NORMAL – Although we are all uncertain when we will be able to get out and enjoy beautiful weather and our favorite recreational activities as a result of the pandemic, Normal Town Council members, at their May 4 meeting, done remotely, voted unanimously to approve spending money on the publication of the annual Fall/Winter/Spring event catalog.

Council members voted unanimously for the Town to award a bid to Milwaukee-based American Litho in the amount of $31,975 for publication of the next Fall/Winter/Spring and Summer catalogs. The Town’s Parks and Recreation Department pays for publication of three activity catalogs annually — The Parks & Recreation Department publishes three activity guides which feature Town programs, events and facilities annually. One publication covers the fall program cycle (August-December), a second for winter and spring activities (December-May), and the third highlights summer programming (May-August).

Council Member Stan Nord asked what plans the Town had for if the catalogs come out but programs are delayed or cancelled as a result of the current pandemic. Doug Damery, director of the Town’s Parks And Recreation Department, told Council members his department should “have a better handle on what changes to anticipate” related to fall programs, and better prepare to make modifications.” He added how summer goes will be a barometer for the department to determine how programming from the department goes going forward.

Damery added the deadline for printing of the fall guide has been pushed back by two weeks to help his department to give his department a better glance at how fall programming can be mapped out. He said the deadline his department is looking at in that case is mid-July.

Damery explained his department is currently “dealing with modifications in changes in programming” since the current summer catalog came out in March, and has had supervisors in his department make direct contact with anyone who signed up and paid for summer activities. He added changes concerning events related to summer programs are updated as they are known.

Town Renews Participating In Insurance Co-Op: Council members voted unanimously to renew the Town’s membership in Municipal Insurance Cooperative Agency (MICA), with the annual renewal beginning May 1. MICA is a group of 22 Illinois public entities, primarily municipalities, created in 1984 to provide its members with insurance coverage on a partially self-funded basis. Normal joined MICA in 1985 and is currently its second largest entity behind the City of Des Plaines.

Council Approves Contract For Elevator Service: Council members unanimously approved a three-year contract for elevator maintenance with Peoria-based KONE, Inc. at an annual cost of $27,480. KONE, Inc. was one of three companies to bid on the contract and submitted the lowest bid for the contract. The other bidders were based in Peoria and St. Louis, but the proposal from the second Peoria-based company was found to be incomplete.

Council Approves Contract For Belt Ave. Bridge Resurfacing: Council members unanimously approved a contract for $46,529.42 for resurfacing work needing to be completed on the Belt Ave. Bridge. The contract was awarded to Bloomington-based Rowe Construction, Inc., the lone bidder for the project. Last July, Normal-based The Farnworth Group and Town of Normal Engineering Department employees completed an inspection required to meet National Bridge Inspection Standards for the bridge.

According to a report to Town Council members prepared by Town Engineer Ryan Otto, during the inspection, deterioration of the wearing surface was discovered, as were signs of water leaking through the wearing surface and coming through the joints between the bridge’s deck beams. As a result of those discoveries, repairs were deemed necessary. Work included under this contract includes removal and replacement the existing hot-mix asphalt wearing surface.

Installation Of Sanitary Sewer Lining Approved: Council members unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a contract to Peoria-based Hoerr Construction, Inc. for installation of roughly 8,400 lineal feet of pipe along with two large sewer point repairs. This project was approved in the Town’s Capital Investment Program (CIP). Hoerr Construction, Inc. was one of three companies to submit a bid for the project, submitting the lowest of the bids at $452,149.80. Among the street intersections where work will be done are: Bradford Lane and Alden Dr.; Warren St. and Bakewell Ave.; Norwood Ave. and Dial Ct.; Concord Dr. and Arlington Dr.; Russell St. and Riordan St.; Fairchild Ave. and Coolidge St.; Bryan Dr.; Eastview Dr. and College Ave.; Livingston Dr. and Morgan St.; Franklin Ave. and Fell Ave. (along Sugar Creek), Cherry St. and Linden St.; Towanda Ave. and Blair Dr. (along Sugar Creek); and Columbia Dr. and Courtland Ave.

Plat Conditionally Approved For Iden Subdivision: Council also gave unanimous approval to conditionally approving a plat for the Iden Subdivision by expedited process. This included vacating an easement and accepting an easement dedication for property located at 105-111 W. Locust. The Town sought approval of the Iden Subdivision feeling it was necessary for the redevelopment of three aging, multifamily properties.

EMT Service By NFD Coming To Hudson?: Could Normal Fire Department emergency medical technicians be coming to the aid of someone in Hudson needing to get to a Twin City hospital? That could happen under discussions between Normal Fire Department and Hudson Fire Protection District (HFPD). NFD Chief Mick Humer told Council members during a work session prior to the May 4 Council session NFD officials had discussions with Hudson Fire officials last summer which began mentioning the possibility of NFD entering into a contract with Hudson Fire Protection District to respond to emergency calls within the district.

If an agreement between the parties is worked out, this would be the second smaller community NFD EMT units would respond to, as Towanda began receiving such service in 2014. HFPD responds to calls covering roughly 50 square miles, including the Village of Hudson, Humer told Council members. Their territory includes Lake Bloomington, Lake Evergreen, and surrounding areas, Humer explained.

In 2019, Humer said, there were between 140-150 calls for assistance made to HFPD, of which NFD lent assistance 47 times assisting with “paramedic-level transport,” Humer explained. He said if the patient required IV’s or medication, NFD was able to assist, in addition to getting the patient to a hospital.

“We’re only talking about 100 more calls per year,” if this is agreed to, Humer said. He added Hudson receives money courtesy of a tax levy for emergency medical services of roughly $300,000. He said Hudson would need to use some of those dollars for training new EMTs, equipment, and manpower. He said depending on which part of Hudson or the county a call comes from, it could take anywhere between 12 to 18 minutes to respond. NFD Station #3, located on Raab Rd., would get to Hudson in 12 minutes, He added.

NFD and HFPD “are still in the process of negotiating the contract, and we’re very close,” Humer told Council members, with cost being the current sticking point between the two sides. He added patients would be billed for transportation to the hospital, adding HFPD billed patients for trips to hospitals for close to $65,000 total. Of that total, roughly $42,000 was recovered through private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.

For NFD, the additional service would not involve an increase in manpower, Humer said. He added ambulance calls for Normal residents will feel no difference in response times with other NFD stations in town able to respond should there be a call to Towanda.

Normal City Manager Pam Reece told Council members the Town would propose to HFPD an initial three-year agreement. She added NFD receives over 5,000 calls for EMT service annually. “If Hudson has 140 to 150 calls a year, the number of new calls for us to respond to would be about 100. That sounds like a lot of calls, but when you’re doing over 5,000, it’s basically not a significant impact to our calls for service.”

Humer added that when a contract is finalized, a clause which would see the fee Hudson pays for the service would go up three percent annually during the life of the contract. Reece said the Town “is proposing a relatively short term agreement which gives us chance to see how this works.”

Reece added the Town would make sure Hudson maintained its first responder program. Once an agreement between NFD and HFPD is worked out, it will be sent to Normal Council members for a vote.

In discussion which followed, Council Member Kevin McCarthy verified with Humer whether he was not anticipating any staff changes as a result of what was proposed to which Humer and Reece confirmed. Council Member Stan Nord added he would like a mechanism be put in place by NFD in case a retirement community were to be place in the Hudson area, so that additional calls from there could be handled.

Liquor Commission Approves New Owner For Marie’s Place: Prior to the Council session, Council members, in their capacity as Normal Local Liquor Commission unanimously approved licenses for three establishments, identified as Marie’s Place. Two of those locations, in Landmark Plaza, 1520 E. College Ave., and at Patriot Center, 115 Susan Dr., were applied for by MC ONE INVESTMENTS LLC, d/b/a Marie’s Place. Liquor Commissioners unanimously approved Class C Licenses (Beer and Wine Only) and a Video Gaming License for each establishment. Each establishment has six gaming terminals

A third license renewal was unanimously approved for 35 YEARS, LLC UNIVERSITY PARK, d/b/a Marie’s Place. That location’s owner applied for and was granted a Class C License (Beer and Wine Only) and a Video Gaming License for 6 terminals at 1702 W. College Avenue.

Marie’s Place owners had found itself on Town radar, partly for violating its license by not offering food at one of its locations. That resulted in owners and the Town going before an administrative officer in a hearing to resolve the matter in mid-March. The administrative officer recommended to the Town that the owners should be fined. At a NLCC meeting last month, a number of votes were taken concerning licensing of the business, in part, because the ownership to two of the businesses which was approved Monday. Liquor Licenses run from April 1-March 30.

NLCC members also unanimously approved minutes from their April 20 session.

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