Ottawa City Council discusses status of South Side fire station
Ottawa City Council met Monday, Dec. 12.
The Ottawa City Council includes the mayor, the city clerk and four commissioners. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at city hall, 301 W. Madison St.
Here are the minutes as provided by Ottawa:
Ottawa, Illinois December 12, 2016
Special meeting of the Council of the City of Ottawa, Illinois.
Present: Daniel F. Aussem, Thomas G. Ganiere, James J. Less, Wayne A.
Eichelkraut Jr. and Robert M Eschbach Absent: None.
Commissioner Ganiere led a discussion regarding the South side fire station. The station was built in 1971 and needs a new roof. The sleeping quarters are inadequate and Tom would like to start the RFP, request for proposal process for design and engineering now. Barry Russell, firefighter, added that the station was made for two people and is hopeful that may increase to five staff someday. There is also only one bathroom. The Mayor asked if our equipment fit and Ganiere replied yes but it’s a little tight. Commissioner Ganiere added that he would like to move the Fire equipment out and have administrative offices at the new station. Fire Chief Steve Haywood noted that in a four year period, there have been a total of 4,470 calls with 3,832 being South side of Ottawa calls. Friday night there was fire on the South side and the South side answered it. The South side answers approximately 35% of all calls and 13.5% of the North side calls. The call volume supports two stations, not three. Ganiere would like to use specific fire station designers for the new station. Commissioner Aussem asked about the cost. Ganiere responded that his guess would be around $3.2 million. He added that the new Streator fire station was $1.8 million but that station was built a couple of years ago. When asked where the money would come from to build the new station, Ganiere replied with bond or tax levy proceeds. Ganiere said he would also look into buildings and the City’s overall needs, if we did a bond issue.
A second discussion was held regarding a new boat for the Ottawa Fire Department. The current boat is inoperable and not adequate and has no room for a fire pump. The cost of the proposed new boat is $35,683.00 and half is currently budgeted. Commissioner Ganiere would like to order it now, so we have it before boating season. Commissioner Less asked a few questions about the condition of the current boat and was told it was an upgrade from the Ottawa Rescue Squads boat. The new boat would have a dive door and a portable pump would be an add on.
Lastly, a discussion regarding home rule was held. Commissioner Ganiere commented that the Civil Service Commission and the process does not work for our telecommunicators. The job is stressful. He would like us to opt out of Civil Service hiring and hire experienced TC’s. Police Chief Brent Roalson, added that four out of our current eleven TC’s started off as part timers and that process has been successful. We currently have a list of ten plus an interview process, and we are on number eight on the list due to problems. AFSCME has been very cooperative. Another home rule advantage is that Hotel Motel Taxes can be used for general fund purposes. It was noted that LaSalle, Peru and Utica are all home rule communities. Commissioner Aussem reminded that he supported home rule the last time it was on the ballot, but there was an organized effort against it, due to taxing power. Home rule will appear on the April ballot in 2017.
Mayor Eschbach discussed a new Sign Ordinance. He would like to bring back a proposed one and have the Council discuss it and go through it and get something on our books. It was decided that this should be the process.
Mayor Eschbach presented Motion. Moved by Mayor Eschbach that this Council recess into Closed Session to discuss a matter of collective bargaining. Second by Less. Ayes: Aussem, Ganiere, Eichelkraut, Less, and Mayor Eschbach. Nays: None. Motion carried. Council recessed at 6:18.
Mayor Eschbach presented Motion. Moved by Mayor Eschbach that this Council reconvene from Closed Session. Second by Ganiere. Ayes: Aussem, Ganiere, Eichelkraut, Less, and Mayor Eschbach. Nays: None. Motion carried.
Mayor Eschbach presented motion to adjourn. Moved by Mayor Eschbach that this special meeting be adjourned. Second by Less. Ayes: Aussem, Ganiere, Eichelkraut, Less, and Mayor Eschbach. Nays: None. Motion carried.
Council adjourned at 6:52 p.m.
Shelly L. Munks, City Clerk