The Beloit City Council met on Tuesday evening, February 6. Councilman Andrew Grabon was absent due to illness. City Manager Jason Rabe was not present, but he was connected to the meeting via telephone.
Bob Severance, one of the original members of the Chautauqua Isle of Lights program, was on hand to give his annual report on the 2017 program. He has been involved with the annual project for 18 years. Severance announced this would be his final report as Michelle Heidrick will take the reins this year as the new president.
There were a total of 13,952 visitors to the display in Chautauqua Park. People from 217 towns, outside of Beloit, visited the Isle of Lights. The top five towns, in terms of number of visitors, were Concordia, Osborne, Salina, Downs and Lincoln. Visitors came from 39 states with the top three being Nebraska, Colorado, and Missouri. Other guests included 21 visitors from eight foreign countries.
Severance said the number of displays continues to grow each year. There are plans to put together a Wizard of Oz display. Currently they have a rainbow, Dorothy, and Toto. They hope to add a Wizard, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man.
According to Severance most of the displays are provided as memorials to family members.
He also announced that David Scott, a custom light designer, will be in Beloit on March 21 to consult with people on new displays.
Councilor Kent Miller reported he had been contacted by one constituent about the recently passed ordinance relating to large dumpsters. This person related that she has a dumpster in her back yard in which grass clippings and yard refuse is collected. Her husband passed away a few months ago and they did not have any was to dispose of the grass clippings other than to put them in the dumpster and have the trash haulers take the clippings to the landfill. The council wants to take a look at perhaps a smaller trash receptacle or other solutions.
Miller also reported on contact from a constituent about the intersection of 14th and Bell Streets. The intersection has a yield sign on 14th street which people often disregard as they cross the intersection. Several near misses of accidents have been reported. The caller suggested replacing the yield sign with a stop sign. City Attorney Katie Schroeder will discuss the issue with Chief of Police Dave Elam and report back on a suggested course of action.
It was also announced that the Little Red Schoolhouse Coordinating Committee will meet at noon on February 14 to discuss the progress of the renovation work.
The new City of Beloit website development is on schedule to be completed on March 1. The Pay Plan update is progressing as expected.
Stephanie Simmons, Executive Director of the Regional Medical Foundation, asked the city to participate in the “Stop the Bleed” program which is aimed at placing tourniquet kits in city and county vehicles. The program will provide in-service training for all employees on the proper use of such kits. The city’s share would be $500.
Rabe reported the Community Development Block Grant application similar to the one received in previous years was not selected this round. Only the top three applicants were chosen, and Beloit placed fourth in the process.
In action items, the council unanimously passed a Recreational Burning Ordinance. A copy of the revised Ordinance is available at the city office. They also passed a waiver of the GAAP accounting principles. Cassie Homan, a K-State Horticulture Specialist, was appointed to the Tree Board. The firm of Olsson and Associates was approved as the Airport Consultant Firm from among the candidates recently considered. The council also accepted a bid from the Beloit Auto Truck Plaza for a 2018 Dodge 3500 truck in the amount of $26,363 for the Wastewater Department. They will trade in a 2000 GMC truck.
A bid from accounting firm Sommers, Spencer and Co. in the amount of $9,400 for the city’s auditing was accepted. This firm has bought out the firm which provided accounting services to the city for a number of years.
The business meeting was adjourned, and the work session was called to order. Rabe briefly discussed the Technical Assistance to Brownfields or TAB program through Kansas State University which could potentially lead to landscaping work along the Solomon Riverfront as it travels through Beloit. The group would use engineering students from K-State to do the design work. The process will require further discussion and consideration before any official action is taken.
City Attorney Schroeder informed the council of a revised dog ordinance for the city which she will present at the next meeting.
The next scheduled meeting of the Beloit City Council is set for Tuesday, February 20 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building in Beloit.