Originally Posted Online: May 13, 2013, 9:56 pm
Last Updated: May 13, 2013, 10:57 pm

Colona approves sewer treatment upgrades without canal crossing

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By Lisa Hammer, rlhammer@qconline.com

COLONA -- Aldermen on Monday night approved a Shive Hattery proposal for improvements to the sewer treatment plant.

The city still must seek bids, but the estimated cost of the project could reach $1.7 million. The work includes new digesters, blowers, generators, pipe work and other items to bring the plant in compliance with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Aldermen, however, decided to send the Hennepin Canal sewer crossing project back to the public works committee, with public works committee member Larry Swemline casting the lone "nay" vote.

Thomas Feliksiak, Chris Reynolds and Bill Murphy, all of Colona, said they understood the need to replace sewer pipes at the canal and Third Street. But they questioned the proposal to put a new street over the canal. Mr. Reynolds also suggested it wasn't ethical to include a street in a water sewer project.

After the meeting, public works director Rick Crew said the canal crossing had been part of the city's comprehensive plan for years.

Walt Carlson, of Colona, also suggested an ordinance governing golf carts on city streets was too restrictive, noting the requirement of seat belts. Ald. Jen Roth said she was not comfortable knowing the ordinance would let any licensed driver as young as 16 operate golf carts in traffic with regular vehicles.

The proposed ordinance was heard as a first reading.

Mayor Rick Lack reported he has met with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Commerce Commission and the railroads on crossing improvements needed for high-speed rail. He said the agencies will get back with the city, but the work will be done at no cost to Colona.

His committee appointments failed to win approval from aldermen. Ald. Larry Ropp circulated his own plan for committees before aldermen eventually agreed on four changes to the mayor's plan. Ald. Patricia Ruhl will serve on the finance committee, Ald. Ashley Stover on public works, Ald. Rafe Thrasher on economic development and Ald. Ropp on public works.

The council also:
* Learned the Freedom Celebration committee almost lost this year's event and is seeking volunteers for the June 30 fest.
* Approved a new contract with the police union that members already have ratified.
* Approved a the water tower lease with Verizon for $6,000 through September, then $2,000 per month.
* Approved the Mediacom franchise agreement, consolidating old agreements into one with the city getting the maximum 5 percent of gross receipts for 10 years.
* Observed a moment of silence in memory of Jeremy King, the brother of Ald. Mike King.
* Learned there will be two new "little free libraries" in Colona, thanks to a grant from MidAmerican Energy, with the newest one now up at Indian Trails resort.
* Moved the May 27 meeting to May 28 because of the Memorial Day holiday.