City Council approves dispatch center, South Jax water-sewer, 117 SRO contract, dog park proposal

By Gary Scott on October 27, 2015 at 8:18am

Jacksonville City Council members have indicated they’re officially on board with a combined dispatch center in Morgan County.

Aldermen passed a resolution of support at last night’s City Council meeting for the idea, which would combine Passavant Area Hospital, Morgan County and Jacksonville Police dispatch units into one.

Public Protection Committee Chairman Tony Williams said, “We need to get behind this.”

Mayor Andy Ezard says the vote moves the city forward into planning, and notes the Morgan County Emergency Services Department has worked very hard on the project.

“This really just rubber-stamps that the city is 100 percent behind this project for all of our citizens and our community and this region for better service as far as dispatching, and if it saves one life, it’s worth the money that we’re going to spend,” Ezard says.

“By us taking the lead on support, I think you’ll see the follow-through with the county commissioners next, or we’re very hopeful of that. But, we really want to get this going in 2016, and I think there’s a lot of work to be done, there’s a lot of numbers to be crunched as far as who’s paying for what,” he adds.

Also, aldermen approved the first reading of an ordinance approving a contract for emergency water services and a wastewater service agreement between the City of Jacksonville and the Village of South Jacksonville.

Ezard says the city has been in negotiations for several years with the former and present South Jacksonville administration on what will be a ten-year deal.

“The residents of South Jacksonville will pay approximately five percent more than Jacksonville residents for us to treat their sewage. I know in the past, there was a lot of discussion with the council members that maybe it should have gone higher than five percent, but I think the current council adapted the five-percent rate as good enough,” Ezard explains.

“We want to be good neighbors with the village residents.”

Aldermen passed a resolution approving three-year contracts with Jacksonville School District 117 for two School Resource Officers. The city currently sends one officer to Jacksonville High School; the second would split time between Turner Junior High School and the city’s parks and lakes.

City Council passed a resolution awarding a bid to Cloyd Builders of New Berlin for constructing a new bath house and concessions building at Lake Jacksonville.

Aldermen approved a proposal for the University of Illinois to develop a conceptual master plan for the city’s new dog park based on the Bark For Your Park contest that Jacksonville won earlier this year.

Jacksonville will pay the U of I $5,500 before getting reimbursed from PetSafe, the company that sponsored the contest.

Alderman Steve Warmowski stressed to fellow council members that no city money is being spent on the dog park beyond what the city will be reimbursed for through the Bark For Your Park $100,000 prize money.