Holts Summit announced Thursday that Ward 2 Alderman Charles Chamberlin had resigned due to recent health issues, leaving the seat vacant five months before it was to up for election in April.
Alderman Larry Fedorchalk was appointed as mayor pro tem, a position Chamberlin held.
Fedorchalk’s and Chamberlin’s former seats are the only two up for election in April. As of Thursday, Fedorchalk was the only person filed as a candidate.
During its meeting Thursday, the Board of Aldermen also gave the go ahead to continue the arrangement expanding the city’s police coverage to include New Bloomfield, approving a contract which would involve New Bloomfield paying $35,000 for the service.
New Bloomfield’s City Council will also have to pass the agreement for it to become official. Holts Summit Police Chief Kyle McIntyre said a meeting in New Bloomfield is planned today.
The original deal between the two cities started in June — following controversy over New Bloomfield’s handling of its then-unstaffed police force — and will expire at the end of this month.
As part of the arrangement, Holts Summit would patrol and respond to calls for service in New Bloomfield on a full-time bases. The contract does not require an officer to be present in New Bloomfield at all times.
The Holts Summit Police Department would also enforce New Bloomfield’s municipal codes and ordinances, with the responsibility of prosecuting any violations and income from fines going to New Bloomfield.
In addition to $35,000, New Bloomfield would turn over equipment formerly used by its police force to Holts Summit, including several firearms, animal control instruments, supplies and other personnel equipment.
“I think it’s fair,” McIntyre said. “I mean, it’s a little lower than what some people were thinking, but I think it’s fair.”
The current agreement cost New Bloomfield $20,000 for almost six months of service. McIntyre said the deal has cost Holts Summit approximately $7,000 so far, with the rest of December remaining. However, “one call can change everything,” and lead to much higher costs, he added.
New Bloomfield Alderwoman Martha Siegel said in an interview earlier this month, the city was studying its financial situation to determine if it could continue to afford the arrangement.
“To me, I don’t see how we cannot partner with them, Holts Summit, if we can at all afford to squeak by,” Siegel said at the time.
Holt Summit’s meeting Thursday also included the approval of the city’s 2019 budget and the passing of a new code of ordinances.
The budget included $7,009,476 in revenue and $6,968,660 in expenditures, projecting the city to end next year with a $40,816 net gain and $2,646,183 balance. City Administrator Matt Harline said the figures used the most conservative revenue and the most liberal expenditure estimates, so Holts Summit is likely to end with a higher net gain than projected.
Due to three large sewer renovation projects planned next year, including the multi-million dollar undertaking of connecting Holts Summit’s entire wastewater system, the sewer fund will be significantly larger than previous years. The sewer fund’s revenue will grow from $1,475,000 in 2018 to $4,377,000 in 2019, and the expenditures will increase from $1,009,423 to $4,134,008. The projects will mostly be funded by various grants.
The adoption of a new code of ordinances follows work with the organization Municode to update, reorganize and digitize Holts Summit’s municipal code. Harline said the changes made in the process included correcting errors, and eliminating redundancies or conflicting information. Any significant policy changes would have to be done separately.
The ordinance to adopt the new code passed 2-1. Fedorchalk voted “nay,” citing concerns over needed changes to existing rules. Harline said those changes can still be made after adoption as per the previous code.
The decision will make it possible to view Holts Summit’s code of ordinances online easily, Harline added.