Waste Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Jake Kinkade addressed the Pontiac City Council prior to its meeting Tuesday regarding plans that are needed to be implemented at the facility.
The council also heard from the new Livingston County Veterans Assistance Director Michael Haerr, accepted a new council member and decided to spend some money at the board’s first meeting of September, held at the Eagle Theater.
Kinkade pointed out that this meeting was a formality that needed to be done to satisfy legal requirements. He explained permits are issued the waste water treatment plant is directed by an NES permit that is issued by the Illinois EPA. It defines the parameters and principles that need to be followed at the plant.
I noticed that every five years, the permit is tweaked and adjusted based on new criteria, information, etc.
Part of the permit issued Jan. 1, 2022, was to update a Combined Sewer Overflow Operation and Maintenance plan and a Pollution Prevention Plan. I said the current plans were more than 20 years old, so, with Farnsworth Group engineers, they updated the CSO plan. Kinkade added that he started a new pollution prevention plan from scratch.
A question that Kinkade might be raised is if this covers the entire city. It does not, he said these permits are for the treatment and sewer system in town.
“We are required to, once we complete these within nine months of issuance of the permit, to host a public information meeting to answer any questions and jot down any comments or concerns from the general public to submit to IEPA,” Kinkade said. Tuesday’s gathering was that meeting.
“I feel this plan should carry us into the next 20-year period,” Kinkade added.
Once the regular meeting began, the council met Director Haerr. Haerr is a veteran of the Illinois National Guard and Reserves, having served actively for 33 years.
In discussing the purpose of what he does, Haerr commented on the shabby welcoming many Vietnam veterans received when they came home.
“I wasn’t there to see how you guys were welcomed home but I’ve heard plenty of stories that it wasn’t much of a welcome,” Haerr said. “The country owes you a debt of honor.”
I discussed what the Veterans Assistance Program can do to help veterans, particularly Vietnam vets.
“The good news I bring you today is that the 2022 PACT Act was passed in (August),” Haerr said. “What the PACT Act does for our Vietnam veterans is to make it easier for those suffering from a wide variety of medical issues that were probably created by exposure to Agent Orange … will now be covered for them. It reduces the standard of evidence the VA has to abide by to allow veterans to receive medical care and the compensation due to exposure.
“This PACT Act is for veterans that were deployed or veterans that may have been exposed to chemicals … that have some serious side affects.”
In an effort to help promote better health for veterans, Haerr said that there will be an informational breakfast by the Livingston County Board and the commission on Nov. 12 at the Armory. This is designed to help veterans who are in need of mental health support but seem embarrassed in doing so.
“It’s awfully easy to ask for a student loan, it’s awfully easy to ask for a home loan through the VA, but probably the most important thing they need to ask for first is to help get their mind right and be able to take advantage of everything they sacrificed for overseas,” Haerr said.
In the business portion of the meeting, City Administrator Jim Woolford explained that the city had loaned the theater owners money in the past and that payments were made until the loan was at $12,500. The city then forgave the rest of the loan.
A problem came up when a program the theater owners — Crescent Cinema LLC — required full repayment of the loan. A new process was created where the city will grant the $12,500 to the theater owners to be used to repay the loan.
Also, the city will grant a loan of $12,500 at a rate of 0 (zero) percent interest to be repaid over a five-year period. The payments are deferred until until Jan. 1, 2024, with payments beginning Feb. 1, 2024.
The council approved this plan.
The council also wants to purchase a new copier for City Hall, trees to be planted around the city and a new fuel system for city vehicles.
The city council has been running one alderman short for some time. Curt Myers resigned over the summer due to health reasons, and he had missed a number of meetings prior to his resignation because of the health issues.
Mayor Bill Alvey brought forth Maggie Clark as a candidate to fulfill the term of Myers in the Ward 4. Clark, an attorney, was accepted unanimously. She will share Ward 4 representation duties with Jayme Bradshaw.
In another position filled, Tim Fogarty was voted by the council to fill the vacancy on the Planning and Zoning Board.