Several aldermen voiced disapproval of Ameren tree-trimming operations, rather indicating butcher jobs that will eventually cause trees to die, at the Monday evening, Sept. 26 meeting of Pana City Council. A city workers union representative read a statement objecting to a recent detrimental comment made regarding the upkeep of the 17-year old street sweeping machine.
Steve Sipes, mayor, presided, with all alderman in attendance, at the city hall council room.
The outcry regarding trees happened after the first presentation proposing an ordinance approving a Telecommunications Management, LLC, franchise agreement; the business is better known as NewWave Communications.
Alderman Glenn Schneider objected to the trimming of trees by Ameren, with NewWave cable TV using the same utility poles. There was the indication that both businesses do tree cuttings (to make room for cables that are strung through the trees), and it was asked why they do not work together.
City Attorney Amanda Ade Harlow added that the agreements with Ameren and NewWave are the same as with Consolidated Communications (telephone service).
It was proposed that all three utilities’ agreements “come up at once.”
Upon motion by Butch Bland, recommending that tree trimming dos and dont’s be included with the franchise agreements, all aldermen approved the measure. The second reading of the proposal will not be acted upon, it was decided, until negotiations are concluded.
Patty Butkauskas, union president, read a letter issued by city workers regarding maintenance of the street sweeper, saying that a mechanic had responded that motors wear out, some within 10 years, and others, 20 years. City workers serve the community with fewer workers d ue to Pana’s finances, it was said.
Bland suggested a formal maintenance schedule be set up for vehicles, “anything that moves and has tires.” Accountability would help the council and the department superintendents, he went on, adding, “We have good superintendents.”
When Steve Scott said that the superintendents time to set something up and train all workers on all the equipment, Bland added that such should be done on not just operating machines but inspection and minor maintenance.
However, city street superintendent Beef Chernisky said his department “has only five guys,” and that “everything has been done and written down in books.”
Barbara Stauder reported on the Peoples Bank & Trust’s proposal for a park on the northwest corner of Third and Locust. A motion to approve the park passed unanimously. George Heintz, bank representative, said the park will require minimal maintenance, with little grass to be mowed, and not much tree trimming. He expected adequate help to maintain the site.
Trick or Treat Schedule
Also approved for two nights is Trick-or-Treating, 5:00-8:00 p.m., Oct. 30 and 31.
Between 7:11 and 7:53 p.m., the council held a closed session to discuss “potential litigation.” The audience was dismissed to the hallway. Returning to the regular meeting, the council took no action.
City engineer Greg Holthaus reported that the sewer line repairs by Insituform began this week at First and Minerva. Visual inspections with TV have been conducted on Kitchell Avenue to Pine Street, east. The joints in the concrete spillway of the lake dam are to be sealed.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:14 p.m.
Due to the regular council meeting falling upon the Columbus Day holiday, the next session was set for 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the city hall.