Zion-Benton News



Zion moves to change dispatch


By Mona Shannon
Zion-Benton News staff 

Tuesday's city council meeting began with 2016 Little Miss Zion Daija Hoard calling the meeting to order. Jr. Miss Zion Kayla Vines conducting the roll call and Miss Zion Zaryah Dixon leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

That was followed by the presentation of the Jubilee Days Awards by Rich Walker. Walker was also recognized by the city for his 30 years of service as the executive director of the Jubilee Days Festival. Mayor Al Hill said the job is difficult and extremely complicated. "He must motivate people to do what they are supposed to do."

Consolidating emergency dispatch
Fire Chief John Lewis requested permission to develop an intergovernmental agreement with Gurnee to consolidate emergency dispatch. The state has mandated that communities with a service area of less than 25,000 must consolidate their dispatch with another community. Lewis said talks were held with both Winthrop Harbor and Gurnee. He said Gurnee has more to offer now and in the future.

Chief Lewis said Gurnee plans to offer six to seven positions to Zion personnel. They would have to apply for the positions and would become employees of Gurnee. He said the public will see no difference in service. The cost will be equal to the city's current costs.

Mayor Hill said a concern he's heard is that local dispatchers know the city and its streets and that may be lost with the change. Chief Lewis said there may be some validity to that in the beginning but that is also true when they hire a new dispatcher. He said Zion works with two dispatchers at a time. Gurnee plans on using four to five. One would be for Zion police only, one for Gurnee police only, one for all fire and one call taker.

The council approved moving ahead on an intergovernmental agreement with Gurnee. Commissioner Mike McDowell noted the city must do this as the state has mandated it.

Street light repair
Public Works Director Ron Colangelo said staff negotiated a price reduction with Home Towne Electric of $25 per hour for street light repairs and $30 per hour for emergency street light repairs. The council approved his request to extend the contract for an additional year with the price adjustments.

Public Works security cameras
Colangelo also asked for approval for replacement of the DVR system for security cameras at the public works facility. He said the hard drive was installed in 2005 and has failed. A quote from the current provider, Pentegra Systems, for $3,153.43, allows for use of the current cameras and the ability to upgrade in the future. Funding would be split between the Public Works and Water Fund building line items. The council approved the request.

MOU with MRMC
The council approved a request from Chief Lewis for an addition to the Memorandum of Understanding with Midwestern Regional Medical Center that allows for transport of the hospital's patients from guest quarters and contracted hotels to MRMC or other hospitals. The addition would include the new Tower Guest Quarters on the hospital's sixth and seventh floors as a transport location. Chief Lewis said the top two floors are not patient rooms and are considered a business occupancy.

CUBZ appointments
Mayor Hill appointed Linda Sandoval and Kathy Champine to the steering committee for Citizens United for a Better Zion Commission.

Citizens' Comments
W.C. Bremner asked if the diseased trees on non-city owned public property, i.e. schools, library, park district property, are included in the city's ash tree removal program. Mayor Hill said they are not; the city could not afford that. He explained those taxing bodies are responsible for the trees on their own property.

Announcements
The last day for the Zion Farmers Market is Sept. 29.
Trick or Treat in Zion will be 2-5 p.m. on Oct. 30.