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Alamo Council OK’s Strategic Planning Committee Ahead of City Hall Project

On January 19, Alamo Mayor Pamela Lee opened the City Council meeting with a moment of silence honoring Alamo Police Officer, Art Villegas. At age 59 and with 21 years of service in law enforcement, Villegas passed away on January 10 after battling COVID-19.

Villegas began his career in law enforcement in 2000 with the Lyons Police Department. After serving briefly with the Oak Park Police Department, he joined the Alamo Police Department in 2019. His funeral was held January 15 in Lyons. The City is still in the process of renovating the Old Recreation Department site and is awaiting news about a grant application that would fund these improvements. The site’s basketball courts have been cleared and are being rebuilt, and fencing around the courts will be installed soon. Other plans, for which the grant is intended, would further expand development at the site.

City Manager Jeffery Floyd presented to the Council a Property Maintenance Ordinance that will be reviewed by the Council and voted on in its February meeting. This ordinance provides a procedure “to declare as a public nuisance properties improperly maintained, procedures for hearings and appeals, abatement of the nuisance, and fines and penalties for violations of the ordinance.”

Also on the Council’s agenda was the recently approved 2021 Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant that will be used to repave and stripe the end of 1st Street and Lucille Avenue.

Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Patricia Woodard proposed the development of a Strategic Planning Committee to aid the Council in the enhancement of Alamo City Hall. The Council listed several reasons for future action, whether renovating or rebuilding City Hall: safety and security of City Hall and its employees; water damage; building sanitation (COVID-19) issues; building usage issues; the lack of handicapped accessibility; as well as the overall aesthetics of the building.

The proposal to establish this Strategic Planning Committee was approved and will consist of four citizens, two members of council, and the city manager. The committee will meet weekly or biweekly to develop a plan of action as to how these structural problems can best be resolved. Citizen members of the committee will be chosen through an application process and selected at the Council’s February meeting. Applications are available at City Hall.

The Council renewed the city’s contract with Republic Services for trash disposal. Due to the city’s inclusion of limbs and leaves in the aforementioned services, beginning February 1, the monthly rate will increase from $10.50 to $12.50. All leaves are required to be in trash bags or boxes, per the city ordinance.

Police Officer Ken Patel gave a report of the department’s December activities: the department responded to 344 calls; filed 15 incident reports; and issued 15 citations and three warnings, the fines for which amounted to $3,546.00. The proceeds from automated speed enforcement in the school zone amounted to $1,608.75. Officer Patel also expressed the department’s dire need for an additional full-time employee and a part-time employee. In other business, Paul Calhoun was approved to continue as City Court Judge.

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