Chrisman mayor: Derelict houses go

CHRISMAN – A brief Chrisman City Council meeting Monday, June 4, touched on several issues.

Mayor Dan Owen questioned city attorney Rich Kash regarding the city’s ability to demolish several buildings that are deteriorated to the point of falling down.

“I don’t know if we can go after them for safety,” said Owen.

Kash explained the best approach is for the city to wait until the properties are listed on the county tax sale and then buy them. As the legal owner, the city can raze the buildings without any complications. Attempting to demolish a building without ownership gets into a legal process of condemnation and property rights issues that can end up with court challenges.

Water superintendent Matt Shelato reported the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently did an inspection at the water treatment building

“It was the first one since 2013, and they did a walk around inspection,” said Shelato.

The inspection resulted in three must-do projects and a list of suggestions. 

Shelato said the must-do list is small and for the most part relatively easy to address. He noted the city was dinged for not having safety glasses or face shields available in the building. 

“I usually have a supply there but for some reason they were missing,” Shelato said.

The mandate to install a door equipped with an interior panic bar or crash door latch to the chlorine room seemed unnecessary to Commissioner Rick Jenness. He noted the current door does not lock except by an exterior pad lock so there is no risk of anybody getting trapped inside.

Shelato replied he made the same argument to the inspector, but it was an unsuccessful effort.

The final requirement for a cross-connection survey involves more effort than the other two.

According to Shelato, the survey involves obtaining information from at least 50 percent of the city residents regarding plumbing in their homes and water usage. 

The final topic for Shelato’s report dealt with residents’ complaints about yellow water. He explained the problem resulted from putting a heavy concentration of chlorine in the tanks to combat the iron and arsenic in the raw well water. The minerals bound with the chlorine and passed through the filter instead of dropping out, resulting in the yellow color.

Shelato said a new treatment process should reduce the discoloration.

Fire Chief Mike Marvin discussed a problem with a dry hydrant located on Washington Street, near Centennial Park. The hydrant is there to draw water from the North Fork of Brouilletts Creek, if needed for fire fighting purposes.

The problem, Marvin said, is mud collects at the hydrant site, which requires frequent cleaning to keep it in service for emergency use. He proposed moving the hydrant closer to the creek at a spot near the pedestrian bridge. Some design changes should eliminate the mud problem and ease the maintenance issues.

Marvin said the fire protection district will pay to relocate the hydrant but did ask if the city can help by providing a city employee and backhoe to assist with the excavation. 

“He’s available when you need him,” Owen told the chief.

The Prairie Press

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