The Chester City Council had to address the absence of Alderman Larry Bert on Monday night. Bert has been unable to attend meetings or function in his office for several months due to his health, and it appears that he will not be able to resume in his role as alderman in the foreseeable future.
The council considered its options and determined they should declare a vacancy for Alderman in Ward 4. Bert defeated longtime alderman Mike Blechle in the April 2021 election, but due to illness he has been unable to serve in his role since June.
Water and sewer
The council gave approval to advertise an open position in the Sewer Department. It also approved Alderman Russ Radar's request to forgive a $18.75 sewer bill at 124 Welge Drive due to a water line break.
The council approved the recommendations from the Finance Committee to designate the American Recovery Plan Funds for water plant improvements and water main replacements. They approved a Vendor Agreement with Western Egyptian in regards to water and waste water services and fees. City Clerk Bethany Berner said this agreement is similar to the agreement the city has with Western Egyptian concerning assistance with gas bills -- it will allow Western Egyptian to assist people with their water/sewer bills as well.
Police had 497 calls in September
Police Chief Bobby Helmers reported his department responded to 497 calls in September. Mayor Tom Page asked which months seem to have the most activity for the police, to which Helmers responded that traditionally the summer months are higher. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, every month has been about the same.
Helmers added that all the recently hired officers have been cleared and will soon begin on-the-job training.
Fall Festival progress
Page reported that the Fall Festival is ready to go. There have been many entries signing up for the parade and so many vendors that they are nearly out of space. He encouraged the council to assist him in the hospitality booth, and congratulated the festival committee for its work.
The council set Chester's 2021 Trick or Treat hours as 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31.
• The next council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Oct. 18. The public is welcome.