During their meeting on October 24, the Hillsboro City Council voted to remove a restriction from an ordinance that mandates all at-will city employees live within a 6-mile radius of Hillsboro.
According to Mayor Brian Sullivan, there are a few supervisors of departments within the city that will be retiring soon, and it could be difficult to immediately replace those employees if they have to be current residents of the city.
Commissioner Don Downs was opposed to removing the restriction, saying he believes those employees should live in Hillsboro and drive the same roads and walk the same sidewalks as other citizens. Commissioner Michael Murphy agreed with Downs, but said he sees the pros and cons to both sides of the issue. He added that he was okay with lifting the restrictions if the council puts an emphasis on living within the 6-mile radius or the willingness to relocate when hiring new employees.
The motion passed with Commissioners Murphy, Katie Duncan and Daniel Robbins voting yes, and Downs voting no. The removal of the restriction does not apply to elected officials, those appointed in a committee, or union members, such as police and firefighters.
The council also approved the purchase of a compact excavator and trailer.
The unit will be available to all departments in the city to make demolition and digging work safer and more efficient. The council was presented with a new and used Caterpillar, and a used Hitachi. After much deliberation, they voted to purchase the new Caterpillar for $59,950. The trailer was an additional cost of $7,472.
Parks Superintendent Jim May said the new model would provide the city the best value of all options.
Also at the meeting, the council approved a bid for liability, property and workers compensation insurance from Scheller Insurance Agency.
Mayor Sullivan said he, Commissioner Murphy and others on a committee interviewed representatives from the three lowest bidders for the contract. Sullivan said Scheller offered the best coverage for the lowest premium. The total cost will be $170,849, saving the city $30,000 annually as compared to the city's current provider. Illinois County Risk Management Trust will be the actual carrier of the policy. The motion passed, 4-0.
Before conducting business, Mayor Sullivan commented on the Tabletop exercise the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency recently hosted for tornado disaster preparedness. The exercise was held on October 21, at the Magnuson Grand Hotel and Conference Center. Sullivan said it was eye-opening to see both what city officials did right as well as what they did not know and needed to be prepared for.
The mayor also said that he has been in touch with State Senator Andy Manar and State Representative Avery Bourne regarding the power plant in Coffeen. He added that it's looking like a possibility that legislation will be introduced in the near future.
The council voted to approve advertising for the purchase of four new warning sirens for the city. Finance Commissioner Duncan said the city had budgeted $100,000 for the sirens, and City Clerk Cory Davidson said the city has needed to replace their sirens for a while. The motion passed, 4-0.
The next Hillsboro City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14, at 7 p.m.