City purchases dump truck, abates taxes

Cassie Buchman, City Editor

The Charleston City Council voted to accept a state bid to purchase a new dump truck, abate several taxes and to pass a tolling agreement at its meeting Tuesday.

Charleston had funds invested in companies associated with the Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund (IMET).

IMET makes sure all investments made are insured so the company would be able to pay it off in case of instances such as bankruptcy.

Mayor Larry Rennels said one investment firm “wasn’t playing by the rules” and some funds were in question.

At one of the places Charleston invested in, the CEO was indicted for fraud.

Rennels said the law gave the city a certain amount of time to file for legal action. He said he hoped it would not have to go that far, however.

“This is the first time we’ve run into a problem like this,” Rennels said. “We’ve been lucky.”

The council also voted to approve a tolling agreement that gives the city legal recourse in recovering the funds and preserves their legal standing to do that if they are not successful.

The council also approved a resolution to abate the taxes from 2014.

The city issued a $6,140,000 bond for a water treatment plant in 2003.

City Manager R. Scott Smith said the city borrowed $9 million to pay for the plant.

“Instead of using the property tax to pay off the debt, we agreed to use the water sewer fund to pay,” Smith said.

The city still has the ability to tax the public and use property taxes to pay off the debt, but it promised the residents they would not have to do that.

In order to not use property taxes, Charleston goes through an annual legal process. They give notice to the county, telling them they will not be asking for additional taxes.

The city made the same promise and goes through a similar process with the Rotary Pool.

Council members voted to abate the taxes for another year for the pool as well.

For the Rotary Pool, the money for the debts will come out of the general fund.

An item the council voted to accept was the state bid for the purchase of a new dump truck.

Rennels said the city had one dump truck break in October.

“It needed more repairs than it was worth,” he said.

The state sells bids for different vehicles, such as dump trucks or any vehicles states of municipalities might need.

There are currently other bids on the dump truck.

The city of Charleston will buy the dump truck if it is available, if the vehicle is fully equipped for what the city requires, and if enough funds are leftover from the general fund to purchase it.

The 2014 International 7400 Dump Truck will cost $121,735 and will have a snowplow.

The mayor also announced the re-appointment of Nora Pat Small to a one-year term as ex officio member of the Charleston Historic Preservation Commission.

A $3,870 grant was given for educational material, and Small was the one who did the work to apply and get the grant.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].