Georgetown seeks to sell city properties

Kim Luttrell, Correspondent

Georgetown city officials are looking to get rid of some city-owned properties.

Currently, the city is actively looking to sell property that once was the former Georgetown IGA as well as the former police station building.

The city has also been looking at selling the Georgetown community center building, the former Washington School gymnasium, after receiving inquiries about selling the building.

The city council had been seeking proposals for surveying the property where the new police station is located and the property where the former Georgetown IGA was located.  

The new police station was built on part of the parking lot of the former Georgetown IGA, so the city is eyeing the possibility of combining the remainder of the IGA property with the former police station and then dividing the properties in two to offer for sale.

Mayor Darin Readnour said he would like to get these properties back in the hands of individuals and back on the tax rolls.

“We are not collecting any tax money off of these properties while the city owns them,” said Readnour.

Alderman Darren Alexander said he feels the city should hold on to these properties.

“I think it would be a good location for a new city building,” explained Alexander.  “We would have our city hall and police station all located in one spot.”

The other city property that the council is looking to sell is the community center building.

A delegation from the Russell Masonic Lodge #154 AF&AM of Georgetown attended the meeting to express their group’s interest in acquiring the community center building.

Earl Lomax, speaking for the group, said he had toured the building and thought it would serve the Masonic Lodge well.

However, Lomax said the Masons are not allowed to borrow money to fund such a purchase, so the terms of any possible sale would have to be according to what the lodge has cash on hand.

Several aldermen said there are several organizations that would be interested in the building also and that perhaps the Masonic Lodge could partner with one of these groups for a joint purchase and shared use of the building.

The average monthly utility costs to the city for the building are around $340.  The city has rented it out once recently for $410.

The Masonic Lodge requested to look over the city’s utility bills for the building as well as allowing a committee of its members to tour the facility.

Readnour said copies of the utility bills would be made available to the group and a tour would be possible at any time.

Both matters were referred to the public properties committee for further discussion and to come up with options for the city council.

In other council action, aldermen:

Tabled final payment to Hillside Development Corp. of Watseka for construction of the new police station.  The council was expected to make the final payment of $3,120 to Hillside but some issues with excessive moisture in the attic space of the new police station caused aldermen to raise concerns.  The source of the excessive moisture and how to alleviate it have not been identified.  The board would like to hear from Hillside about the problem.

Approved the resignation of Sandy Shepherd from the city office staff.  The council will advertise for her replacement.  Interviews will be conducted during the Feb. 12 personnel committee meeting.

Approved a second year contract with Melrose Pyrotechnics to provide fireworks on July 4, 2019.  The city already has a contract in place for 2018 but the second year contract locks in this year’s price of $6,700 for 2019 also.

Appointed Ed Hitt as the city’s representative for the consortium negotiating bids to supply electricity to the city.  The city is part of a consortium of 41 communities that seek the lowest bid to provide electric service to the city.  The group’s current contract with Good Energy expires Mar. 7.

Approved the city joining the American Water Works Association at a cost of $330.  Membership in the organization entitles the city to free water operator training, reduced book prices on manuals for training and discounts on registration for seminars.  The group also provides technical advice and service for any problems the city may encounter with the water supply system.

Approved an incentive agreement with Thad Crispen, who was recently hired as a water and sewer plant employee.  The incentive agreement requires that Crispen remain employed by the city for five years after he successfully receives his water and sewer plant operator’s license.  The agreement provides cash incentives upon the completion of water and sewer operator’s licensing exams.

Approved changes in the water supply loan and sewer loan restructuring ordinances.  The loan restructuring ordinances had been approved but the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency made some wording changes in the original ordinances and the council had to re-approve the ordinances with the changes.

The Georgetown city council will meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at city hall.

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