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December 13, 2019

11/14/2019 10:13:00 AM
Council OKs tentative levy, preps for fest
Also: Aldermen get update on police/fire pension issue.
Daily News

The Robinson City Council Tuesday night approved a tentative tax levy for the city.

City Treasurer Denise Jobe read aloud the various categories and their amounts for the levy, which will be on display at City Hall until Tuesday, Dec. 10.

On that day a Truth in Taxation hearing will take place at 6:45 p.m., prior to the city council meeting at 7. A vote on making the levy permanent will be on the agenda.

Jobe noted this year's levy increased compared to last year's.

"It's a total of $836,054, with an increase of 7.5299 percent, or $58,345.59," she said.

The categories showed increases in the unemployment and police pension levies. Unemployment increased from $5,002 to $6,800 this year, while police pension increased from $274,157 to this year's total of $331,254. Jobe noted that the police pension is solely controlled by the State of Illinois and not the city.

The other levies are: Corporate, $130,000; IMRF, $125,000; workers' compensation, $100,000; FICA/Medicare, $125,000 and audit, $18,000.

Alderman John Birkofer also brought to the council's attention that the state is considering merging police and fire department pension funds into two investment pools. Robinson Police Chief Chad Weaver said he was aware of a vote that took place Tuesday, where an approval was made.

According to reports from Springfield, the plan to consolidate 649 funds into two unified systems has garnered interest, but not been officially approved. Items in the 200-page bill regarding retirement or disability hearings caught the attention of the Illinois Municipal League, who recommended it be changed before coming to a vote.

The Personnel and Pensions Committee did vote 7-3 to advance the bill to the House. The language on consolidation was an amendment to a bill previously passed by the Senate. If the House votes to pass the bill, only one Senate approval vote will have it sent forward to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. In other business at the meeting, the council approved sending two individuals, Chris Guyer and Taylor Pinkston, to Mt. Vernon for pesticide training and exam. The cost for both is $175 apiece for books, the exam and $60 for both to buy out their half of their hotel room. Superintendent of Public Works Lawrence Quick said the hiring of a trained pesticide worker is required by law.

"We need one certified and licensed pesticide worker for the street and wastewater department apiece," Quick said. "This license will go into effect for three years."

Quick's request for two more items was also approved. One of these was the advertisement for city fuel, an annual item. Bids will be received by 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22. Quick's other item was for a new HVAC system for the wastewater treatment facility. The equipment is about 20-30 years old and getting hard to maintain. The cost is not to exceed $7,500.

Weaver also received permission to accept a $500 donation for the department's K9/Drug Fund from the Chamblin Foundation.

Robinson's Winter Festival will begin next weekend and preparations for the event were made during the meeting. After a request during a previous meeting from the Community Revitalization and Beautification Committee, the council agreed to move the skating rink to Douglas Street. Last night, Alderman Jim McKinney made a motion that the area be blocked off beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, because of the rink's arrival and construction. The council approved the motion.

In other Christmas business, the city employee Christmas luncheon was approved for 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, with a spending cap of no more than $750. The employee Christmas gift will also have a net of $150 for full-time employees and $75 for part-time employees.

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