NORMAL – Four Normal residents spoke before Normal Town Council members at the governing body’s regularly scheduled meeting in Council Chambers on the fourth floor of Uptown Station Monday night. Their topics ranged from recent changes in rates and routes proposed by the Town’s public transportation provider, Connect Transit, to making a change in Town Policy concerning how often members of the public may address the Council and the method for seeking approval to do so.

And it was a change in the Town’s Public Comment Policy which generated conversation among Council members before a vote to finalize approval for that policy change which became a central component of the meeting which lasted nearly two hours. The policy concerned how much time members of the public had before a Town Council, Board, or Commission to notify the governing body they wanted to speak.

Council members unanimously approved a proposed resolution which deletes a pair of rules for members of the public seeking to address such elected or appointed officials at meetings which had been previously used. Those rules were: Any person wishing to address the Council needed to notify the office of City Manager Pam Reece up to two hours before the meeting they wished to address; and the public comment period could not exceed 20 minutes. Under this rule, a lottery would be used to determine who would get to speak before the Council. Speakers are each given three minutes to state their concerns before Council members.

Council members unanimously approved a change which would allow any person to register to address the governing body up to 15 minutes to the start of the Council, Board, or Commission meeting. Under the revised rule, registering to speak can be done by completing forms provided by the Town for that purpose or by contacting the City Manager’s office.

But two amendments proposed by two new recently-elected Council members, Stan Nord and Karyn Smith, generated discussion but were ultimately both voted down. First, Smith proposed an amendment shortening the time citizens had to sign up to ask to speak from the proposed rule change of 15 minutes to one minute. Nord seconded Smith’s motion. She was informed by Mayor Chris Koos that cutting the time limit down that much could interfere with other things that could be on a meeting agenda, such as presentations of proclamations, or scheduled Town Liquor Commission meetings, which generally precede Council sessions.

The Council vote on Smith’s amendment was voted down by a 4-3 vote with Smith, Nord, and Council Member Scott Preston voting in favor, while Mayor Chris Koos, and Council Members Chemberly Cummings, Kathleen Lorenz, and Kevin McCarthy voted against it.

Smith, also concerned that some issues on the agenda aren’t always a priority for some residents, proposed an amendment allowing residents to speak on matters not on the agenda for a particular meeting. Nord seconded the motion for that amendment, but by a 5-2 count, only Smith and Nord voted in favor of it, with the rest of the Council voting against it.

Harmon Arts Grant Approved: Council members unanimously approved a motion to approve recommended Harmon Arts Grant Awards. A total of $25,000 in grants were awarded to local groups, the money for the grants earmarked from the Town’s general fund. A total of 28 groups applied for grants from the program, with the projects seeking money totaling $71,827. That amount of money to be distributed is down from the $74,000 in grants distributed last year. The maximum amount a group could receive is $5,000, and the programs or projects receiving the money would need to take place between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

The grant program is named for former Normal Mayor Paul Harmon and his dedication to the arts and was created in 1993 to help promote various art forms in the community. Among the criteria used to determine which applicants are awarded are: Programs takes place in the Town of Normal; Programs are administered by non-profit groups; and programs are administered by organizations with a stated purpose to promote the arts.

Winners, and their grant dollar amounts awarded, are: Illinois State University Symphony Orchestra, $2,000; Illinois Symphony Orchestra, $2,000; Illinois Prairie Theatre, $2,000; ISU – Gelli Printing at Sugar Creek, $1,565; Twin City Ballet, $1,500; USA Ballet, $1,500; McLean County Arts Center, $1,500; ISU’s University Galleries Field Trip Program, $1,500; Shakespeare Festival at ISU, $1,500; Further Jazz, $1,500; Illinois Chamber Music Festival at Illinois Wesleyan University, $1,400; Heartland Theatre Company, $1,200; ISU for 2019 Concerts On The Quad, $1,200; Brass Band of Central Illinois, $1,100; ISU-PUB.UNUT Presents Aditi Machado, $1,000; Crossroads Area Student Theatre. $875; Share The Music, $660; McLean County India Association, $500; and Orpheus Mandolin Orchestra, $500.

Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:

• Approval of the minutes of the Council’s regular meeting held May 20, 2019.

• Approval of Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of May 29, 2019.

• A motion to approve recommended Harmon Arts Grant Awards.

• A resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement for technical planning services with the McLean County Regional Planning Commission.

• A resolution authorizing the purchase of a John Deere 2019 Model 85G Excavator from Goodfield, Ill.-based Martin Equipment in the Amount of $43,000.

• A resolution waiving the formal bidding process and authorizing the purchase of two additional Cardiac Monitor/Defibrillators from Zoll Medical Corporation in the amount of $48,780.32.

• A resolution authorizing a contract with Culy Contracting, LLC for the 2019 Manhole Rehabilitation and Replacement Contract in the amount of $164,940.

• A resolution accepting bids and awarding a contract for the Ridgemont Area Water Main Replacement Project to Bloomington-based George Gildner Inc. at a total cost of $891,570, including additive alternates #1 & #2, plus up to a potential $15,000 bonus for early completion.

• A resolution conditionally approving the final plat of the O’Reilly Auto Enterprises, LLC Subdivision (1315 S. Main).

This entry was posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2019 at 10:37 pm and is filed under Normal Town Council, The Normalite. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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