By Steve Robinson | September 17, 2019 - 1:01 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Town Council, The Normalite

NORMAL – The battle struggle concerning Normal Town Council established rules went on for another session on Monday in Council Chambers on the fourth floor of Uptown Station. Current Council meeting rules for public attendees include that they may speak to Council members during a public comments portion of the meeting, but only on topics listed on that meeting’s agenda.

During the public comments segment, former mayoral candidate Marc Tiritilli, while quickly addressing a few issues he wanted to cover, mentioned the need for the Town to fill a vacancy for a representative from the Town on the Connect Bus Transit System Board. Mayor Chris Koos interjected reminding Tiritilli the Board vacancy was not among the listed items on the agenda and that public comments should pertain to items on the evening’s agenda.

Hearing this, Tiritilli ended his comments about Connect. But during the Council Member Comments portion of the meeting before adjournment, Council Member Stan Nord asked for Tiritilli to be able to continue his comments regarding the situation concerning Connect’s Board appointment. Koos informed Nord that could only take place if Council members voted to suspend the established public speaking rules. A vote to suspend those rules took place with Koos and Council Members Chemberly Cummings, Kathleen Lorenz and Kevin McCarthy voting against doing that. Nord and Smith voted in favor of suspending those rules.

With regard to this particular issue, the Office of Illinois Attorney General is currently investigating a challenge to that rule filed in the spring by council member Karyn Smith.

Nord then became insistent Koos fill the Connect Board vacancy. Koos replied saying there was an interested party who withdrew their name from consideration as a result of not wanting to be involved in what the interested party saw as “toxicity” present on Connect’s Board.

At the start of the meeting, which lasted nearly three hours, Smith requested an edit in the minutes from the Council’s Sept. 3 meeting. Smith wished to have Town Clerk Angie Huonker edit minutes from that meeting to, in her opinion, more properly reflect statements she had made. Supporting Huonker’s capabilities as Town Clerk, Koos denied Smith’s request.

Brewpub Design Approved: Council members unanimously approved waivers from the Uptown Design Review Code requested by two brothers desiring to open a brewpub at the former location of a longtime key shop. Having gotten that approval, brothers Ryan and Steven Fiala will demolish the original structure and replace the former key shop location with a two-story structure which will house a microbrewery. Being two stories will add square footage to the property. Also included in the design of the proposed new building are a pair of outdoor patios.

At the Sept. 9 meeting of Uptown Design Review Commission, the design was approved after the brothers and the architects they hired to do the work spoke. No members of the public spoke at the session.

Fiala Brothers Beer LLC will create craft brews and operate a full-service kitchen according to the report provided Council members by Assistant City Manager Eric Hansen.

At the Council’s Sept. 4 meeting, Council members approved brothers Ryan and Steven Fiala’s request for proposed plans for a brewpub by a 5-2 vote with Council Members Nord and Smith voting in opposition to the plan. The Fialas proposed brewpub would be established at 127 E. Beaufort St., the former location of Bill’s Key And Lock Shop.

Annual Town Financial Trend And Condition Report Reviewed: Town Finance Director Andrew Huhn presented Council members with an annual summary concerning the Town’s Financial Trend and Condition Report. Among the highlights of the report was continued increase in assessed property values. Equalized Assessed Value increased from 0.7 percent in 2017 to 1.4 percent last year. While this is a good trend, Huhn reminded Council members the Town would prefer to see EAV growth of at least 2 percent annually. Having that happen, Huhn explained, helps the Town to take in sufficient property tax dollars to offset increases in expenditures.

A slight piece of good news came courtesy of travelers, Huhn said, in explaining numbers of folks using Central Illinois Regional Airport. In 2017, CIRA saw a drop of 12 percent in passengers using the airport, a drop of usage of nearly 12.4 percent versus 2016 numbers. But in 2018, it looked like folks were flying out of CIRA again, as the airport registered 364,482 travelers going through the airport last year, an increase of 9.15 percent.

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

• Approval of minutes of regular meeting held Sept. 3, 2019.

• Report to receive and file Town expenditures for payment as of Sept. 11, 2019.

• A resolution to amend the lease agreement for the Illinois State University Art Gallery to extend the term to Feb. 28, 2020.

• A resolution to accept the proposal and award a contract to Layne Christensen Co. for drilling test wells at three locations within the corporate limits in the amount of $32,960.

• A resolution to waive the formal bidding process and accept a quote from Peoria-based Presidio Networking Solutions Group LLC in the amount of $112,443.42 for the purchase of body camera video storage and protection and related professional services.

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