Anna City Council covers wide range of topics at regular meeting
Renaming of a street to honor a military hero’s service, recruitment of volunteer firefighters, cemetery preservation, a hiring policy and a revised burn ordinance were among the topics discussed at last week’s regular meeting of the Anna City Council.
The meeting was Tuesday evening, June 21, at Anna City Hall.
Renaming of Street
A proposal was presented and will move forward on the renaming of a street in honor of the late Illinois Army National Guard Sgt. Brian Romines.
City council member Martha Ann Webb proposed the naming of a street in honor of Sgt. Romines.
The street which is to be named in his honor is located at the city’s business park, which is in east Anna, along Illinois Route 146.
State Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, and State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, partnered together to pass Illinois House Joint Resolution 42, which honored the life, service and sacrifice of fallen Illinois Army National Guard Sgt. Romines.
The resolution renamed the section of Illinois Route 146 between Anna and Vienna as the “Sergeant Brian Romines Memorial Highway.”
Sgt. Brian Romines, of Simpson, and formerly of Anna, lost his life serving in Iraq on June 6, 2005.
Plans for preservation work in the old section of the Anna Cemetery were discussed at the meeting.
City employee Tom Caldwell attended a recent workshop about cemetery restoration which was presented by the Illinois Departent of Natural Resources.
Caldwell, who is a certified arborist, has been involved in the city’s ongoing Tree City USA efforts.
Concerns about the status of the old section of the cemetery, which dates back 150 years, have been addressed at previous city council meetings.
The city will take steps to move forward on restoration efforts. The process will include attempting to find, and notify, family members of those who are buried in the old section of the cemetery.
A proposed revised municipal burn ordinance was the focus of extensive discussion during the meeting. The ordinance was drafted by city attorney John Foley.
Several council members voiced concerns about some of the wording in the draft document.
Mayor Hartline made his thoughts about the issue clear. “I don’t think there should be any burning in the city. Period,” he said.
The mayor asked council members to review the proposed ordinance and present concerns which they may have.
Concerns about the Anna Fire Department’s ongoing need for volunteer firefighters were addressed at the meeting.
The matter surfaced following a recent fire which occurred in Anna. No volunteer firefighters from Anna were available to respond to the call. The Jonesboro and Cobden fire departments responded.
In related business, council member Bryan Miller said he would be taking steps to become a volunteer firefighter. In his role on the council, Miller oversees public safety, which includes the fire department. Should he become a firefighter, Miller said he would abstain on votes related to the department.
Anna Fire Department Chief Mike Dammerman, who was present at the meeting, welcomed Miller’s willingness to serve as a volunteer firefighter.
Dammerman again noted that it is challenging for the department to find people who are willing to serve as volunteer firefighters.
“We don’t have people knocking down the door to join the fire department,” Dammerman said.
The fire chief said that he was open to suggestions regarding ways to boost recruitment efforts.
The mayor advised Miller to move forward by going through the application process which is required for volunteer firefighters.
Miller said he would donate the $25 which firefighters receive for responding to a call to the Shop with Firefighter/Cop program.
The council’s adopting of a hiring policy resolution was the focus of a lengthy discussion. The policy was drafted by city administrator Dori Bigler.
Council member Michael Bigler voiced concerns about some of the wording in the resolution. Bigler said he wants to see a policy in place which would prevent favoritism from playing a role in the hiring of city personnel. He also was concerned that hiring was being taken out of the hands of management.
Mayor Hartline made a motion to adopt the resolution. The proposal passed on a roll call vote by a 4-1 margin. Council member Bigler cast the lone dissenting vote.
In other business at last week’s meeting:
Plans for improvements at ball fields at the Anna City Park are moving forward. Work is planned this summer at Denny and E fields at the park. It is hoped that water drainage issues at Kiwanis Field at the park also can be addressed.
The council approved a special event liquor license for Anna-Jonesboro Elks Lodge No. 1641. The license is for an event which is planned by the lodge on July 23.