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New alderman wants to continue to mow lawn

Council must vote on continued employment

MORRISON – The City Council will discuss, and possibly vote on, an ordinance that allows the continued employment of newly elected alderman David Helms as a lawn mower for the city at its meeting tonight.

Before his election in April, Helms mowed the lawn at the sports complex. State law allows an alderman to have a contracted position with the city if certain requirements are met: a majority of the council must approve the contract, the contract must not pay more than $2,000 a year, the alderman must publicly disclose the conflict of interest before or during deliberations, and the alderman must not vote on his contract.

The ordinance allows Helms to continue to work for the city for up to $2,000.

“It’s one of those gray areas,” Alderwoman Marti Wood said. “He likes to do it. He does a good job and everything, but what if you get someone asking for the same privileges who does not do a good job? It would just have to be on case by case. I don’t know if they’re planning on setting a precedent.”

Helms did not return a call seeking comment.

The council also might vote on extending the contract time with Chicago-based Baxter & Woodman Inc., the engineering firm handling its water system improvements. The firm is asking for the contract to be extended from May 30 to July 3. The change order, if approved, will not add costs to the project. The original contract time was to end in January 2012.

The firm is asking for more time because the Peru-based utility company DJ Sickley Construction Co. Inc. has delayed the abandonment of service to a well, according to the change order.

The council also may vote on a partial payment of $66,228.64 to Sickley for work on a different well.

Baxter & Woodman will give a presentation at the meeting, Wood said.

The council also will have a closed session in which members will discuss the purchase or lease of property. No further information was available Friday.

To attend

The Morrison City Council meeting begins at 7 tonight in room 400 of the Whiteside County Courthouse, 400 N. Cherry St. Agendas are available at or at City Hall, 200 W. Main St., 815-772-7657.

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