BY SHELBY NIEHAUS
A large roadside sign advertising the businesses in Mathias Business Park along Do It Drive was among the largest motions passed at the Monday, Feb. 24 meeting of the Altamont City Council.
The sign will be funded privately, split between the businesses that will appear on the sign and organized by employees of The Home Center (which did not wish to publically release the price of the sign). It will be just over 23 feet tall and nearly 13 feet wide, with each business to have either a 56”x18” or a 112”x18” image on it. The sign currently has several empty spaces on it to allow for future businesses along the same road.
Placement of the sign, as well as a variance of ordinance to allow for the sign’s size (technically 22 square feet larger and four feet higher than allowed) were both approved unanimously.
Also during the City Council meeting, representatives of the Becker family spoke about repair of an easement beside their building at 508 East Cumberland, which butts up against the newly-completed senior residences. The Beckers noted that, during construction, their easement had been changed and has not been replaced to its former state. “I’m beginning to wonder,” said Carl Becker, “if we’re being looked at as the farmers down south who don’t know anything.” Mayor Jason Rippetoe agreed to speak with the contractors later that week.
Former mayor Larry Taylor, now a member of the executive board of the Illinois Municipal Energy Agency, delivered an update on IMEA happenings. During this report he noted that the Agency had hired a new Chief Financial Officer recently, and would soon need a new Chief Engineering Officer to replace one who is retiring soon. He also commented that the IMEA had installed a solar array that was placed in part as a demonstration array for visiting groups at its headquarters, as well as an electric vehicle charger. The charging station, he said, costs about $17,000 and can be partially reimbursed, $500 is the charger is publically available, $200 if private.
In closing to his report, Taylor commented that Altamont should see its upcoming photovoltaic solar array in operation by the end of summer.
Mowing bids were awarded, with site groups one, two, and three (Union Cemetery, Gilbert, Heritage, and Schmidt parks, and the South substation) awarded to Precision Lawncare of Altamont and group four (the Triangle, Municipal Building, Frog Pond park, and a parking area) awarded to Jon Berg, also of Altamont. Mayor Rippetoe recused himself from his vote, and the motion passed otherwise unanimously.
A roadside fundraiser request was approved, this for the Altamont Lions Club on May 30. Additionally, the annual Community Partnership Agreement with CEFS Equal Opportunity Corporation was approved, allowing the city to share information with CEFS when residents need assistance with housing, heating, and other necessities.
Public comments for the evening largely centered on the matter of sign ordinances, which were discussed at the last meeting. Rippetoe clarified that the Council had been discussing the ordinance in part to see if the current officials agreed with its terms—the ordinance outdates the mayor’s tenure, at least. “We want to be sure it fits,” he commented. At present, no existing signs are being eyed for regulation, even if they technically violate the terms of the sign ordinance.
Councilmembers had few reports to give. Water commissioner Todd Slingerland noted that he’d spoken with outside authorities who had experience in purchasing municipal water, thanks in part to a meeting set up by a constituent, but provided little detail of the meeting; he also reported that the water department had experienced some generator issues recently. Mike Walker commented that the electrical department was fully-staffed and in training, and Tayler Polk reported that a walkthrough of the Division Street project was completed with the mayor and IDOT officials. Rippetoe, meanwhile, said that the city was working to finish surveying at Carriage Lane in order to send the project to bid, and that the completion of Jack Flash would be pushed back to the end of March.
The next meeting of the Altamont City Council will be on Monday, March 9 at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building.
Cut citycouncilA: The Mathias Business Park sign draft will be placed at the head of Do It Drive.