Urbana City Council’s decision on Tuesday to establish the Cemetery Improvement Fund for Oak Dale Cemetery will allow individuals to donate money for specific purposes or for general improvements at the city-owned cemetery.
Director of Administration Kerry Brugger said the Oak Dale Cemetery Board, established in April 2016, informed the administration it had received inquiries from people interested in donating money to the cemetery, but didn’t want the money earmarked for the Perpetual Care Trust Fund.
The problem some donors have with this particular fund, Brugger said, is that the only money the city can use from the trust fund toward cemetery infrastructure and beautification is the income generated from interest on the account. With a balance of roughly $80,000, a 1 percent interest rate in a given year would generate only $800 in usable income.
He added the Cemetery Improvement Fund, however, will enable 100 percent of the donated funds to go toward improving the cemetery, not just the interest accrued.
According to the language in the ordinance, funds in the Cemetery Improvement Fund “shall be used primarily for the purpose of capital improvements and purchases, or any specific project specified by a donor upon approval by the Oak Dale Cemetery Board.”
“We do have a couple people who have donated some money they would like to use for a specific project or specific purpose,” Brugger said.
The measure also mentions the fund “shall not be used for operational costs or routine services.”
Director of Finance Chris Boettcher, who will control the fund and disburse its funds upon written requisition from Brugger, told council, “I think this item is a good thing because we do have people who want to make donations to Oak Dale Cemetery. This is an avenue for them to do that and make a difference out there.”
Council approves truck purchase
The Urbana Fire Division’s current 2001 Ford F350 utility truck, which was bought used from Home Depot and currently has over 109,000 miles on it, will be replaced with a new 2017 GMC Sierra 3500 heavy duty truck with accessories after council signed off on the nearly $49,000 purchase.
The truck itself will be purchased from Trenor Motors for $34,401, while outfitting the emergency vehicle with the necessary equipment and decals will add an additional $14,148.75 to the total cost. The purchase will be funded through the Capital Improvement – Police & Fire Tax Levy Fund.
Prior to council’s vote on the measure, Fire Chief Mark Keller said, “(The F350) has seen better days for emergency-type responses. We are in need of replacing it at this point.”
Keller added the F350 will be put into the city’s fleet to be used by another division for non-emergency purposes.
In other business:
•A first reading took place for an ordinance seeking to amend the city’s official zoning map by rezoning eight parcels in the North Main St./Fyffe Street area from a combination of R-2 Medium Density Residential and M-1 Manufacturing to M-1 Manufacturing as requested by city staff.
Community Development Manager Doug Crabill said the parcels, which include the Ultra-met manufacturing facility and the home used as the company’s corporate office, should all read M-1 on the official zoning map, but city staff discovered that isn’t the case, which brought forth the rezoning measure.
“There are definitely some errors in the map,” he said.
•Crabill reminded council and the public of an upcoming meeting concerning the Monument Square Roundabout Safety Improvements Project that will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in the fire training room at the municipal building.
Representatives from Burgess and Niple, the engineering consulting firm hired by the city to design improvements to the existing roundabout, will present the proposed changes and the proposed maintenance of traffic scheme that will be used during the construction phase.
•Council member Ray Piper informed administration that some residents in the Fourth Ward are concerned about drivers speeding in the 500 and 600 blocks of West Light Street. He also stated there is concern over drivers running the four-way stop at the intersection of West Light and North Russell streets.
•Due to the most recent spell of spring-like weather, the city’s compost facility on Muzzy Road will be opened through Saturday, Feb. 11, to allow residents to dispose of twigs and branches. Since no major storm has taken place recently, the Street Department won’t be picking up any yard debris.
•Champaign County Municipal Court Judge Gil S. Weithman swore in Josh Jacobs as the newest lieutenant with the Urbana Police Division.
•Council passed a resolution approving Mayor Bill Bean’s and Council President Marty Hess’ appointments to the local Tax Incentive Review Council. Bean appointed city residents Tom Coles and Pat Bass, while Hess appointed council member Eugene Fields.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.