The Chester City Council approved spending $75,000 to complete the Buena Vista Street improvement project during the council's regular meeting Monday night.
The council approved spending $59,663.25 to Red Dot Construction for the project completion and $15,401.31 for the right of way work which included sidewalks and driveway entrances. City Engineer Harold Sheffer of J.T. Blankenship Inc., added that there will be a few more bills coming in as the last of the incidentals are completed.
Sheffer said his firm is nominating Red Dot for the Urban Progress Award for their good work on this project. Mayor Tom Page echoed the declaration, saying the city has received many compliments on the new road.
The Water Treatment Plant improvement project will soon begin, as approval was given to J.T. Blankenship Inc. for engineering services at the plant. The work could cost up to $2 million, but federal money should cover 75 percent of this cost, leaving the city with a bill of $500,000.
The City Maintenance Department received approval of the purchase of a new Bobcat Compact Track Loader at a cost of $59,000. Superintendent Randy Eggemeyer added that this equipment is under warranty for three years and the City will get a lot of use out of it. In addition, approval was given to purchase two new snow plows at a cost of $10,600 and a new dump truck bed for $8800. Eggemeyer said he has some obsolete equipment he will trade-in and reduce the purchase price and some of the installation will be done by his department which will also save some money on these last two expenditures.
Police Chief Ryan Coffey presented a Memorandum of Understanding between the Fraternal Order of Police Union and the City. The memorandum allows a change in the schedules of full-time police officers. It allows for a trial run of 12-hour shifts to be implemented along with 10-hour shifts as well. There is no change in the payroll to the city and it was approved by the council.
Alderman Ray Allison spoke about the work of the Beautification and Tourism Committee and the improvements which have been made on the riverfront. He was concerned however with the lack of maintenance there. Allison asked why the weeds are not cut and why trash strewed along the road and the river banks is not being picked up. Eggemeyer replied that it was dangerous to cut along the rocks on the riverbank and litter is an ongoing problem.
Allison repeated that this issue must be dealt with and an effort must be made to correct this problem.
The Riverfront is part of the City Parks, and Alderman Mike Blechle spoke about the Park Superintendent position which is currently not filled. Blechle recommended that the position not be filled until next Spring saying there is little to be done in the Winter. Alderman Nancy Crossland quickly disagreed, saying that this position should be filled as it would allow someone to come aboard and get a good feel for the work this Fall and Winter and be prepared once Spring arrives. Mayor Page ended the discussion by saying that this position is one of his appointments to be filled and he will make a recommendation when he feels the time is right saying he understood both views presented.
Melissa Cushman was presented to the council as the new office/billing clerk by City Clerk Bethany Berner, with the recommendation to hire her. The council approved and welcomed her at the meeting.
The Chester Popeye Welcome sign by the Bridge road created more discussion. There are several electrical issues with the sign which need to be corrected, the first of which is installing a new meter loop and panel at a cost of $1,500.
Alderman Dan Ohlau was concerned with the length of time it is taking to fix the sign saying he has been asking about it since last November. Allison agreed saying this has been a problem for several years. Eggemeyer suggested that they consider looking for a new location, one which would be easier to access. The old sign has a plastic front which may be brittle when it is disturbed and another idea mentioned was the possibility of an electrical L.E.D. sign. The Mayor suggested tabling this matter until they can gather more information and find a good solution. The matter was tabled.
The City Council meets again on August 20 and the public is welcome to attend.