Chaney joins Chrisman city

Cory Chaney sworn into Chrisman City Council; Dolan replaces Hale as police chief

Posted Monday, September 28, 2020 8:15 am

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net

CHRISMAN — The first order of business at the Chrisman City Council meeting Monday, Sept. 21, was swearing in appointee Cory Chaney.

Chaney is filling the unexpired term of Tyler Alexander, who resigned from the city council in August after moving to Danville.

The council also accepted the resignation of Jordan Hale as part-time police chief Monday night. Hale was replaced with Tom Dolan when the council decided to make the police chief a full-time position.

In his report, Dolan told the council he has enrolled in the $1,500 transition course that is required when an officer moves from part-time to full-time. Prior to accepting the position at Chrisman, Dolan was a part-time officer at Ridge Farm.

“It used to be reimbursable,” Dolan said of the fee, adding he was told the state can no longer guarantee the city will get a refund.

Dolan reported making three major arrests involving two domestic batteries where the assailants were choking family members, and the third case was a Class X felony home invasion. He is also investigating a theft at the Dollar General Store.

The council instructed city attorney Robert Morris to draw up the paperwork needed to transfer ownership of a derelict house at 211 South Illinois. Commissioner Brian Haddix said the current owners offered to deed the property to the city in order to avoid paying taxes, and the goal of the city is to find money for razing the collapsing structure.

Haddix also discussed receiving a citizen complaint about homeless people living in a vacant house. He talked to the property owner who plans to cover the door with plywood to keep others from squatting in the house.

Commissioner Thad Crispin reported on the estimate for erecting a new pavilion shelter at Centennial Park to replace one that was structurally deficient. The proposal for $147,000 included enlarging the concrete pad that is already in place. 

He was not happy with the price since the project is funded with a $100,000 state grant and told the city’s engineering firm to do something different utilizing the present concrete footprint. Other council members expressed concern about how long this project is taking because the grant has a timeline for completion.

Crispin said after the meeting he is not sure how much time the city has left since state-related projects got pushed back during the early period of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Mayor Dan Owen presented a brief written report from Russell Leigh & Associates regarding the city audit. He said the auditors are not making in-person presentations at this time because of the pandemic.

“We are doing pretty good, but we’ve got to button up a little bit because we are getting less state money,” said Owen.

According to the audit, the city has enough money in reserve to cover more than a year’s worth of expenses. The auditor noted that is a good position but encouraged enlarging the reserves even more because of the current economic uncertainty.

Discussion revealed the city lacks a COVID-19 response plan for employees. It was reported one of the employees was possibly exposed to COVID-19 but did not learn about it until spending the day with another employee.

Council members were unsure if both employees should quarantine, if the city is responsible to pay for testing and if they should require the employees to be off until they can provide a negative test.

Chaney, who is also a Chrisman School Board member, said the school district developed a response plan in cooperation with the Edgar County Public Health Department and suggested the city reach out to the health department for assistance.

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