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City about ready to bid more streetscape work

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The city of Vandalia will be ready to put out for bid in the near future the streetscape improvements project in the 700 block of West Gallatin Street.
That project will include a new road surface and a number of streetscape features that have been done on Gallatin from Third to Seventh streets, including new sidewalks, period lighting, brick strips and dogwood trees.
In addition to announcing that upcoming bid letting at Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Rick Gottman said that HMG Engineers of Carlyle is finishing up plans for improvements to one-block sections off of Gallatin Street downtown.
After those plans are finished, Gottman said, the city will call a short meeting of the council’s streets committee in order to get that project ready for bidding.
The streetscape work in the 700 block of Gallatin Street is being funded with $400,000 in state funds procured by state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) and former state Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Highland).
The improvements along Fourth Street, Fifth Street and possibly Sixth Street north and south of Gallatin will be funded with a $630,000 state Community Development Assistance Program grant.
The amount of work done in those blocks will be determined by how far that state funding goes, Gottman said.
Also at Monday’s meeting:
• The council approved an ordinance prohibiting the use of groundwater as a potable water supply in the area of the former Clark Station at Kennedy Boulevard and Randolph Street.
The ordinance prohibits the use of groundwater in the area bordered by First Street on the east, Madison Street on the south, Fourth Street on the west and Jefferson Street on the north.
• The council approved an ordinance pertaining to the installation of automatic fire sprinkler systems in one- and two-family dwellings.
While the city formerly enforced an International Residential Code section mandating such a system, the new ordinance states that should a sprinkler system be installed, it should comply with the IRC.
Gottman explained that the former requirement was not appropriate for areas of the city that have low water pressure. In those areas, he said, the homeowner would have to install a pump in order for such a system to be operable.
• The council approved the reassignment of Michelle Hagy from police department clerk/secretary to full-time police and fire telecommunicator.
Hagy will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Christy Trible, with that appointment becoming effective on Aug. 28.
With that action, the department’s telecommunicators will handle clerk duties during their shifts.
Hagy’s reassignment was among the actions approved last week by the council’s personnel committee. That committee also agreed to fill the part-time telecommunicator position created by the resignation of Brian Roedl.
Gottman praised the employees of the police department for agreeing to the changes and making concessions to help the city as it works to improve its financial situation.
• Gottman presented to the council for review a liquor license application filed by the new owner of Los Amigos Restaurant on Veterans Avenue.
Stevie Roman of Vandalia is requesting a Class E liquor license for the restaurant.
The council is charged with setting the number of liquor licenses available, and Gottman, as the city’s liquor commissioner, rules on the license application.
• On the recommendation of water and sewer committee Chairman Terry Beesley, the council voted to pay up to $1,000 for an alarm system for the water plant.
The system, which is being purchased from Corbell Electronics, will alert water plant employees when pumps at Vandalia Lake shut down. Corbell Electronics, based in Carterville, is owned by Vandalia native Denny Corbell.
• Beesley reported that his committee had met with a firm offering a proposal on water tower maintenance, saying that the committee will continue to get information and have the firm make a presentation to the full council.
• Gottman reported that after First National Bank of Vandalia, Ramsey, Patoka, Mulberry Grove and Greenville had agreed to lower the interest rate on a truck purchased for the public works department, Midland States Bank agreed to do the same for a fire truck.
Gottman said Midland States Bank has lowered the interest rate from 4.55 percent to 3.15 percent, which he said will result “in a pretty good savings for the city.”
• After lake committee Chairman Mike Hobler reported that the Office of the State Fire Marshal has mandated an additional sensor and shutoff for the fuel system at the lake marina, the council agreed to spend $4,540 for the additional equipment.