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Joliet council approves pact with Forest Preserve, Shorewood for public bikeway

Trails joining the City of Joliet to the Village of Shorewood will soon connect after Joliet council action taken at their March 7 meeting to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Forest Preserve District of Will County and Shorewood for a public bikeway

In a 7-0 vote, the council approved the agreement. Councilman John Gerl abstained.

“[City Manager] Jim [Hock], good job on that,” Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said. “A lot of people have been clambering for this for a long time.”

The pact outlines plans to construct a 10-foot wide multi-use trail along Black Road between Addleman Street and the DuPage River access in Hammel Woods allowing the project to connect the Rock Run Greenway Trail to the DuPage River Trail.

The agreement in place secures the right-of-way necessary for construction and is required to be approved by the end of June to conform with the timeline set for submitting the final plan.

Hock gave credit to the Forest Preserve for putting the application together to get the project rolling.

“The city will be reviewing the [pre-final construction] plans by the end of April,” he said. They’ll be submitted to IDOT for their review in June.”

The funding for the public bikeway is to be accounted for beginning in September. It will depend on federal monies through the Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality Program and the Illinois Transportation Enhancement program providing 80 percent of the project’s cost, which amounts to $2,278,900. The remaining costs will rely on the Forest Preserve funding the local match in the amount of $569,700.

Construction is scheduled to begin in March and conclude by November 2018.

Joliet mayor granted emergency power to suspend licenses to operate business

Also at that meeting, Joliet officials approved the creation of a new mayoral authority to suspend licenses restricting business operation in emergency type situations.

In two separate votes, the city approved the amendment of municipal codes and regulations. The council unanimously agreed to authorize this new authority, with the exception being councilman Pat Mudron who cast one lone dissenting vote and another for approval.

“I don’t think it opens us up for litigation,” Mudron said. “I don’t see that we had special hearings before on this other than once.”

The matter was last discussed during a March 1 meeting of the Land Use and Legislative committee.

The new power is to be authorized for mayoral use upon consultation with the city’s legal correspondent.

New rule intends to curve absenteeism among city council members

The council moved forward with new rules suggested by Joliet councilwoman Jan Quillman to address absenteeism among city officials.

The new measure stipulates that no council member can be compensated if five or more regular or combined Tuesday city council meetings are missed within a 52-week period.

The way the ordinance is currently written doesn’t enumerate when to start or stop enforcing the measure.

Quillman questioned what is the best way to implement the new city rule.

“Did we decide when the 52-week [period] starts?” she asked.

Quillman made a suggestion to implement the new rule starting in May and ending in April to coincide with the council terms.

City Attorney Marty Shannahon agreed saying that it would be easier for accounting purposes.

Councilman Pat Mudron said he holds some concern for the measure the city is implementing.

“I think it should start when you miss your first meeting,” he said. “If you get five from there whenever it was the first meeting, my five should start right then.”

Quillman countered his statement saying that rule, if approved, wouldn’t go far enough to protect taxpayer money.

Mudron questioned why the council should implement this new measure.

“I don’t see anybody here who missed any meetings to speak of,” he said. “So in that respect, why do we need the… new rule?”

Quillman said for the last 30 years, there have been people who have missed a lot of meetings. That is something she hopes to prevent, she said.

“I’m not talking about this present council, I’m talking about future councils,” she said.

Joliet identifies streets for inclusion in deteriorated roadway resurfacing program

The City of Joliet is looking to resurface a round of deteriorated streets in 2017.

“Because of good management both on the city’s side as well as the contractor’s side from 2016 we were able to carry over about $585,000 from last year to this year, “ councilman Larry Hug said. “We added that to the $960,000 that was budgeted.”

That places Joliet in a position to resurface 48 streets.

“Just like we ended last year with some savings and were able to do more streets when we finished phase I—as we call it—over the summer, and if comes in under budget, we’ll be doing more streets,” Hug said.

Hug gave credit to the public works department for their work to improve the city’s infrastructure.

“It is well-represented throughout the city,” he said.

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