Geneseo Council seats re-elected members, Mayor, sets rate increases for water, electric.

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic
The recently re-elected Geneseo City Council members, and Mayor were sworn in at the beginning of the August 9 City Council meeting.  From left to right, Craig Arnold, Brett Barnhart, Keith Kennett, Mayor Sean Johnson, and James Roodhouse.

The August 9 Geneseo City Council began with the official swearing in of four Geneseo councilmen and the Mayor, all elected without contest June 28 at the primary election.

It is the right of the Mayor to appoint to the offices surrounding him. At the meeting appointments were made of Casey Disterhof, Chief of Police, Jamie Matthews, City Treasurer, Paige Seibel, Acting City Clerk, Brandon Maeglin, City Administrator, who all serve the same term as the Mayor. Chris Endress, an 18 year veteran of the Illinois State Police, recently retired with the rank of Captain, will serve a three year term as Police Commissioner.

The action previously discussed at the July 28 meeting regarding the addition of a Power Cost Adjustment to residents' electric bills was passed. The additional line item will be used to insure power costs are recovered, as well as insure that customers are not over or underbilled for electricity. Rather than a significant fixed rate hike, the implementation of a PCA of .05047 per billed kWh based on the average per-kilowatt-hour cost of purchased power in the preceding six months will be used. Geneseo purchases power based on a six month average pricing.

Water rates were also discussed at the July 28 meeting. Councilman Craig Arnold questioned whether the rates will be revisited regularly, in order to avoid substantial rate increases. City Attorney, Derke Price stated that by statute, utilities must be "self-sustaining", and that reasonable revenues supporting the utility and it's repairs are only responsible. The water bill will reflect a 4% annual increase, and a Capital Improvement Fee based on the infrastructure projects scheduled for the following year. The Capital Improvement Fee will be a specific line item on the water bill. The Council approved the measure and the new rates will go into effect January of 2023.

Mayor Johnson stated, regarding the regular reviews, that "The City is headed there. We have learned not to run up to the razors' edge. We are looking at being more pro-active."

The ordinance governing dead trees, and declaring them a public nuisance was also passed. In the revised ordinance, the property owner would be given a 30-day written warning to remove the dead tree, after being declared dead by a certified arborist. After that, the City may, at their discretion, cite the owner, or remove the tree and bill the owner.