Geneseo Council hears plans for capital improvements

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic

A host of subjects were brought to the table on November 24 during the Geneseo City Council meeting. Previous to the meeting, during the period when the Council is given comment time, the subject of food pantry need came up, with Martin Rothschild stating that monetary donations are especially needed at this time. A blood drive at the City building last week netted 16 units of blood. Petitions for Council seats are available, and need to be filed between the 14-18th of December.

Jamie Matthews stated that a newsletter will be going out in utility bills regarding disposition of Christmas trees after the holidays. Police Chief Casey Disterhof stated that the City is moving forward with it's search for a Community Service Officer. Chad VanDeWoestyne, City Engineer, talked about the fact that the Richmond Hill park project is now closed out, and they are rehabbing Well 30.

Jo Hollenkamp, City Administrator, introduced Matt Schuler and Josh Faivre from Wipfli, an auditing firm that just completed the City's finances for the time period ending June 30, 2020. They found the City to be on firm financial standing, and the City's commitment to better funding of the Police Pension admirable. In recent years, the Police Pension went unfunded as much as 93%, this year it was 58%. The State mandates that by 2040, all Police Pensions must be funded at least 90%.

The 2020 Tax Levy was then discussed. The council decided to raise the levy to accommodate an additional $166,00 per year, all of which will be spent on police protection services. Alderman Keith Kennett stated, ” No one likes tax increases, but using this increase to get ahead of the problem is responsible. Good police services make Geneseo a place that people want to come, live and work. “ The Mayor, Sean Johnson, said that “ It comes down to a level of service on the Police Department, you can only cut so much before you run out of places to cut.” The council approved a Truth in Taxation Hearing at a special meeting, December 15 at 6 PM. 

A proposal by Red Zone Robotics was presented. The company will video all 30 miles of sewer and wastewater lines that the City has mapped. A complete picture of the existing condition of infrastructure will be given, showing potential trouble spots, and allowing proactive maintenance. Red Zone expects to report findings back to the City within 6 months. The procedure would not disrupt traffic for more than a few minutes at a time, while the robot is lowered through a manhole into the sewer pipes in an area. The advantage to this proposal would be that it can help with long term planning for areas requiring maintenance, and those areas can be prioritized. Local municipalities who have had this done in their area include Moline, Sterling, Rock Falls and Macomb. The cost of $97,000 would be funded from the Capital improvements fund. The Council voted to place it on the Consent Agenda for the next meeting.

Fourth Ward alderman, Doug Crow, brought up the subject of the Geneseo Creek study, and the flooding of the south side town. He would like to sit down with the IDNR representatives, and the Army Corps of Engineers, to see what kind of actions can take place to mitigate the flooding. Civil engineering consultants, IMEG have offered to do the Geneseo Creek study for $18,000, which should be able to be funded through TIF funds, since the largest area of flooding takes place in the TIF district. The council authorized moving forward.

The Council approved paying the bills, and to place on the December 15th Agenda, a special meeting for the Truth in Taxation needed for the levy. It will take place from 6 – 6:15 at that meeting.

Geneseo City Hall