Geneseo Council awards facades grants, revisits cemeteries

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic

The Geneseo Council met Tuesday night July 27.  Keith Kennett was absent. 

City Administrator Jo Hollenkamp informed the Council that American Rescue Plan funds have been applied for.  Sometime in the next 30 days, the first installment of a total $800,000 will be received.  According to Hollenkamp, the first thing the city plans to do once the funds are banked will be to reimburse the city for any first responder expenses that were Covid related.  The City then plans to put a portion of the ARPA funds towards the Cherry Street lift station. The project's costs were incrementally inflated by Covid, which is why it qualifies, and put funds into the revolving loan fund.  

The Council then voted to replace three "Welcome to Geneseo" signs that require replacement.  Two would be at entrances to town along Rt 6 from both the east and west.  The third will be on Rt 82 North, near the industrial park.  The signs will be permanent structures, with a resin sign between two brick columns. 

Geneseo welcome signs

The Council was presented the options that the Cemetery committee came up with.  Possible solutions would be to expand the number of alcohol licenses, add a cemetery tax to the tax levy, which would require a referendum, establishment a "Friends of Cemeteries" group to help raise funds for maintenance and repairs, or raise rates for non-residents, which by Hollenkamp's admission would "Open a can of worms." 

Paula Simosky, (Ward 1) proposed the idea that if $5000 per month could be cut from the monthly expenses, it would go a long way to covering the $83,000 shortfall caused by maintenance of the City's two cemeteries. She asked if there was a way to revisit the cost of health insurance for the City.  Hollenkamp stated that the city indeed has a "cadillac" plan, which employees appreciated.  She also mentioned that the City was considering partially self-insuring for next year as a cost  saving measure.  No further action was taken. 

A $10,000 Revolving Loan Fund application was approved for Lisa Williams, owner of  2nd Street Salon, for the purpose of some interior restorations.  Water damage required the replacement of flooring and other repairs. 

Facades grants were approved for two businesses.  The Facades grants are for businesses that do upgrades to the exteriors of their buildings.  The City will reimburse up to $10,000 once the work is completed.  A business at 209 W. Exchange owned by Jacquline Mickley is replacing windows, doors and awnings. The other building is owned by Michele Weber-Enck at 229 S. State St., and will also be replacing windows and doors.