DANVILLE — With so many events city and countywide being canceled with the coronavirus this year, Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said he’s looking into the city putting on a fireworks display this summer.
It’d be something great for the community, city officials agreed, when an alderman asked about any fireworks permits for the Fourth of July.
Reopening businesses and workplaces, including city buildings, will slowly be starting in the next two weeks, but Williams also expressed concerns about youths not having programs throughout the summer.
Williams went over plans to slowly get back to normal, with the coronavirus pandemic and under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s phased plan for Illinois, at Tuesday night’s Danville City Council meeting.
Williams said working from home will end for city employees on June 1. City staff will return to working at city buildings normal hours, but the buildings won’t yet be open to the public.
He said they are still working on plans to open to the public, with buildings planned to be open on a regular basis on June 29.
He’s also hoping to have regular in person city council council meetings start back at city hall on July 7.
Williams said if businesses open prior to phased state allowances, they can be shut down by the health department or state and have their licenses suspended or revoked.
The state’s regions are expected to move to Phase 3 in reopening May 29, Williams said. This means there can be gatherings of 10 people or less, beauty salons can be opened on a limited basis, in addition to some retail opportunities.
However, bars and restaurants will still be closed to only curbside or pick up, he added, saying that sporting events, gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, playgrounds, youth programs and the city swimming pool also cannot be open yet.
“That gives me a lot of concern not only for us, but for others,” Williams said, about youth programs including with Project Success, Boys & Girls Club, YMCA and Laura Lee Fellowship House.
He said these programs serve about 600 youths every summer. There will be a bunch of youths with nothing to do.
“That’s greatly concerning to me,” Williams said.
About a month later, at the end of June, Phase 4 reopening plans in Illinois would allow gatherings of 50 or fewer people, limited personal care business openings, gyms, barber shops, nail salons etc. and limited openings of theaters, bars and restaurants and retail businesses, youth development and summer programs and day care and recreation opportunities.
Williams said most church congregations still wouldn’t be able to meet.
It’s been discussed that it wouldn’t be until toward the end of July or after, when the state could get to Phase 5 of everything being open.
“We’ve received news this is unlikely to happen,” Williams said about Phase 5 by July, saying that some say the state is likely not to reach this stage until January 2021.
Williams said that’s “completely unacceptable.”
Williams said the city’s current plan is to have municipal band concerts start June 28 on Sundays in the summer. Doc Ashton and the Root Canals will be returning Sunday nights through August at Lincoln Park.
The Garfield Park Swimming Pool is slated to have a later opening date too.
Danville Mass Transit Director Lisa Beith said they are planning to return to full bus service on June 1, except for the Danville to Champaign route. They will continue not collecting fares.
The council also heard audience comments from Pat Cahill, owner of Cahill’s Family Restaurant, and Ryan Quick, owner of Charlotte’s restaurant, about the sacrifices businesses have had to undertake and how they just want to reopen.
In other coronavirus funding news, Police Chief Chris Yates talked about an approximately $120,000 coronavirus grant for police overtime, equipment and supplies for the police department. It’s a 100 percent grant, with no matching funds needed.
In other business, the council approved:
— An intergovernmental agreement with the Danville Sanitary District to increase sewer capacity for future Lynch Road development. The city and sanitary district will split the estimated $1.2 million cost to increase the 12-inch sanitary sewer line to an 18-inch line to serve the Eastgate area. Williams said it’s been a “no growth area” north of the Interstate 74 and Lynch Road intersection.
— Purchasing property of a dedication of right of way and temporary construction easement at 1301 N. Jackson for $500 from Kent and Joan Janesky for the Jackson and Voorhees streets intersection alignment.
— Authorizing application for the Rebuild Illinois fast-track public infrastructure grant through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, authorizing budget amendment for the Rebuild Illinois funds and authorizing submittal of application for public transportation capital assistance grant under the Illinois Department of Transportation.
— Authorizing the disposal of 13 police vehicles dating back to 2003. The city will seek bids.
— Authorizing budget amendments in health insurance for the police division due to a grievance negotiation resulting is $30,000 coming out of the city’s general fund reserves to reimburse active police officers for out-of-pocket health insurance differences between 2017 and 2018; and in the fire division to repair the communication system at a cost of $7,500 which also comes from the city’s general fund reserve.
— Authorizing application for Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) for COVID-19 personal protective equipment.
— Amending the wage administration chart to reflect 2 percent non-union city employee wage increases, except for a few positions. Alderman Rick Strebing asked about keeping the salaries the same with everything that’s been going on with the coronavirus. Williams said the city already budgeted for the salary increases. He also said he wasn’t concerned about the $2 million in revenue budgeted for the casino in the city’s next fiscal year budget, saying the funding was not going to obligations, but to pay off loans and debt early, such as additional pension payments. He said the city is in better shape than what it might appear.
Salary increases for 2020-2021, in which the city’s fiscal year started May 1, include:
• Public Works Director Carl Carpenter, $84,561 to $86,252.
• City Comptroller Ashlyn Massey, $80,000. The former comptroller’s salary was $99,845.
• Corp. Counsel Chuck Mockbee IV, $85,680. The former salary was $100,859.
• Public Transportation Director Lisa Beith, $71,765 to $73,201.
• City Clerk Lisa Monson, $60,182 to $61,386.
• Police Chief Chris Yates, $125,000 to $127,500.
• City Engineer Sam Cole, $115,000 to $117,300.
• Information Technology Administrator Agnel D’Silva, $87,775 to $89,530.
• Construction and Maintenance Manager David Ruwe, $95,509 to $97,419.
• Superintendent of Parks and Public Property Steve Lane, $67,087 to $68,429.
• Assistant City Engineer Eric Childers, $88,740 to $90,515.
• GIS Coordinator Adam Aull, $63,392 to $68,392.
• Program Compliance Coordinator Tracy Craft, $59,687 to $65,880.
• Human Relations Administrator Sandra Finch, $61,120 to $62,342.
• Golf Course Manager Brock Burton, $60,000 to $61,200.