The Hoopeston City Council discussed the city’s warming center policy during Tuesday’s meeting.
During the mayor’s comment section of the meeting, Mayor Jeff Wise asked what the city’s policy on opening a warming center during cold weather.
Wise said he had received a question about the issue in connection with the city’s homeless population.
“I know we have a homeless problem in Hoopeston,” Wise said. “The city council, we’re limited on what we can do about some things. There was a question brought up to me and I said I’d talk about it.”
Wise said he knows the city has a cooling center during extreme heat in the summer, but asked if the city had a warming center for times of extreme cold.
Wise was informed that the city does have a warming center at city hall that has been activated in the past.
Wise said Thursday night was supposed to get really cold and asked what temperature the city considers cold enough to open the warming center.
He asked if the city had a policy that determined the specific temperature that it opened the warming center. He asked if the temperature considered the wind chill or was just based on the raw air temperature.
None of the council members had an answer on the specifics of the policy and Wise suggested that a new policy with specifics be drawn up to provide concrete answers in the future.
Alderwoman Kellie Ferrell said she feels that the warming center should be opened anytime the temperature drops below freezing.
Wise asked what committee that policy would fall under and Brad Hardcastle, Hoopeston Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) Director, said it fell under HEMA’s purview.
Wise asked Hardcastle to write something up regarding the warming center so the city has something official go on.
Hardcastle said the policy would be a part of the city’s emergency operation plan.
He said HEMA is in the process of updating that plan, so now would be a good time to update the policy.
Hardcastle said it is no problem to open the warming center at city hall on Thursday if the temperatures drop.
He said opening the center just involves unlocking the city hall doors and the doors to the council chamber and leaving the lights on.
In an unrelated discussion, Wise announced that he was resigning from his Ward II alderman seat.
Doing so, Wise said, will allow him to serve as mayor, rather than acting mayor, until the 2023 municipal election.
He said he will be looking for applicants to fill the Ward II seat.
Wise said anyone interested in filling the position should contact him and apply.
He said whoever is appointed to the position will serve for a little over a year and then need to decide whether they want to run for a term of their own.
Wise said he has had a few people apply already, but he encourages anyone interested to reach out to him.
He said he would like to have the position filled as soon as possible.
In other business:
- Alderwoman Lourdine Florek reported on changes the Environmental Protection Agency is making regarding phosphate levels for wastewater treatment systems.
She said the city will need to have a consultant come in and look at the city’s system to see how they can comply with these new changes.
Florek said she wants to go with Fehr-Graham engineers of Champaign to develop a plan to handle the changes.
She said this plan is due to the EPA in April.
Florek said one of the engineers with the company was involved with designing and constructing the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
She said the engineer will work closely with John McBride, owner of ERH Enterprises, which the city contracts to handle the wastewater treatment plant.
Florek said she will present the council with a motion to vote on regarding the consultant during the next council meeting.
- Wise reminded city residents to be aware of snow routes and to be ready to move their cars off of the snow routes should the city experience a heavy snowfall.
“When snow routes get activated, we’ll do our best to contact everybody and get the cars off the street,” he said.
Wise said the city is going to look into methods to send out notices to city residents when snow routes are activated.
“We’ll try and figure something out,” he said.
- Wise informed the council of a request from Henning and Potomac to utilize Hoopeston’s Municipal Court system to prosecute ordinance violations.
Wise said these ordinance violations were previously handled through Danville’s municipal court, but the city terminated its municipal court agreements with the smaller communities surrounding it at the start of the year.
He said Danville’s agreement with the communities allowed the communities to keep the money generated by fines while the court fees went to the city.
Wise, who pointed out that he had only received the request shortly prior to Tuesday’s meeting, asked the council if there were any objections to the idea and, hearing none, said he would look into it further.
- The council officially named Alderman Bob Porth as the city’s TIF Administrator.
Porth replaces former alderman, Bill Goodwine, who served as TIF Administrator in his capacity as finance committee chairman.
Wise said the council was supposed to officially name a new administrator after Goodwine’s term expired and inform the state of the change.
He said they needed to make the change official during Tuesday’s meeting before informing the state.