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Oglesby mayor sends police flap to a mediator

Oglesby OKs riding golf courts within city limits

A mediator has been retained to settle the flap between Oglesby’s police chief and police commissioner.

Monday, Mayor Dom Rivara announced that Oglesby attorney Gary Peterlin had agreed to act as a mediator between chief Jim Knoblauch and commissioner Jim Cullinan, whose disagreements fractured the police force, city officials and the public as a whole.

Rivara said Peterlin had already begun mediation sessions but declined additional comment on the apparently closed-door talks.

Separately, if you want to tool around your neighborhood in a golf cart, you can – provided the cart is fitted with safety features such as turn signals.

Monday, the Oglesby City Council approved an ordinance, permitted by state law, authorizing golf carts and other motorized vehicles for use within city limits. Driving under the influence or with an open container will not be tolerated and the ordinance was worded to provide for police inspection (registration fee: $50) of vehicles, ensuring that all vehicles are up to snuff.

“You still have the follow the rules of the road,” commissioner Tom Argubright said.

And though the council has discussed the matter of length, Mayor Dom Rivara further pledged to revise the ordinance if the need arises.

“If we miss something, we’ll go back and correct it,” Rivara said. “We’re not going to have people running up and down the streets, driving unsafely and putting other people in danger.”

The council approved the ordinance 5-0 after commissioner Jason Curran was assured the ordinance could be amended or even repealed if it spurs problems.

Also, the city got a good checkup from its auditor.

Joel Hopkins, CPA, of Hopkins & Associates pronounced a “clean” audit with respect to records and said the city’s cash position increased favorably.

“We’ve seen a really major improvement in the financial position,” Hopkins said.

Finally, the city finalized an ordinance on tree branches on yard waste. In addition to the twice-a-year chipping events, residents now can send for city workers to chip and remove branches and yard waste for a flat fee of $50.

As previously reported, commissioners had grown frustrated at how city workers were being dispatched for yard waste. At one point the council proposed limiting yearly pickups but eventually settled on a reasonable fee for city services.

Other matters:

-Speedway will break ground in October

-Trick or treat hours were set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Halloween, Oct. 31

-The council followed the lead of neighboring communities and adopted a 3% retailers occupation tax on cannabis growers. Rivara emphasized this does not permit the sale of cannabis (legal statewide after Jan. 1) but only gives the city authority to tax the trade

-Curran apologized for breaches of decorum to Rivara and Amy Stone, whom he interrupted when, at a previous meeting, she rose the podium with a prepared statement. “I don’t think she deserved to be interrupted,” Curran said.

-The council set a special meeting for 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or Follow him on Twitter @NT_Court.

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