Zion-Benton News

Vacant property cleanup begins

By Mona Shannon
Zion-Benton News staff

Mayor Harrison and mayor pro tem Jim Taylor were absent from Tuesday's city council meeting. Commissioner Frank Flammini was appointed temporary chairman and a number of items were removed from the agenda because they required more than a simple majority vote.

The meeting began with the recognition of three Zion firefighters who were promoted to lieutenant on Jan. 1. Their wives, as is tradition, pinned on their new badges. The three promoted are Rick Reich, Rocky Campanella and Dane Costello

A Resolution of Commendation was approved for Michael D. Hampton for 30 years of service to the Zion Police Department. Hampton was not present, and Flammini said the resolution will be presented to him at the Zion Police Department.

Police mutual aid agreement
The council approved an updated mutual aid agreement with the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System as requested by Police Chief Steve Dumyahn. He said the agreement provides extra manpower in emergencies. Zion used it in the Joshua Summeries case. It also provides access to specialized manpower and equipment that individual departments could not afford to maintain.

Plans for nuclear plant site
Finance Director David Knabel said an advisory group working with the Comprehensive Plan committee recommended that the city submit a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Exelon regarding plans for the nuclear plant site. He said Exelon will present its plan required for the license termination to the NRC for approval this year.
Without input from interested parties, the NRC will approve a standard plan for what they think is best use of the property.

Hill said the future of Zion is tied to what happens at the lakefront and he had previously asked the mayor to send a letter to Exelon and the mayor replied they had done that and gotten no response. Hill asked the council to strongly request that the mayor write a letter to the appropriate party to let them know the city wants to be involved in the process.

Tax abatement
The council approved the abatement of taxes on six sets of alternate revenue bonds.
Knabel explained that the bonds are collateralized by alternate revenue sources.
Investors protect themselves with a clause that if the revenue ceases the city must put it on the tax roll to pay for it. So each year the city must show that the revenue is there and it will not go on the tax roll.

Vacant property cleanup
The council awarded the bid for the demolition of 2732 Enoch Ave. to Lima Contractors for $29,135. Director of Building Rich Ianson said the demolition is part of the IHDA Grant which reimburses 50 percent of the demolition cost. The city council previously approved matching funds for the remaining 50 percent.

The council awarded the bid for asbestos removal at 2732 Enoch to Asbestos Project Management for $5,900. This is also part of the grant with 50 percent reimbursement.

Commissioner Hill said the city received a grant last year to clean up abandoned properties and this is the first of five demolitions of vacant properties and there are five more in the works.

HVAC contract
The council awarded the bid for HVAC maintenance for city hall, police department, public works department and fire stations 1 & 2 to the current contract holder, Northern Weather Makers in the amount of $16,064.

Northern Weather Makers was not the lowest bidder but Police Chief Steve Dumyahn and Director of Building Rich Ianson explained the reason staff recommended staying with the company which has held the contract for the last two years.

Dumyahn said with any contractor there are security issues at the police department. “We do not have the manpower to stay with them the whole time they are in the building. The HVAC in the building is very old with lots of problems. It is difficult to get a company that can get it running. [Northern Weather Makers] has done a lot and done a good job.”

Ianson said Northern Weather Makers has done an excellent job in servicing and maintaining all the city HVAC systems, especially the police department. He said they have had previous contractors that could not maintain the equipment at the police department.

Citizen comments
Forrest McClendon, of the 2100 block of Emmaus Avenue, asked the city to install two more lights in the alley there. He said the alley is very dark; it’s unsafe and there is a potential for violence. He said his neighbor has had swastikas drawn on his fence and his garage broken into. He has had tires, trees and other garbage dumped on his property. He said there are no lights in the final third of the alley.

Clyde McLemore read a letter of gratitude to Police Chief Steve Dumyahn for his support of the Mary’ Mission Toys for Tots parade for the children of inmates at the Lake County Jail. McLemore said the chief showed up and helped out. “It was the best parade ever; a blessed event.”

Residents in the 2200 block of Salem Boulevard asked the city to enforce its ordinances regarding the number of occupants in a home. They complained about a home with a large number of children, two dogs and four to six adults living there. They said there is a lot of garbage, much of which ends up in their yards, including dirty diapers. The dogs, which one resident described as vicious, roam freely and do their business in neighbor's yards. They said there are drugs and people hanging around in the alley at night. They have had to call police on numerous occasions. Commissioner Al Hill said Building Director Rich Ianson will address the issue right away.

City stickers
Knabel said city stickers are now on sale. The current stickers expire April 30. The cost is $30 and the sticker is good for two years: May 1, 2015-April 30, 2017. The cost is $15 for ages 65-69; free for residents over 70 with a valid driver's license; $1 with handicapped license plate and free for military.