BY CARISSA SITKI
The Altamont City Council met on Monday, April 12, at 6 p.m. where the Council discussed the use of recently-received state grant money, totaling $550,000, toward a targeted sewer replacement project and approved a Professional Services Agreement with Milano & Grunloh Engineers for design and construction engineering services on the proposed sanitary sewer improvements that were detailed in the Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) Grant Funding.
City Commissioner Todd Slingerland was the first to speak in regards to the grant money, saying that “it must be spent wisely.” He cited recommendations made by Visu-Sewer, who sent a camera down through the 10,000 feet of sewer line. Their recommendation, according to Slingerland, was to only remove and replace around 1,000 feet of the sewer line and to do some severe maintenance (re-grouting, re-lining) on the rest of the area.
“In this agreement that Milano and Grunloh have presented to us, to me, the scope of the work does not even come close to the recommendations that we already paid to get,” said Slingerland. Last September, the City Council approved a payment to Visu-Sewer in the amount of $10,200 to capture the video of the sewer line.
When they drafted the work scope for the grant request, Milano & Grunloh, factored in the removal and replacement of 5,100 feet of eight inch sewer line. “When we did the original grant, we assumed the worst case, that we wouldn’t be able to re-line most of it; that it would be bellied and basically be bad pipe,” said Milano & Grunloh Engineer, Michael Tappendorf.
Slingerland said, “In my limited understanding in how all of these contracts work, this is not what the City wants, in my eyes.”
Slingerland mentioned expanding the area of sewer repairs, rather than removing and replacing the 5,100 ft., but Mayor Jason Rippetoe noted that the grant can only be used for the proposed construction area. Slingerland added that he thought the grant was for the entire northwest section.
Slingerland said that the City was given the impression by Milano & Grunloh that there was $550,000 worth of necessary work in the area, but that Visu-Sewer’s report was contradictory.
After a lengthy discussion, the Council came to the decision to approve the agreement with Milano & Grunloh for the proposed removal and replacement of the 5,100 ft. of sewer rather than let a portion of the money go to waste by only replacing 1,000 feet and repairing the rest. Slingerland abstained from the vote.
City Commissioner Tayler Polk pitched a preliminary idea for a project that involves fixing the sidewalk, gutter, and concrete road area in front of the Pharmacy and up to the north side of the intersection by the Library. The project carries an estimated cost of around $250,000 according to an estimate by Milano and Grunloh’s Tappendorf.
Polk came up with the project as a potential way to spend some of the extra money from the Rebuild Illinois Funds that must be used by July of 2025. According to Polk, the funds must be used for street and sidewalk-type repairs. In total, the City received $152,800 and according to Polk there are more funds, from the motor fuel tax, that could potentially be used for the project.
“I know we’ve had a lot of complaints about the Pharmacy area with the gutter and sidewalk,” said Polk, “there are holes and chunks missing.”
City Commissioner Dan Milleville agreed that the project would be beneficial, also noting that he has heard complaints. “I’d love to see that area in front of the Pharmacy corrected because I’ve had people stop me and say something about that too,” said Milleville.
Polk cited the foot-traffic through the area as a factor for the project’s necessity as well as the return of Dr. Opilka’s office to its former 3rd St. location. “Another thing that came into play with this project, is that Opilka’s office is back in commission so it’s going to be even busier through there,” said Polk.
Mayor Rippetoe brought into question the storm drains as being something that may need to be addressed as well. According to Tappendorf, he did not factor in storm drains with the $250,000 calling it a “rough cost estimate” at this time.
In other business, ordinance SP-1625 was approved for a Home Occupation located at 6 Sherman Drive. According to Rippetoe, the business involves the refurbishing of brass for ammunition and that most of the sales are completed online. “It’s listed in the notes as minimal contact and looks like most interactions will take place online,” said Rippetoe, “so shouldn’t be much more traffic on the road or anything like that.”
The Council approved a Tax Increment Services Agreement with South Central Illinois Regional Planning and Development Commission in the amount of $17,000 to set up a TIF in the new residential development area in Altamont. They also approved Resolution 2021-04-03; providing for a Feasibility Study on the Designation of a portion of the City of Altamont Redevelopment Area.
Also approved during the meeting: Ordinance 706-21, Authorizing the Purchase of Real Property for Utility Purposes (100 Oak Street); and three fundraiser requests, a roadside fundraiser for the Altamont American Legion Poppy day, May 28, with a rain date of June 4; a roadside fundraiser for the Altamont Lions Club Tootsie Pop Day, June 12; and a roadside fundraiser for the Big Brothers Big Sisters, Aug. 6.
The Altamont City Council is scheduled to meet again on April 26 at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building’s Community Room.