill #19-79/Ordinance #2945 declaring personal property, surplus and authorizing its sale and/or disposal, including Public Safety Department equipment, and other city personal property as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Councilman Hipskind asked City Attorney McGinley to enlighten those people in the room what these things are about. Attorney McGinley explained there are items such as set top boxes, computer and office equipment, and other things that the departments have no need for because they are obsolete. Councilwoman Bellm expressed concern about the number of bikes on this list, again. So many kids need their bikes! Director Conrad replied I don’t get it either. I think I had a total of two bikes when I grew up. Councilwoman Bellm asked how we get rid of them. Director Conrad reported we use online auction or actual auction. We do, from time to time, have parents or grandparents looking for a bike for a child. Mayor Michaelis asked does the department still offer engraving to personalize the bikes. Director Conrad replied, yes, we will engrave. Most chose to personalize themselves with stickers and decals. Mayor Michaelis stated I do not think kids ride their bikes like they did years ago. Director Conrad replied that is true. However, the kids out at the skate park do not lose their bikes, they are higher dollar. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Sloan, Frey, Bellm and Hipskind voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Approve Notice of Municipal Letting, Bid #PD-10-19, for the Purchase of One New Special Service SUV – Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to approve Notice of Municipal Letting, Bid #PD- 10-19, for the purchase of one new Special Service SUV as attached; seconded by Councilman Frey. Councilman Hipskind asked can we get a breakdown of what we are doing, for those in attendance. Director Conrad reported we are planning to transfer the 2017 Tahoe to the fire department, as they need to replace the Chrysler 2005 SUV they have. They need a larger SUV, and I do not need something of that size. We will replace mine with a Special Service SUV. My needs are not as great as a patrol vehicle, so all manufactures will have the option to bid on this. We will consider vehicles that are AWD or 4WD. The black Taurus used by Chief Wilson will be moved to city administration use. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Approve Warrants #1132 & #1133 – Councilman Frey made a motion to approve Warrants #1132 & #1133 as attached; seconded by Councilwoman Bellm. Roll Call Vote: Councilmembers Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to temporarily adjourn this regular session to enter into executive session under the Illinois Open Meetings Act under 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(1) to discuss the performance of a specific employee of the public body; 120/2(c)(11) to discuss probable litigation; and, 120/2(c)(5) to discuss the purchase of real property. Motion seconded by Councilman Frey. Roll Call Vote: Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan voted aye, none nay. Motion carried.
Mayor Michaelis asked “Mayor” Briar Engelmann some questions about herself. She is nine years old and going into fourth grade. She has no real heroes; however, she really likes President Donald Trump. Mayor Michaelis stated he had something to present Briar, for the fine job she did today. Shaun Voegele notified Mayor Michaelis he was unable to get a “Trump” shirt in Briar’s size. Mayor Michaelis made Shaun promise to get Briar a “Trump” shirt.
Meeting adjourned at 8:08pm.
Mayor Michaelis reconvened the Regular Session at 8:53pm. Council members Hipskind, Bellm, Frey and Sloan were present. Others in attendance were City Manager Mark Latham, City Attorney Michael McGinley, Deputy City Clerk Hediger, and City Clerk Bellm.
Mayor Michaelis stated that nothing discussed in Executive Session would be acted upon tonight.
Councilwoman Bellm made a motion to adjourn; seconded by Councilman Frey. All council members voted aye, none nay. Motion carried and meeting adjourned at 8:54pm.