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home : news : local   May 26, 2016

3/5/2013 6:36:00 AM
Spring Valley mayor casts vote to split tie, support his own plan (with audio)

Hear part of the debate over the city's sewer project. This is audio taken from the Spring Valley City Council meeting held Monday March 4.
Alicia LeGrand-Riniker
NewsTribune Reporter

Mixed emotions among the Spring Valley City Council led to a tiebreaker to approve the purchase of equipment and taking out a loan of $300,000 for the street department.

At Monday’s meeting, city officials might have taken the city’s first steps toward meeting Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regulations for the water and sewer lines as they approved the purchase of a Vactor truck (sewer vacuum truck), backhoe and camera equipment for the city.

The equipment will be used to help clean and maintain the city’s sewer lines and were part of the proposed plan by Mayor Cliff Banks to have the city satisfy IEPA requirements by doing mandated work with its own equipment and manpower. Banks said his plan could be started right away and would save the city money and keep the water rates from going up.

Some alderman were upset because they wanted to discus more of the plan at Thursday’s joint water and sewer and finance committee meeting. Alderman Mike Richetta said it was a good idea to buy the Vactor truck because the city needed it and street superintendent John Schultz had found an available truck in Springfield that was on hold until tomorrow.

“The truck is a time issue,” Richetta said. “The other two are not.”

“Why wait?” Banks answered back.

Aldermen Chuck Hansen and Dan McFadden agreed buying the Vactor truck now was a good idea but they should wait on the rest until there was a firm commitment on their plans for the sewer repair process. Hansen also questioned the need for the camera based on usage in the past. Schultz said the city spent $14,000 renting a camera for the past five years and the new camera would cost the city $70,500 to buy. He also said the Vactor truck was a necessity but not necessarily the other two pieces.

“We’ve done our job for years with out them, but the better tools you have the better job you do,” said Schultz.

Alderman Tom Nesti said the city could have used the camera more over the years, but Spring Valley only rented one when it was absolutely needed.

However, Banks said the alderman needed to “take a risk” and do what was best for the city.

“We could start now,” Banks said about getting the sewer project going.

Hansen questioned the availability of the city workers to do the job when they had other projects to do as well.

“If we have all this time for these guys, they must have done nothing for 20 years,” Hansen said.

Nesti and Hansen said it came down to whether the city could afford to purchase these items.

“Is it a responsible purchase?” Hansen asked.

“Yes it is,” said Banks. “It’s common sense.”

Alderman James Taliano agreed with the mayor’s plan and asked the alderman to take action.

“We always put things aside,” Taliano said.

Banks said this equipment was part of the long-term maintenance project for the sewer system of Spring Valley and he would present more of his plan on Thursday.

“We are just at the first third of the discussions of the projects we are talking about,” Richetta said in hopes to delay the purchase of the other two items until firm plans were made. “It is only fair that we continue the discussion as planned and handle the time-sensitive items up front and tackle the rest as we proceed.”

The motion to purchase the equipment was split between the aldermen with Nesti, Taliano, Jack Narczewski and Rick Fusinatto for it and Richetta, McFadden, Hansen and Walt Marini against. Banks split the tie in favor of purchasing the equipment for the city. The council then voted on taking out a loan for $300,000 for the equipment and other work related to the sewer project, with Nesti, Taliano, Narczewski and Fusinatto for it and Richetta, McFadden, Hansen and Marini against and the mayor breaking the tie again.

There will be more discussion about the sewer project at Thursday’s joint water and sewer and finance committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the city hall council chambers.

In other business:
* Engineer Jack Kusek said the city had received a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency about Well No. 10 not being in compliance. Kusek said the city already had a planned response ready to send back, claiming that since the first of the year the city has received six satisfactory results from the well. The EPA also claimed the city was not sending in its monthly operating reports and had six water main projects for which it failed to obtain operating permits. Kusek said the monthly reports have been getting sent in and will continue to do so. He also said one of the water main projects was on Illinois Street done in 2004, and the city had received a permit, three projects were not started and therefore did not require permits yet and the other two they are collecting samples but do not have permits for them.

* The council members approved a project to allow Mike Condon to cut down some ash trees located on city property that blocked the view of his property. He said he would like to open it up so people can see back toward him. Banks said other citizens have asked if they could cut down trees on city land but they were big trees, and the trees near Condon’s property were much smaller. Richetta had concerns that some of the trees were on state property and wanted to make sure they would get the proper approval before they cut those trees down.

*The city also approved a request from TechniSand employees from Troy Grove to hold a “Tag Day” during the walleye tournament 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 23. Money collected will be donated to the March of Dimes.

* The council approved donating money to three more organizations last night. Richetta said there were talks about cutting donations to save money but thought it was not a good idea since they only donated to groups that benefit the city.

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