The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The La Harpe City Council

The La Harpe City Council approved hiring American Legal Publishing Corp. to codify the city's ordinances at an estimated cost of $7,500.

Richard Frommeyer, codification consultant with American Legal Publishing Corp., presented the council with the company's plan to update the code book, which was last done in 1992. The company that did that update is now part of American Legal Publishing Corp.

Frommeyer said the company will take LaHarpe's latest code book and update it with all the ordinances passed since 1992. They look for inconsistencies in those ordinances and if any of them violate state statutes or refer to state statutes that no longer exist. Once this is done, they do a legal research report to show what is wrong with the ordinances, including any that are unconstitutional. This document is given to the LaHarpe council. American Legal Publishing Corporation's attorney speaks with the council about this document to answer any questions. The company encourages cities to give the codes to the department heads, so they can comment on the ordinances affecting their department.

The council directs the company to make any changes to ordinances they deem necessary. Once completed, the document is given back to the council for a single vote to accept it all. Once accepted, the city receives 15 physical copies. One of these is placed at the library for public access. If the city is willing to pay another $400, they can place the entire book online in a searchable format. This is hosted on a city website or on the company's website.

For an extra charge, the online database tracks the history of changes to ordinances the council makes in the future.

Frommeyer estimated the time for completion at no earlier than four months.

He said it was normally one to three months to update the code book, one to two months to do the legal review, and the company asked municipalities to not take longer than three months in reviewing the code book.

Once approved, it takes the company one to three months to print it. The city is supplied with either Word or Word Perfect documents on disc. Frommeyer said residents can buy a disc of the final code book.

Due to the difficulty in estimating the length of the code book, the $7,500 base price could go up or down.

The company will charge extra or less depending on whether the book comes in above or under its estimated length. He said the company can typically tell within 30 to 60 days what the length will be.

The city did not budget $7,500 in this year's budget for the project. Frommeyer said the city can make two payments if they need to split the cost across this fiscal year and next fiscal year. The new fiscal year begins in May.

The council voted 4-2 to conduct a water and sewer system audit at a cost of $3,000 to $5,000.

Council member Marcia Stiller said she had heard several questions from residents about the state of the city's infrastructure, particularly the water department.

This audit covers things like needed repairs, reserve funds, the water rate, operation costs, and the financial soundness of the water department.

None of these are covered in the yearly audit, which is primarily a profit/loss review.

Stiller said the audit could begin in late April or early May.

Voting to do the audit were Darrell Kraft, David Mershon, Stiller, and Kenneth Foster. Voting "no" on the audit were Josiah Neff and Amy Palmer.

City Attorney Kurt Dittmer presented the council with his yearly report on the Benjamin F. Johnson Estate Farms covering one year from Feb. 1, 2015, through Jan. 31, 2016. La Harpe schools received about $390,000 and the city will receive $2,000.00.

Dittmer said one of the hunting leases was being broken by the other party with three years remaining on it.

Dittmer plans to re-let the lease for the 240 acres. If the new bids are under the original bid, there may be legal action taken.

With a motion by Kraft, seconded by Foster, the council unanimously approved Dittmer continuing as the estate manager at a salary of four percent of the cash receipts.

City Clerk Lucretia McPeak reported that the city has received a $351,000 grant for low-income housing rehabilitation. The Western Illinois Regional Council applied for the grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The grant is good for seven houses. The money should be released by the early summer. A public hearing needs to be held and contracts signed with the chosen homeowners.

Water Superintendent Tim Graves made another appeal to the council to either bring back his assistant, Daniel Carpenter who was fired late last year, or to hire a new water department employee.

"On Dec. 4, at 11 a.m., Daniel was advised his services were no longer needed. They are needed," said Graves.

"I can't keep up with what I need to do now. Once the water project starts and mowing season starts, there is no way I can keep up. I am asking you to give him one year to complete his Class A license test and reinstate him beginning March 1."

A motion to table the issue by Stiller died for lack of a second.

The council voted on a motion by Josiah Neff, seconded by Palmer, to reinstate Carpenter. The vote tied 3-3, with Mayor Ryan Kienast voting "no" to break the tie.

Voting to reinstate were Neff, Palmer and Kraft. Voting against reinstatement were Stiller, Foster, and Mershon.

The council unanimously voted to suspend the supervisor's meetings. The vote came after a 3-3 tie vote at the Feb. 8 meeting. Kienast was absent from that meeting, so there was no tiebreaking vote available.

Josiah Neff said he is consulting with Dittmer in drawing up an ordinance for the removal of an elected official and will try to bring something to the next council meeting.

The council approved paying $400 to buy the Street Department a set of tire chains for the truck. The council approved Street Superintendent Wayne Humphrey getting prices for a new leaf blower.

Kraft is asking for estimates on upgrading the electrical power at the city's reservoir campsite. The city has had two Eagle Scouts lined up for the project, but neither one worked out. Kraft is also pursuing estimates on building a dock at the reservoir. This idea was brought up last year as a way to use money left to the city by the Mueller family.

Kraft said he plans to have a start date by the next council meeting for the remodeling project of the first floor of city hall. Most of that work takes place in the garage area next to the police offices.

The council discussed parking issues on South C Street. At least two children have been seen running from between parked cars into the street in front of moving cars. This area is used by parents to pick up children from school. The vehicles parked on both sides of the street have reduced the street to less than two lanes of room.

The council discussed forbidding parking on one or both sides of the street. Police Chief Justin Livingston said that would only make parents angry.

"They'll just move down a block and you'll have the same situation there," said Livingston. "It would be better if they would meet them at the crosswalk. The big problem is kids don't look- they just dart across the street. The parents need to remind them to look both ways before crossing."

Livingston said he will speak more with the school on a possible solution.

The new water billing ordinance was tabled until the next council meeting on Monday, March 14, at 7 p.m.

Council present were: Mayor Ryan Kienast, Clerk Lucretia McPeak, Treasurer Marcia Neff, trustees Amy Palmer, David Mershon, Marcia Stiller, Kenny Foster, Josiah Neff and Darrell Kraft. Also present were: Tim Graves, Monalisa Graves, Courtney Graves, Dean Spangler, Kurt Dittmer, Doug Endres, Justin Livingston, Richard Frommeyer, Wayne Yetter, Ted Shutwell, Karlene Kurtz, Bette June Mapes, Justin Graves, Michelle Brown, Jana Finley, Dave Clover, Mellissa A., Shirley Anders, Bill Burt, Bart Thompson, Lacie Thompson, Niki Maske, Amber Pence, Ben Hitz, Delbert Kreps, Barry Wright, Brian Covert, Lacey Covert, Larry Hobby, Shelby Jones, Shirlene Jones, Jason Siegworth, Ada Hubbard, Tiffany Foster, Lindsay Shoemaker, Cassidy Burt, Daniel Carpenter, Willo Carpentrer, David Carpenter, Todd Stevens, Carol Stevens, Ken Brown, Mark Kosifas, Linda Kosifas, Chad Burt, Peg Webster, Mike Rodeffer, Jonah Burt, Richard Wood, Chad Burt, Paul Anderson, Bev Anderson, Connie Williams, Larry Williams, Angie Shoemaker, Justice Shoemaker, Roger Hughes, Ashley Derby, Sheriff Bentzinger, and a few who didn't sign in..

Doug Endres, who has been covering the La Harpe City Council for several years as an area news correspondent, is retiring from writing this month as he furthers his studies at WIU in another career. His expert coverage will be missed.