South Beloit City Council gets down to business
By Margaret Downing
At the Feb. 4 South Beloit City Council, commissioners dealt with a number of issues:
A resolution for engineering services with Fehr Graham Engineering, and an ordinance relating to alcoholic beverages were laid over until the Feb. 18 council meeting.
A special use permit allowing a banquet hall/facility in a commercial retail zoning district in the 1200 block of Shirland Ave. was approved.
Chaplain Dan Herman was sworn in and is now the official chaplain for the city assisting the police and fire departments when needed. Rev. Herman is the pastor at the Old Stone Church in Rockton.
The “fifth Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Loan Disbursement” request amounting to $465,930 was approved.
An Ordinance amendment to certain provisions of the City of South Beloit Employee Handbook relating to military leave was okayed, along with an amendment to employee reimbursement of expenses incurred during employment with the city.
Revisions were approved “revising employment offer letters to Mike Murphy, Public Works Supervisor, and to City Clerk/HR Director Tracy Patrick.
Fire Chief Mike Davenport gave his bi-weekly fire department report covering the time period from Jan. 21 to Feb. 3, in which the department responded to five structure fires (one in Loves Park, two to West Suburban, and one each to Orfordville and South Beloit).
A total of 32 medical responses, two auto accidents, two public service calls, one natural gas leak call, two carbon monoxide calls, and four automatic alarm calls were also reported.
Davenport noted that on January 18, the department received a call concerning a commercial fire at Axium Foods, 239 Oak Grove, saying “While enroute, (Police Chief) Hoey advised via radio that he was on the scene and that black smoke was visible from a rooftop ventilation unit and advised that evacuation was in progress.
“At this time, I requested an engine from the Rockton Fire Protection District to assist. First arriving crews located the fire to be in a ventilation stack from one of the ovens and were ale to remove the ceiling area around the stack and extinguish the fire.”
No dollar amount for loss and damage had yet been received from Axium Foods as of Feb. 4.
In other fire department information, Davenport reported that “due to the severe cold weather, we did have a few valves and a water line on Engine 34 freeze while on a CO alarm, which caused damage to the valves and a cracked pipe in the pump.” As of Feb. 4, Davenport was still waiting for a rough cost on repair estimates.
Of interest to area residents, Davenport said it was brought to his attention that some residents had received calls from an organization called “Fire and EMS Fund” that claimed to be raising funds on behalf of firefighters for legislative issues. When questioned, the callers were not able to answer how this was helping local fire departments. He said, “The South Beloit Fire Department is part of no such fund and does not solicit funds by phone. While talking with other area fire chiefs from nearby communities, they have also been notified of this situation and are not part of any such fund.”
On Police Chief Patrick Hoey’s report, he noted that officers drove 11,700 miles during January, made 14 arrests and transported those prisoners to jail, and also collected $2,195 in fines and fees.
Traffic citations are up 79 percent compared to January 2018, and 118 citations and 42 warnings were issued last month.
Hoey said he was able to secure a donation from Country Financial for “a moving radar unit and a portable breath testing device at a cost of $1,700.”
He was notified too that a grant request he had submitted to the Office of Justice Programs for bullet proof vests, which was okayed and paid total $1,324.75. The vests were purchased in 2018.
Hoey will next be applying for another grant “for dash cameras through the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. Last year we received just over $14,000 to cover the expenses of three dash cameras.”
Hoey went to explain “I also submitted a grant request to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for the ‘Fiscal Year 2020 Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP). This grant will cover overtime costs from November 2019 to June 2020 in the amount of $14,612, which includes $1,300 for a new radar unit. “
Additionally, Hoey also previously applied for a $1,400 grant for this April’s distracted driving enforcement.

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