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GALENA–A global pandemic means no trick or treating this year in Galena.
That was the decision of the Galena City Council on Monday, Sept. 28.
The council voted 5-2, denying a motion to allow trick or treat to take place. Council members Jerry Westemeier, Robert Hahn, Chris Allendorf and Pam Bernstein, and Mayor Terry Renner voted against the measure, while council members Marc McCoy and Jerry Kieffer were in favor.
The Centers for Disease Control has advised against traditional trick or treating this year, classifying the activity as “high risk.”
Leading up to the vote, during discussion, McCoy said he wanted to see trick or treat proceed, especially for those who “do it right.”
“I think everybody is very much aware of the hazards,” said McCoy.
Kieffer agreed, noting that parents should be able to decide.
“Let them have some fun,” he said.
But other council members saw the issue through a completely different lens.
Allendorf emphasized the “untold ripple effect” that could take place by possibly spreading the virus throughout the community and leading to business and school closures.
“I can’t support doing this when there’s a lot more at stake,” he said.
Bernstein put it more bluntly.
“We have a pandemic,” she said, noting the city must act responsibly. “I think it would be unfortunate to go ahead with this.”
Renner, who lives on Park Avenue, noted he often has 400-500 trick-or-treaters at his house on Halloween.
“I don’t think we should have it this year,” he said.
Hahn expressed his regret but agreed that the city cannot promote such an event. He noted that if Galena were to move ahead with trick or treat, it’s likely people would come to town from other areas.
During the public comment portion of the meeting city clerk Mary Beth Hyde read written statements from two couples, Elizabeth Boggess and Richard Hess and Dennis and Leslie Waldman, who live on the east side of the city, both pleading with the council to cancel trick or treating this year during the pandemic.
Uber comes to town
Uber is the first transportation network company to take advantage of the city’s new ordinance, adopted in February, allowing such companies to operate in the city limits.
The council unanimously approved Uber’s application.
In other business, the council:
•approved a $214,000 contract with IIW Engineers for the west utility system improvement project design and construction services.
This project will eliminate the well #5 water tower at Franklin Street and U.S. 20 and also include other improvements to the water system in the west pressure zone to ensure minimum water pressure and flow can be maintained.
•denied a request by AT&T to modify the terms of the lease for tower and ground space at the Dodge Street standpipe.
The company currently pays $28,440 in rent, with a 3 percent escalator. AT&T officials believe that rent amount is not competitive and asked for it to be reduced to $20,000 per year with the escalator reduced from 3 percent yearly to 10 percent every five years. The company also asked for six five-year terms, through June 30, 2053.
The lease agreement ends in June 2023.
“I think they’re getting a fair deal,” said Renner.
McCoy and Allendorf abstained; all others voted in favor.
•approved a $11,235 contract with Spear Corporation for sand filtration maintenance and repair at the pool.
•approved a request by the Galena Center for the Arts for outdoor scarecrow exhibits in downtown public spaces through Nov. 1.
•approved a request by the Galena Area Chamber of Commerce to sell Halloween posters on Saturdays in October on Main Street, adjacent to 412 S. Main.
•approved a backflow prevention inspection contract with Geostar Mechanical for 2020-21.
•approved a contract for $19,826 with Bulletproof Concrete Coatings for epoxy coating the fire department garage floors.
•approved a $900 contract with Jo Daviess County Animal Control for animal control services from Dec. 1, 2020 through Nov. 31, 2021.
•approved a request by Adam Mostert to use sidewalk space on South Bench Street for fellowship gatherings through 2020.
•approved the small wireless facilities deployment ordinance and master pole agreement. Allendorf abstained.
•met in closed session for collective bargaining and personnel reasons. No action resulted.
•approved a budget amendment for sewer treatment plant maintenance, health insurance expenses and police equipment.
•meeting as the liquor commission, tabled a request from Juan Dorantes for a Class A liquor license for Galena Convenient Liquor Store, Inc.