UPDATE: In a press release, City Administrator Jim Arndt had stated that citizens within city limits who continuously violate the new “no burn” policy could be fined.
“Recurring infractions will be dealt with by the standard fine as defined in the City Ordinance. Fine can be no less than $50 but no more than $750 per occurrence. Each incident or each day is considered a separate occurrence. The fines will increase with the number of occurrences.”
The Effingham City Council passed a resolution that would restrict leaf burning within city limits to Friday, Saturday, and Monday before dark. The measure is being implemented in an effort to help reduce local air pollution to ensure that residents with asthma or other respiratory conditions can enjoy the outdoors. Effingham Radio News spoke to Mayor Jeff Bloemker who supported the resolution.
Commissioner Merv Gillenwater opposed the resolution on the grounds that the restrictive burn schedule would lead to condensed air pollution on the designated days. He suggested that he would like to find a solution to the issue of leaf burning in the city, but was not sure that Tuesday’s resolution was the best course of action.
Mayor Bloemker said that the city does not initially intend on imposing a fine on citizens caught burning on “no burning days.”
The Council also passed a resolution that would further the process of establishing the Triangle Business District. Business Districts are areas where the city can tax commerce to generate revenue for projects such as improving infrastructure.
Additionally three members were appointed to the City’s Tourism Advisory Board to serve three year terms ending on May 1, 2019. Dan Wormhoudt and Elizabeth Yager previously served on the board and Angie Jones is a new appointee.
The Council also approved the rebuilding of a pump at the Henrietta Lift Station. Vandevanter Engineering has agreed to complete the maintenance of the pump for $10,235.21.
During the meeting, utility billing employee Janet Ohnesorge was honored as the Employee of the Quarter. The award is given to employees have demonstrated distinguished service to city during the fiscal quarter. Ohnesorge’s commitment to customers and taking on new tasks were cited as reasons for her selection to receive the award.
The Council also heard a presentation from Brian Wright, a representative of FGM Architects, about initial plans for the construction of a new Police Station. FGM had brainstormed with various public officials on their goals for the new station. Some of the goals discussed at Tuesday’s meeting include the separation of different parts of the station, secure entry points for both building entrances and restricted areas within the station, the 911 dispatch center to be located in the basement of the building, and connection to City hall. Wright gave a broad cost of $8,000,000-$10,500,00 for the new station that would take approximately one year to construct.
Finally the board heard a request from representatives from the Effingham Performance Center requesting city funds for various improvements. The four improvements discussed at the meeting included new ticket sale stations, parking lot maintenance, a new curtain for the stage, and funding for more TV advertising. The total funds requested total around $75,000. This agenda item was “discussion only” and no vote was held at this point.