The Watseka City Council made appointments and approved some expenditures at its December meeting.

A proposal to hire Nextsite for $8,000 per year for three years did not pass. Mayor John Allhands said the company would market the city for three years. If a company relocates to Watseka because of the marketing, the company would get another $4,350 per business.

Allhands said Watseka has “nothing as far as marketing right now.”

A couple of aldermen said they did not have the information about the company and did not want to vote on it at that time. Alderman Mark Garfield and Alderman Don Miller both abstained. Alderman Darrin Rushbrook voted no, saying he would like to see some success from the company first. Alderwoman Jenny Musk also voted no. Alderwoman Monna Ulfers was absent.

Garfield said if he could get the paperwork he would like to revisit the topic at a later date.

In another matter, the council voted to get 63 $50 gift cards from Berkot’s for city employees. Total cost is $3,150. The measure was approved 8-0.

The council also approved $204,436.50 for the Kay Street storm street project with Allhands noting that it is contingent on the city being able to use some American Rescue Plan funds. The council also approved a water main project and engineering that goes under the railroad tracks on North Street.

In another matter, the council approved Roger Dittrich’s reappointment to the Iroquois Memorial Hospital Board. He is appointed for a three-year term and has been on the board for 15 years. Also approved was the appointment of Kate Mueller to the Zoning Committee. This is a seven-year term.

The council also discussed how to proceed with employees who have been off for COVID. Musk noted that the city has not been asking for documentation yet they have been paying the employees who are off without them taking any medical or vacation time. Several aldermen noted that other businesses have been asking for documentation.

City attorney Joe Cainkar said that the federal law that required the business to pay is not longer in existence. “If they are telling you they have COVID you are going to want to see a negative test before they come back to work,” he said.

Cainkar asked that the council email him what has exactly been going on and he would investigate what needs to be done.

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