Update on design of Rt. 51 and continued outsourcing of Public Works jobs among topics for next Decatur City Council meeting
The next meeting of the Decatur City Council will take place on Monday, May 3 at 5:30 PM. The meeting has 12 agenda items including the continued outsourcing of jobs in the Public Works Department an update on improvements to Business Route 51 between Eldorado and Pershing, agreements with the Public Safety Training Foundation for the use of its facilities by the Police and Fire Departments, and defederalization of the city’s revolving loan fund administered by the Community Investment Corporation of Decatur (CICD). In addition, three council members will be sworn in to begin 4-year terms: Ed Culp, Chuck Kuhle, and David Horn.
OUTSOURCING OF ENGINEERING JOBS
I continue to be opposed to the outsourcing of Public Works positions to an out-of-town engineering firm for work that could be performed by city employees. Between the September 8, 2020 agreement and the proposed agreement with Clark Dietz Inc., the city will have committed $272,422 for 2,199 hours of work at a cost of $123.88 per hour.
Rather than outsourcing, the city should have hired the staff it needed last year. For a similar dollar amount the city could fill two Engineering Tech I positions ($76,867 annual compensation) and a City Engineer position ($120,516 annual compensation) for $274,250. Furthermore, assuming each of these three city employees had a 40-hour work week, 25 vacation days and 12 sick days per year, they could perform 5,352 hours of work (143% more hours of work than performed by the out-of-town firm). The continued outsourcing of jobs comes at a time where Decatur’s March unemployment rate increased to 10.3% in March and there are 3,043 unemployed individuals in the city.
DESIGN OF BUSINESS ROUTE 51 BETWEEN ELDORADO AND PERSHING
Since 2019, the City of Decatur has asked the Illinois Department of Transportation to consider a different approach to improving Business Route 51 between Pershing and Eldorado. Specifically, instead of simply milling the existing driving surface and adding new asphalt, there would be an opportunity to improve the road while simultaneously meeting the city’s neighborhood revitalization objectives. Such additional improvements might include improved sidewalks and lighting, as well as more green strips adjacent to the road. At the city council meeting on Monday, an update on the design and progress toward implementation will be discussed.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS
Meetings take place at the Theater located on the second floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.