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City hires firm to look at river intake

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The city of Vandalia is turning to another engineering firm in yet another attempt to get its raw water intake on the Kaskaskia River fully operational.

The Vandalia City Council voted on Monday to hire Gonzalez Companies to study the intake, which has been used very little since its installation in May 2005.

Through that agreement, the engineering firm will complete within 70 days a study on the river intake. The city will pay the firm a maximum of $22,500 for its work.

The city has been unable to use the intake for various reasons since its installation, and city officials have worked with it consulting engineers, HMG Engineers, and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in attempts to get the intake fully functional.

City Administrator Jimmy Morani said city officials began a search for engineering firms, and Gonzalez was among those the city considered. Gonzalez was recommended by construction firms involved in the downtown enhancement project, he said.

“They will be trying to come up with an affordable solution to this problem,” Morani said.

Also at the meeting, the council approved two ordinance amendments related to the operation of tattoo establishments.

One of those amendments allows for the issuance of tattoo establishment licenses through special use permits.

The amendment sets the license fee at $75 and allows for the issuance of three licenses. That number was set after three individuals expressed an interest in such a license.

The other ordinance amendment allows tattoo establishments to operate in areas zoned commercial or light industrial, and to operate between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

In other action:

• Mayor Rick Gottman said the downtown enhancement work is going along smoothly to this point.

“I think the project is moving along very well,” Gottman said. “They are still ahead of schedule.”

City officials and a representative of the general contractor on the project, Hank’s Excavating and Landscaping of Belleville, will give an update on the project during Vandalia Main Street’s “Mornings on Main Street” meeting at 8 a.m. next Wednesday at the Fayette County Museum. That meeting is open to the public.

• The council voted 6-1 to approve a preliminary plat for the Fillmore Subdivision.

The Vandalia Planning Commission heard at its June 23 meeting FAYCO Enterprises’ plan to build a group home on Fillmore Street between Brookstone Estates and Sunset Car Wash. The planning commission voted 6-1 in approving the preliminary plat.

Alderman voting for the plat were Bret Brosman, Larry Bennett, Chad Feldpouch, Jerry Swarm, Lisa McNutt and Larry Cable; Mike Hobler cast a dissenting vote, and Dean Black was not present for the meeting.

• The council approved an engineering agreement with HMG Engineers for the annual Vandalia Lake dam inspection. The vote was 6-1, with Feldpouch casting the lone dissenting vote.

• Vandalia Main Street Program Manager Dana Whiteman reported that as a way to encourage local residents to continue patronizing downtown businesses during the construction project, Main Street will hold a free car wash.

Local residents who use the downtown businesses in the next week will receive a coupon for a free car wash on Saturday, July 18.

• The council approved Gottman’s appointments to the planning commission and the council’s standing committees.

Larry Hoffek, Steve Barker and Mike Fulton will serve on the planning commission through 2010, the terms of Bill Beard, Leon Bowen and Eugene Conaway will expire in 2011, and Steve Hites, Tony Simmons and Jim Pryor will serve until the spring of 2012.

Gottman’s committee appointments are as follows, with the chairman of the committee listed first:

-Streets – Brosman, Cable and Feldpouch.

-Water and sewer – Cable, Brosman and Feldpouch.

-Public safety – Swarm, Black and Hobler.

-Cemetery – McNutt, Bennett and Cable.

-Buildings and grounds – Feldpouch, Brosman and McNutt.

-Lake – Hobler, Black, Feldpouch, Don Funk, Gottman, lake manager Rob Schukar, Randy Edwards and Beth Emerick.

-Railroad and industrial development – Black, Bennett and Swarm.

Personnel, finance and insurance – Bennett, Cable and Swarm.