The City of Good Neighbors

Board Meeting Minutes December 2nd, 2020

After an opening prayer and pledge of allegiance, President Michael Suarez called the meeting to order.

Clerk Richard Ramirez took attendance. The following were in attendance: Trustees: David Suarez, Guadalupe Hernandez, Raul Munoz, Robert Belba, Michael Fiudo, and Charles Arriola. Treasurer Carlos Gomez, Police Chief Gerald Brown, Fire Chief Robert Allen, Public Works Director Roger Juenger, Deputy Treasurer Sally Rodriguez, Zoning Administrator Stephanie Allen and Administrative/Zoning Secretary Stephanie Pacheco, were also present.

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, was made by Robert Belba and seconded by Charles Arriola. Roll Call Vote: David Suarez, yes; Guadalupe Hernandez, yes; Raul Munoz, yes; Robert Belba, yes; Michael Fiudo, yes; and Charles Arriola, yes. Motion Passed

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Carlos Gomez reported the monthly financials for November will be available at the next meeting.

The treasurer reported the village successfully applied for a grant to recoup funding from a storm back in 2019 to recover equipment and labor costs. The village will be receiving $33,000.00 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Clerk’s Report

Under Old Business the clerk introduced Amber Kutz, Chapo’s Custom, An Update and Clarification to Business Status and Intent. Ms. Kutz reported the company has completed the necessary changes and passed the requested inspections and is ready for a business license.

Mayor Suarez instructed Ms. Kutz, there will be one more step required and that is a Zoning Hearing. Back in March the zoning board recommended changing the text of the section of the zoning code that addresses the tire and auto repair business. The recommendation was received by the board of trustees and an ordinance was acted on at the next meeting. This type of business now requires a public hearing with the zoning board. The hearing allows surrounding residents/property owners the opportunity to ask questions of the applicant regarding safety and appearance, experience and the like. Mayor Suarez reported the next regularly scheduled meeting of the zoning board is January 25, 2021. Special hearing dates can be arranged following the proper publication requirements.

The mayor suggested contacting the staff at the annex to make arrangements.

Also, under Old Business, Clerk Ramirez presented a Building Permit Application, #2 Exchange Avenue, New Building, Darling Ingredients, Owner. Mayor Suarez wanted more time to investigate the project at the last meeting. Since then, he has become more familiar with the project and reports everything in order.

The motion was made by Robert Belba and seconded by Raul Munoz to approve the Building Permit Application, #2 Exchange Avenue, New Building, Darling Ingredients, Owner. Roll Call Vote: David Suarez, yes; Guadalupe Hernandez, yes; Raul Munoz, yes; Robert Belba, yes; Michael Fiudo, yes; and Charles Arriola, yes. Motion Passed

New Business

Clerk Ramirez presented a Business License Application, Los Reyes Ent. LLC, Taqueria Los Reyes, Food Truck, Josue Solis, Owner. Mayor Suarez reported he has had a conversation with the applicant regarding the number of food trucks the village currently has licensed. The mayor asks the board to contemplate how the trucks and the restaurants are competing with each other and possibly being detrimental to the community.

The application was tabled.

Report of the Zoning Board – No Report

Report of Police Chief – No Report

Report of Fire Chief

Fire Chief Allen reported for the first time in the history of the village’s fire department at 10 : 11pm, on Tuesday, December 2, 2020 over 200 calls in a year were recorded, making history in the Village of Fairmont City.

Trustee David Suarez asked the chief if he has a reason for the increase in calls. Chief Allen reported he attributes the increases, mostly, to the Interstate. The chief reported there has also been an increase in alarms. He believes mutual aid calls, and actual residential incidents are about the same.

Chief Allen wanted to personally commend his firefighters after a grueling five hour call on the interstate.

The chief reported a successful test of the outdoor fire sirens yesterday. He will continue the monthly reporting on the tests.

The fire chief reported the Toy Drive details have finally been worked out. The drive will be a drive by this year due to COVID. Even the big wrapping event was eliminated and Chief Allen gave a heart felt thank you to Mary Beth Peterson for diligently tending to wrapping all the gifts. Those present also thanked Ms. Peterson, who was present at the meeting, with applause.

The details were discussed including closing the streets to allow for emergency exit. Cars will enter from the west side of the fire house onto 40th Street and exit to Collinsville Road, leaving the east side of Cookson for emergency exit.

Fire Chief Allen reported workers will be limited to fire personnel, administration and their spouses. Workers are expected to wear masks and gloves.

He also asked those present to share with their constituencies to limit any social media advertisement of the project. The chief is concerned the drive might get inundated with non­ residential traffic.

With that, the question of food was asked by Mayor Suarez. Former Fire Chief Belba traditionally makes a warm stew to share with the workers. The COVID pandemic has changed many things and the stew is out. The group will be receiving individual boxes lunches from Fire House Subs. As is also traditional, the mayor offered village funding for the lunch.

The motion was made by David Suarez and seconded by Michael Fiudo to approve the expense for Toy Drive Workers on Saturday, December 5, 2020, not to exceed $1,000.00.

Report of the Public Works Director – No Report

Committee Reports

Police/Public Safety-Chair- Charles Arriola – No Report

Economic/Finance, Development, Planning, and Tourism – Chair – Michael Fiudo – No Report

Fire Protection – Chair – Robert Belba, Sr. – No Report

Community Relations & Communications – Chair – Raul Munoz – No Report

Public Health & Housing – Chair- Guadalupe Hernandez

Trustee Guadalupe Hernandez wanted to give thanks to Public Works Director Juenger and his crew for the beautiful lighting job they did in Rose Lake Park.

Streets, Sewers, Grounds, Building & Parks – Chair – David Suarez – No Report

President’s Report

Mayor Suarez opened discussion regarding a proposal given to the trustees for review. The proposal was provided by United Healthcare, the current employee medical insurance provider, suggesting upgrading the medical coverage policy and to include dental and vision insurance.

A cover sheet was included describing what the current village benefit policy referred to as DAV, Dental and Vision. DAV is a cash reimbursement plan up to $1,000 for and individual and $2,000, for a family.

The board reviewed the documents and the mayor outlined the increased benefits to the employee. The upgraded medical insurance is lower price. The board agreed the change would be beneficial to the village and the employees.

The motion was made by Raul Munoz and seconded by Guadalupe Hernandez to accept the United Health Care Monthly Insurance Proposal to include a dental and vision policy at $14,352.75 in medical insurance and $908.99 in dental and vision insurance, for Village of Fairmont City full time employees. Motion Passed

Mayor Suarez also announced he just got word today the Jackie Joyner Kersey COVID testing site has been moved to St. Clair Square. No reason was provided.

The mayor reminded every one to social distance and stay safe.

Public Comment

Mary Beth Peterson wanted to thank the board for improving the walking trail at the Granby Park.

Anna Romero, a local resident, asked for board support as she is running for a seat on the Mississippi Valley Library Board. There was a brief discussion regarding Fairmont City representation on the library board.

Another resident reported Foodland is now selling furniture, check it out, not bad.

Municipal Bills

The motion to approve payment of the bills as presented on this day, December 2, 2020, in the amount of $22,9224.12, was made by Charles Arriola and seconded David Suarez. Roll Call Vote: David Suarez, yes; Guadalupe Hernandez, yes; Raul Munoz, yes; Robert Belba, yes; Michael Fiudo, yes; and Charles Arriola, yes. Motion Passed


With that, a motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Charles Arriola and seconded by Raul Munoz. Roll Call Vote: David Suarez, yes; Guadalupe Hernandez, yes; Raul Munoz, yes; Robert Belba, yes; Michael Fiudo, yes; and Charles Arriola, yes. Motion Passed

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted
Richard D. Ramirez
Village Clerk
December 2, 2020