By Pamela Rensing
MASCOUTAH – Eric Kohrmann was sworn in as the new Mascoutah city councilman. He fills the seat vacated by Doug Elbe who resigned on September 19 due to moving out of the area.
Kohrmann was appointed by Mayor Pat McMahan and approved by the council.
Kohrmann, 57, is formally of Albers and has lived in Mascoutah for 21 years. He is employed at Nutrien Ag Solutions in New Memphis and is also a farmer. He was married to Bonnie Kohrmann who passed away in 2010. He is a member of Holy Childhood Church.
When Mayor McMahan asked him to be a councilman, Kohrmann said “I was honored. I am looking forward to this.”
He encourages residents to contact him at any time. “The voice of the people needs to be heard.”
Other items on the agenda included:
• Councilmen approved the second reading of an ordinance to prohibit Vaping by minors.
A minor in violation of this ordinance could be fined not less than $200 and/or subject to 20 hours of community services. If the minor is found in violation for a second time within one year, he/she could be fined not less than $300 and/or subject to 40 hours of community service .
Councilmen also approved the second reading to prohibit Vaping in closed public places.
Anyone found vaping in a prohibited area could be fined not less than $200 and not more than $750.
Any owner or manager that allows vaping in their public place could be fined not less than $200 for the first violation, not less than $500 for the second violation, and not less than $750 for multiple offences within one year.
• Report from Mascoutah Fire Chief Joe Zinck – The Mascoutah Fire Department answered 16 calls in September.
At the annual meeting on October 11, the Mascoutah Volunteer Fire Company (MVFC) recommended the reappoint the current chief officers. The current slate of MVFC officers were also re-elected.
The fire department is working on setting up IFSI and SWIC classes for 2023. They have two members that will begin the basic firefighter program in January.
The MVFC will be holding their Mulligan and Chili on October 30. This will be a pre-order carry out only event.
Zinch reported that last week was Fire Prevention Week. They held demonstrations at the grade schools, along with Laugh & Learn Daycare, and also in participated in a parade at Scott Air Force Base on Friday.
• Report from Public Safety Director Scott Waldrup – The Mascoutah Police Department responded to 247 calls in September.
There were 16 accidents.
Officers issued 40 traffic citations and 77 warnings.
They made 8 arrests: 5 warrants and 3 adult arrests.
There were 13 ordinance violations: 2 derelict vehicles, 9 high weeds, and 2 other nuisances.
Waldrup stated that last week’s National Night Out was a huge success. “I would like to thank everyone who attended.”
• Report from Public Works Director Jesse Carlton – The Public Works Department completed 828 work orders in September.
• Report from City Engineer Tom Quirk – The North Lebanon Street Improvement Project consist of the reconstruction of North Lebanon Street from Church Street to Harnett Street, Green Street from Market Street to Jefferson Street, Patterson Street from Lebanon Street to Jefferson Street, and Oak Street from Market Street to Lebanon Street. Improvements will include constructing new concrete gutter, concrete sidewalk, concrete driveway aprons, removing existing oil & chip pavement, constructing hot-mix asphalt pavement on new aggregate base.
The estimated construction cost is $2.3 million. This project will be paid for with TIF2B project funds.
Utility locating has been completed and plans are being evaluated to eliminate utility conflicts. Utility relocation is underway. Tree removal started October 12. Storm sewer construction is tentatively scheduled to begin November 1.
• Council members held a first reading regarding eliminating the second “Public Comments” session during meetings. The first public comment will remain as is.
During the first public comment session, former councilman Mike Baker said that eliminating the second comment session was wrong. “Eliminating it at the end, just to get out three minutes earlier from the meeting, is disrespectful.”
Mayor McMahan told councilmen that “We don’t get much in the way of comments during the second section. We are the few in the state that has a second section.”
Councilman Wally Battas said that “if someone is sitting here and then have a comment, they could ask.”
McMahan said residents could always get in touch with council members during the week if they have questions.
Councilman Nick Seibert agreed. “I have no preference either way, but I think you are right. They could reach out to us after the meeting.”
Attorney Al Paulson said residents have a right to comment, but not turn it into a question-and-answer session. “That is when they should contact the council during the week.”
A final vote will take place on November 7.
• The council approved the purchase of steel poles for the Electric Phase II Project.
The Major Electric Phase II Project constructing a new 138KV transmission line to improve the capacity of the City’s distribution system. This line will originate at Ameren’s ring-bus located on Il. Route 4 and will connect to the proposed new North Substation.
The bid was approved for $711,450.00 from ROHN Products. This project will be paid for with the Electric Phase II bank loan.
The Council also approved the purchase of additional materials for the Electric Phase II Project from Fletcher Reinhardt of Bridgeton, MO, in the amount of $ $117,181.00. This project will also be paid for with the Electric Phase II bank loan.
• Councilmen approved a change order for construction of the Mascoutah STP Facility Improvement Project.
According to the report, construction has been progressing well but several items have been discovered deviating from the original approved plans in April 2021. In August 2022, a change order of $119,259.22 was approved. A second request is now needed in the amount of $106,878.00.
Consulting engineer Horner & Shifrin has agreed to pay for the increases in cost for material and labor that occurred since the project was bid in April 2021 which amounts to a maximum of $12,432.92.
Councilman Battas asked why items were overlook.
City Engineer Tom Quirk said it was a variety of small items and yes, they were unfortunately overlooked.
Battas said he has talked to other towns and “they didn’t have these types of overlooks. It’s not good.”
Council Jack Weyant agreed. “The cost keeps increasing. I’m not happy about it. I know it needs to be done; we are deep into it. I’m not happy with the installation.”
• The council approved the preliminary plat for Prairie Lakes subdivision with approval of the required variances.
The property is presently unaddressed but it located along the east side 6th Street just south of the intersection of Douglas Street and 6th Street. There will be 90 lots comprised of 8,000 to 10,000 square feet and approximately 115 lots comprised of 10,000 square feet.