Mayor’s Corner

Live Updates from Fairfield Mayor Mike Dreith

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Fairfield Mayor Mike Dreith

Fairfield Mayor Mike Dreith


This is the official home page of Fairfield Mayor Mike Dreith .

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Fairfield Mayor Mike Dreith
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Fairfield Mayor Mike Dreith
I was the third president in Frontier’s history, Dr. Jay Edgren is the fifth. See MoreSee Less
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As promised, another date for electronic waste, thanks to the county health department.We have made some new arrangements with our trucking company to help accommodate the county’s high demand for electronic waste! This new arrangement will allow us to collect electronic waste throughout the entire event! The trucking company will send us trailers at a later date, so no worries of us running out of space! See MoreSee Less
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Tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

Our inspections of the Maple Hill cemetery have been mostly positive despite a very rainy Spring. The new crew has been very aggressive in keeping the cemetery cut and trimmed. We will continue to watch as we near the always important Memorial Day weekend.
City police have started marking vehicles parked for more than two hours on Main and Delaware. Residents of apartments on those streets need to find alternative long-term parking spots. We will be installing new “Two-hour parking” signs in the downtown area. An ordinance is already in place.
There have been several positive economic developments inside the city over the last few weeks. One downtown merchant reported over 75 out-of-town retail clients visited the business in the last 30 days as evidenced by their credit cards.. We also learned of the expansion of a commercial recycling business on the south highway. L&E Recycling LLC will tear down some older buildings around the old Southern Lumber Company and the former service station across the street. L&E specializes in the recycling of cardboard cores used at Champ Labs.
The city met with the county health department last week to discuss a future electronic recycling event. This time, the health department will secure space in the former recycling center just south of the police station. The city will offer the use of a forklift and operator. Electronics will be stored in the building instead of putting them directly onto semi-trailers. Then, after the event is completed, trailers will be ordered to ship out the entire cargo.
The Fairfield Public Library had an open house to show off it’s renovation Saturday. The $60,000 remake was funded by a gift from the Babe Ward estate.
I’ve been in office one year and will be announcing my annual appointments at the next meeting on May 24th.


Fairfield Municipal Airport had 70 operations from the Ag Monkey from April 10th-to-May 9th and another 25 from another Ag business. In total, there were 111 operations.
Fairfield firefighters had 37 responses, 28 of which were EMS Assists. There were two automatic alarms. Fire officials also did a walk through of the Fairfield Memorial Hospital addition and of the area used by Kids in Motion at New Beginnings.
Police department- One felony arrest, five misdemeanors and five warrants were served. There were seven citations written and 12 motor vehicle crashes. The department met with Kiddie Kollege to introduce kids to our officers. The kids asked questions and were given a tour of one of our police cars.
Water treatment- An Indianapolis engineering firm has inspected our side channel reservoir along with Jerry Quindry and have presented a proposal which includes seeking federal grant opportunities. We will take this to the water committee (Cody is chair) in the next few weeks.
Water distribution- We repaired a service line leak on Farm Drive last week. We have also had 64 Julies and building permits.
Street and Bridge- Robert reports mowing has become a major issue with the wet spring. His department, which at times is reduced to three people, also keeps busy patching streets and picking up brush.
Sewer plant -Jon reports they are pumping down the east oxidation ditch, installing the new tri-pods for the mixers and replacing diffusers.
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May 10, 2022 Mayors Report

Tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

Our inspections of the Maple Hill cemetery have been mostly positive despite a very rainy Spring. The new crew has been very aggressive in keeping the cemetery cut and trimmed. We will continue to watch as we near the always important Memorial Day weekend.
City police have started marking vehicles parked for more than two hours on Main and Delaware. Residents of apartments on those streets need to find alternative long-term parking spots. We will be installing new “Two-hour parking” signs in the downtown area. An ordinance is already in place.
There have been several positive economic developments inside the city over the last few weeks. One downtown merchant reported over 75 out-of-town retail clients visited the business in the last 30 days as evidenced by their credit cards.. We also learned of the expansion of a commercial recycling business on the south highway. L&E Recycling LLC will tear down some older buildings around the old Southern Lumber Company and the former service station across the street. L&E specializes in the recycling of cardboard cores used at Champ Labs.
The city met with the county health department last week to discuss a future electronic recycling event. This time, the health department will secure space in the former recycling center just south of the police station. The city will offer the use of a forklift and operator. Electronics will be stored in the building instead of putting them directly onto semi-trailers. Then, after the event is completed, trailers will be ordered to ship out the entire cargo.
The Fairfield Public Library had an open house to show off it’s renovation Saturday. The $60,000 remake was funded by a gift from the Babe Ward estate.
I’ve been in office one year and will be announcing my annual appointments at the next meeting on May 24th.

Fairfield Municipal Airport had 70 operations from the Ag Monkey from April 10th-to-May 9th and another 25 from another Ag business. In total, there were 111 operations.
Fairfield firefighters had 37 responses, 28 of which were EMS Assists. There were two automatic alarms. Fire officials also did a walk through of the Fairfield Memorial Hospital addition and of the area used by Kids in Motion at New Beginnings.
Police department- One felony arrest, five misdemeanors and five warrants were served. There were seven citations written and 12 motor vehicle crashes. The department met with Kiddie Kollege to introduce kids to our officers. The kids asked questions and were given a tour of one of our police cars.
Water treatment- An Indianapolis engineering firm has inspected our side channel reservoir along with Jerry Quindry and have presented a proposal which includes seeking federal grant opportunities. We will take this to the water committee (Cody is chair) in the next few weeks.
Water distribution- We repaired a service line leak on Farm Drive last week. We have also had 64 Julies and building permits.
Street and Bridge- Robert reports mowing has become a major issue with the wet spring. His department, which at times is reduced to three people, also keeps busy patching streets and picking up brush.
Sewer plant -Jon reports they are pumping down the east oxidation ditch, installing the new tri-pods for the mixers and replacing diffusers.


April 24, 2022 Mayors Report

Here’s tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

We received good news concerning the restoration of a lake at Lakeside Park. The Illinois Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has been notified Fairfield will receive funding to do a preliminary investigation into the city’s drainage problems. Robert Matthew of the NRCS based in Champaign says funding should be available to start within a month. There will be more information on the work at our May 10th meeting. This is the first step in securing federal grant money to restore Lakeside lake and solve many of our Johnson Creek watershed issues.

We have learned many lessons from Saturday’s coordinated clean up in town. The Wayne County Health Department volunteered to work the electronics recycling at the fairgrounds and were deluged early in what one worker described as a “mob scene.” Many of the people who showed up with multiple devices were not from the city or even the county. Over 18,000 pounds (9 tons) were collected, filling the semi in less than 45 minutes. Meanwhile, the city experienced a similar deluge of junk at the Street and Bridge Department. FNB took in over a 2500 pounds of paper to shred at the bank parking lot. The county, the city and the health department have a meeting scheduled for next week to plan the next electronic recycling event.

We started Fraternal Order of Police negotiations today. Our three year agreement with them expires at the end of the month.

After a review of the market, the city was advised to buy at $5.37/per dekatherm for next month and May, 2023 blended together.

Over a year ago, the previous administration granted two Class C liquor licenses to establishments for the purposes of gaming. Wednesday I will inspect one of those establishments, Big Money Slots in downtown Fairfield. It has passed state plumbing and we believe it minimally meets the definition of being a restaurant.


April 12, 2022 Mayors Report

The Fairfield Business District was approved by the city council on a 5-4 vote.

Scheduling conflicts are making it difficult to have the first meeting between the city and the Fraternal Order of Police. Alderman Reever has agreed to sit in as a member of the city’s negotiating team on April 26-27 to start negotiations.

We had a shuffle within the city workforce over the last week. It started when Eric Holstein moved back to Water Distribution after we signed a memo of understanding which prevented six positions from being changed. Moving Eric left a position in the Street and Bridge Department. We assigned the floater, Keith Grove to fill Holstein’s spot which means we have not added to the city’s workforce.

The airport reports 92 overall operations from February 21-April 10th. Ag Monkey led the way with 38 operations. Ed Prince started weekend duties and has completed his Illinois UST Class A/B Operator training scoring a 93% on his test.

Fairfield firefighters had 66 responses in March, 61 of which were EMS Assists. The police department reports three felonies, 9 misdemeanors (including three DUIs) and two warrants. FPD also wrote ten local ordinance violations. Also, the state deemed our ADA grant complete and the department was in compliance.

The final stages of testing are set for later this week for the three candidates for the position of patrol officer. If all succeed, the academy starts on May 4th.

There will be a ribbon cutting for the new office of Dr. Shawn Bladel at the former People’s Building at 215 SE 3rd Street. His business is called Recreated Health and he offers chiropractic services. This is the fourth business to locate on the top floor of Andrew Gifford’s building which he refers to as a “boutique hotel.”. Gifford reports he will still have a gym and a restaurant but has scaled back his plans for hotel rooms to 12. Also, Gifford says his downtown Coffee Shop, at 207 E. Main, is scheduled to open June 14th.

Ahead of an April 28th deadline, the trust which owns the former Vaughan Grocery Store on the East highway has applied for a building permit for roofing repairs and renovations to the building.


March 22, 2022 Mayors Report

The city council voted to table the Business District for 90 days on a 4-3 vote with one absence.

The bidding process has ended with a new hire at the Water Treatment plant. He is 31-yer-old Jonathon Fuller of Mt. Vernon. He currently works at the Mt. Vernon Sewer Department where he has served since July 2021. He is a graduate of Wayne City High School and Rend Lake College. He starts April 4th.

We are scheduling an April 7th special meeting of the City Council to deal with personnel matters. The meeting will be called to order then retreat into closed session.

May 21st is the test date for the next police eligibility test. We have exhausted the current list.

It was a busy Municipal Court docket this afternoon with 13 cases. Two citations for unkept properties were continued until May 24th..Two citations were continued until April 26th..Two residents were fined for inoperable vehicles and paid $75 fines…There were two nuisance private properties who paid their fines prior to court…two more properties were found guilty but not fined because of compliance…Two properties were cited for $250 each in fines and court costs… and finally one person was fined $175 for an inoperable motor vehicle.

Contract talks continue with the IBEW with our next scheduled session on Thursday morning.

The USDA-NRCS reports they are close in submitting a preliminary investigation feasibility report on flooding problems along Johnson Creek in Fairfield. Early data indicates 55% of the watershed is residential property or around 3200 acres.


March 8, 2022 Mayors Report

Among other things, the Fairfield City Council unanimously seated Cody Attebery to the unexpired one-year term in the first ward.

In my Mayor’s Report,
I met with a representative of the three water departments which buy bulk water from the city this morning. Each year, the increases are based on the Consumer Price index. Water rates to the Jasper, New Hope and Boyleston water districts will go up 7.5% retroactive to January 1st.
Our first efforts in stabilizing natural gas prices were successful. UGM reports our hedging efforts will net our customers savings of more than $3,000 for March. We will keep a continuing eye on the market which has become crazy due to the events in eastern Europe. With oil pushing up, it should push drilling up so long term it may benefit production of natural gas.
Landowners at 1302 Leininger Road, 205 West 7th and 900 Leroy have been given until Friday to clean up their properties. They have been given fair warning that the city would not continue to stand by.
In personnel moves, Eric Holstein bid to the Street and Bridge Department. Steve Musgrave went from the cemetery to Water Distribution. That led to Kevin Leonard deciding to move to the cemetery after heading our Water Distribution Department for 4 ½ years. He did an excellent job. I have every expectation that Brad Young will do likewise. Kevin’s move created an opening in Water Distribution which has been filled by Cole Young coming from the Water Filtration plant. We have posted Cole’s job which will be pulled Friday afternoon.
I have attached some light reading from Jerry Quindry, who is advising me on the restoration of the Lakeside lake and other associated drainage problems. Also attached is a letter requesting assistance from the state office of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The letter is addressed to Ivan Dozier, the State Conservationist, who is coincidently from Mill Shoals and very familiar with our problems.


February 22, 2022 Mayors Report

Tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

For the first time in recent memory, the city hedged its natural gas price for a month. The March contract is a product of our new relationship with UGM. We locked in the price of $4.06 for 10,000 MCF. (One thousand cubic feet)
Inflation is going to take a toll on our budget. Chemicals for the water plant could go up 55-percent. Gasoline for our fleet is over a dollar a gallon higher this year over last. The street and bridge department says asphalt is up dramatically and the price of culverts has doubled. We also have heard from our fireworks company. They have been sold to another, larger company out of Iowa. Since 99-percent of the fireworks come directly from China, the supply chain issue might make the annual show a little skimpy.
Union negotiations with the FOP and the IBEW should begin in the next few weeks. Our labor attorney Dennis Weedman will lead our teams. The FOP negotiations will include Alderman Stahl, Chief Fulkerson and myself. The IBEW team will include Alderman Moore and myself. Contracts expire in April.
We were blessed to have a huge response to our police postings. We had 15 packets picked up and 10 returned. There were also 3 fire packets returned. There will be a mandatory meeting this Friday (25th) at 5:00 p.m. with physical agility testing on Saturday morning (26th) at 8:00 a.m. at FCHS. In the meantime, Asst. Chief Colclasure was able to secure a third seat in this May’s state training institute.
We continue to work on improving the audio for our Facebook Live streaming coverage of the city council. We are getting five new mics and putting the audio directly into our live feed. So far, over the course of two meetings, we have 1286 views of city council proceedings. Our city Facebook page now has 2,392 followers, 36 additions in the last 30 days. During that time, posts on our page prompted 6,366 post engagement actions (i.e. likes. shares, comments).
The airport passed inspection on its fuel tanks. Also, there was a pre-design meeting with IDOT and others on the ramp expansion and airfield drainage projects with letting scheduled for November. Construction on the projects are scheduled to start in May of next year.


February 8, 2022 Mayors Report

Tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

Wabash Communications will start marketing their internet services in Fairfield, according to management. The city and Wabash established a relationship last year which led to a citywide survey to determine current internet speeds. The construction will be off fiberoptic main lines moving from the west to the east. Crews will be seen in town in the next few months.

I met with representatives from Commonwealth Engineers Inc. and Ivan Dozier of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) last week on the advice of Engineer Jerry Quindry. The topic was watershed retention and flood prevention along Johnson Creek. Commonwealth is an Indiana-based engineering firm which specializes on dams and water control projects. NRCS might be one funding source. At the same moment we were meeting, I received word from FEMA that they were revising Fairfield’s Risk Map for flooding. It is much different than the one currently on file…leading me to believe it is the first done since the dam breach. If accepted, the new map could have serious consequences for the properties which border Johnson Creek and its tributaries. More to follow.
The street and bridge crews performed admirably last week. I got calls about Commerce Drive and discovered from the state that they did not see it as their responsibility during a snow/ice event. We will handle it in the future.

We have 11 people who have taken out police applications and five for fire. It is our goal to get at least 15 police candidates for testing on February 26th with a mandatory pre-meeting on February 25th.
Ron Ragan of UGM, our gas consultant, reports a stable gas market. There was a minor polar vortex last week that did not result in a big price swing. UGM continues to assess our current situation and will recommend future hedging strategies.

McDonald’s is slated to start construction on its new facility in Fairfield on May 5th.


January 25, 2022 Mayors Report

A hiring committee of Alderman Lampley, Jon Colclasure, Dian Downs and myself interviewed candidates for the open sewer treatment plant position last Wednesday and unanimously agreed the city should hire Colton Land. He will start in his new job with the city tomorrow.


I am excited to announce a new effort to clean up the city on Saturday, April 23rd. We are calling it “Renew Fairfield,” and it will include a citywide clean-up, recycling drives and the painting of ten properties. This in cooperation with Kincaid’s, Sherwin-Williams, Rust-Oleum, Y-Fairfield and FNB. Area organizations will volunteer their time for painting and light carpentry work on the homes. The recycling will include paper and electronics. More on this event as we get closer.
Alderman Lampley joined our Business District committee meeting on January 12th as we continue to outline the boundaries of the proposed district and define short term and longer goals. Keith Moran is scheduled to make a presentation to the city council on February 8th to report and answer questions on the timeline.

Shannon Woodard of Connor and Connor reports we will be advertising for bids for a new water tower soon. That means bids could be opened by March 1st and awarded shortly thereafter. A new tower could be built on NW 7th by the end of 2022…but the contracts will give the construction company one calendar year. The dismantling of the old tower would follow.


We are proposing to merge the city council’s Recreation and the Chamber’s Public Relations committees for the purpose of finding future partnering opportunities, the most notable of which, the total eclipse event of April 8, 2024.
Our prime Fairfield Municipal Airport tenant is proposing an expansion of his business this year. In discussion last week, AG Monkey agreed to increase its fleet from six to ten aircraft. They would construct new fuel tanks but let us manage the supply at a set rate of sale per gallon. Alderman McGill set up the meeting.


January 11, 2022 Mayors Report

Th Humane Society sent a new contract for services last month. They did not give notice they wanted out of our existing contract which pays them $1500 a month. The proposed new agreement maintained they would not deal with bite dogs or come out after business hours weekdays or on weekends. The proposed contract asked for a 110-percent increase, or $3100 a month. After consulting with the police committee chair, I contacted their rep and said we would be seeking another provider. Yesterday I sent them notice we are ending our contract.
The year-end report from the fire department shows 580 responses for 2021. In that number were 11 structure fires and 19 motor vehicle crashes. We had 47 responses in December.
The police department had 36 traffic stops in December with 19 citations. There were three felony, six misdemeanor and three warrant arrests. For the year there were 179 total arrests with 166 traffic crashes. I received notice that the police union wants to start negotiations with the city on a new contract. Their contract expires in April.
Sunrise Sanitation sent us notice they wanted to increase their rates $.75 per resident to cover cardboard refuse since we no longer have a recycling center in the city. I told them that would require re-opening our contract with them and that I would have items for bargaining. They promptly withdrew their request.
Airport operations from November 19-to-January 7th show 38 total operations. Deer hunters continued to fly-in and we even had ten operations generated by pilots and guests who flew in to have lunch at Barb Wire Grill.
Liquor license issues dominate my daily schedule. I have requests for new licenses which I have not approved…I have licenses previously awarded which are not in compliance with our ordinances that I have put on hold…and I have people challenging our ordinances because of their lust to get into the lucrative video gaming business. I have also passed along a request to the legislative committee.


December 14, 2021 Mayors Report

The Mayor’s Report from the City Council meeting:

Libby Lingafelter reports the application for the Rebuild Downtown and Main Street Capital Grant was completed last week. The focus of the grant is improving infrastructure in downtown areas and beautification projects. This grant would match TIF monies previously set aside for infrastructure updates before the resurfacing of Route 15 and the connecting roads.

Once again, the owner of the Briarwood Inn Fairfield has fallen a year behind in his hotel/motel taxes to the city. Legal Counsel has directed Anil Lala to appear at City Hall on December 17th with records for the calendar year of 2021 and September 2019. Lala paid $5509.70 in August to cover his 2020 bill.

Fairfield Police had four felony arrests in November with six misdemeanors and five warrants. There were 11 vehicle crashes with 48 traffic stops and 11 citations written. FPD used three search warrants during the month which netted four arrests and more anticipated. The fire department had one structure fire, one chimney fire and 28 EMS assists. In all, there were 40 operations.
Our airport was awarded two grants from the state. The first project will rehab the parking lot. The $343,000 grant will only have a match of $34,300 in local funds. The second grant will relocate the airport’s Automated Weather System to achieve more accurate weather information. That is a $192,000 project with a $19,220 local match. Kudos to Travis, Kayla and Hansen Engineering for the successful grant writing.

Following last weekend’s tornadic activity in Edwardsville and Mayfield, Kentucky, I reached out to our first responders to check on our plans should Fairfield ever be hit with such storm. Chiefs Fulkerson, Miller and Colclasure met with me yesterday morning and we have agreed to include Wayne County Preparedness Coordinator Jeff Jake in a future meeting to fill me in on our emergency plans.

Don’t forget Winter Wonderland this weekend—-Ice skating, the Trackless Train, concessions and our downtown merchants open for Christmas shopping.


November 23, 2021 Mayors Report

This is tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

The meeting I called with the Illinois Department of Transportation was very disappointing. They described a “Perfect Storm” which will keep them from resurfacing work on Main and Delaware until at least 2023. Curb and ramp work will be bid in June, 2022 for construction in late next summer. I called Senator Darren Bailey to register my extreme disappointment.

Libby and I were a part of the FCHS College and Career Day and heard students complain they did not have a “gathering spot” in town. They also said they wanted places to play pickleball. We signed up 50 students to comprise a youth advisory council which will have its first meeting in January.

This morning I hosted the first meeting of a Business District Committee which discussed potential projects should the city choose to create such a district. It was a very positive meeting and we agreed to the committee working on a project list for discussion at our next gathering on December 14th.

We are in the middle of a good year at our Municipal Airport. According to Travis, our net profit from sales is at $44,502 for six months. The airport also collected $11,535 in hangar rent, $25,800 in crop sales, and $998 in oil income. Local operations for October totaled 39. Travis also reports we have an opportunity for a $750,000 grant by combining an airfield drainage project with ramp expansion. Our local match will only be $12,000.

I have collaborated with Daryl Donjon of Wayne White Co-op to author a letter which will be sent to all city residents concerning the handoff of the operation and maintenance of our electric grid starting on January 1st. That letter should be sent next week. The letter will include a number for residents to call in case of an outage and the separation of the electric bill from the city’s gas, water, sewer and trash bill. Residents will also get a letter from Wayne-White Electric in January explaining payment options. We are all trying to anticipate glitches in the process.


November 9, 2021 Mayors Report

Here’s tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

Last week I contacted the corporate headquarters of Casey’s General Stores in Iowa to discuss the property the company owns between West Main and Delaware. Almost two years ago the company purchased the land to build a new Fairfield facility. A spokesperson said there were no active plans to build such a facility in our near future. They also do not want to sell the land.

We have asked for a meeting with the Illinois Department of Transportation to discuss the resurfacing of Route 15 through Fairfield. I have invited our engineers and asked for the IDOT contingent to do likewise. IDOT’s last correspondence with the city noted labor shortages and new legislation concerning the mandate of ADA sidewalk compliance. I want a commitment on a start date.

Time is expiring on several properties which have been condemned by the city. One of those buildings is the former Vaughn’s Food Store on the city’s east highway (712 E. Main). The owners have gone to the court seeking to draw down money from the estate for renovations. They haven’t started work.

Claire is doing the research to develop and launch a phone app for the city which will allow us to “push” our important announcements and activities. Several other cities in Southeastern Illinois already possess this form of communication. Also, there were 1600 views on our various platforms of our video coverage of the Veteran’s Day parade. And today the site topped 10,000 views since its launch at the end of August.

Police report 16 arrests including three felonies. FPD logged some overtime for the homecoming parade and a presence on South 1st street during Trick or Treating. There were 83 traffic stops with 8 citations written.

The fire department had 53 total calls, 45 of which were EMS Assists. There was also a structure and a vehicle fire in October. Besides a high level of activity, the department sold 180 gallons of chili and raised $4500 which helps offset equipment costs.


October 26, 2021 Mayors Report

Here’s tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

I’m meeting with Steve Bryant, the Regional Manager of Energy and Government Affairs of Good Energy, LP on Thursday. Good Energy is a national leader in government energy-aggregation strategies. I believe we are facing a challenging natural gas market in the immediate days ahead and Steve advises many of the communities in Southern Illinois including Olney, Salem, Edwardsville and Alton. If I believe Bryant is a good fit, I will bring him to the Gas committee.

IDOT says the price of doing Route 15 through Fairfield has gone up since it bid the project last year. Now the city’s original $645,000 bill for finishing the connecting roads between Main and Delaware will cost $787,000. They say the price of asphalt has gone up. IDOT is also offering to stretch the project on to Commerce Drive. Originally, the resurfacing ended at Airport Road. We have until the end of the year to answer.

The U.S. Census says Fairfield officially now has 4,883 residents. That is down from 5,154 in 2010 and 5,421 in 2000. So we have dropped 538 citizens in 20 years. One analysis from the George Washington Institute of Public Policy revealed that the median loss for each person missed in the census could cost local government $1,000 annually. Such an analysis might be low in a city like ours where we control all utilities. There is no doubt this will have a negative impact on future city budgets.

Alderman Reever and Libby Lingafelter will travel with me to Carmi on Wednesday to visit Burrell Woods RV Park which is owned and operated by the city. It features 30 easily accessible RV pads, electric hook-ups and a sanitary sewer. We will also look at the city’s adjoining dog park. The Carmi community raised $20,000 to build their dog park.

“Coffee With The Mayor” is set for 7:00-9:00 AM next Monday at McDonald’s.


October 12, 2021 Mayors Report

Here’s tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

We have scuttled plans for Connor & Connor to design a project to repair the roads at Maple Hill Cemetery. After last meeting, Street and Bridge Lead man Robert Kamp volunteered his crew to repair the roads. The materials will cost around $15,000 in asphalt.

Alderman Lampley will join me and representatives of the county board in meeting with the Wayne County Humane Society to study the organization’s space and staff issues. Our police department has reported recent problems in getting service when contacting the pound during business hours.

In round numbers, our police have talked to nearly a hundred residents about the condition of their properties or non-operational vehicles. At this time those initial contacts have resulted in around 25 citations since May. There have been small victories, but I am not satisfied with the tools in place to affect change. I will be working with the legislative committee when I have proposals to offer.

A meeting with Sunrise Sanitation set for last week was cancelled by the company. We have rescheduled for tomorrow morning. There are several outstanding issues to be addressed by the city.

The Fairfield Fire Department reports one structure fire, one cooking fire and one vehicle fire in September. They were involved in 55 EMS assists, a gas leak and one unauthorized burning call. The Police Department was active in September with 15 warrants, seven misdemeanors and a felony. Officers also wrote 15 warnings for local ordinance violations and dealt with 12 vehicle crashes. There were also 65 traffic stops resulting in 29 citations.

Our city webpage has seen an increase in views of 54% since our hiring of RJ Marketing and the merger with the chamber. New pages are being added weekly including the local business directory and local historical sites. Claire, Libby and I meet weekly to discuss strategy.


September 28, 2021 Mayors Report

Tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

Last week we had a meeting to discuss the roads at the Maple Hill cemetery. Attending were our engineer, Alderman McGill, Sexton Dugger and myself. We are looking at using MFT funds to potentially fund one of three different plans. One would tackle the entire road system, one would restore the outer circle and designated deteriorating roads within…and the third would merely fix the worst roads. I expect the plan to be available to discuss at our next meeting.
Until now, we’ve found the job of tracking problem properties in the city to be daunting. Asst. Police Chief Colclasure has developed a way for all of us to track them. Keith has shared a database between the mayor, the clerk, the city attorney and the police department. Council members can view the dashboard by contacting Keith. In a sidenote, five vehicles were towed from NW 5th Street yesterday after extensive municipal court action.
Libby Lingafelter and Claire Vaughan are collaborating in identifying available business properties to post on the city and chamber websites. The posting will include a picture, key stats about the property and the contact person in charge of its lease or sale. This is a new collaboration between the chamber, the city and our new social media/web coordinator. It comes as we turn our attention to downtown redevelopment.
Libby is also working to submit a grant to get consideration for the Governor’s $50-million-dollar Rebuild Downtown and Main Streets Capital Grant. She is working with Connor & Connor to update our TIF infrastructure project for Main and Delaware. If we can get state funding, the TIF money being held in escrow can be freed for other projects. It was a $1.4-million project when it was priced in 2019.
“Coffee With the Mayor” is scheduled for 7:00-9:00 am Monday at 5 Brothers Restaurant on the city’s west side.

The chamber’s annual dinner is set for Monday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Elks.


September 14, 2021 Mayors Report

Here is tonight’s Mayor’s Report:

The Historical Society Cemetery Tour was once again a huge success. In part it was because the city’s workers pitched in to make Maple Hill look good. It is our goal to make it that presentable year-round. In that vein, I am asking the Cemetery Committee to call a meeting to examine some of the roads inside the property.

The owner of the Briarwood Hotel has paid a total of $7,735.70–but did not totally satisfy payment of owed hotel-motel taxes. They have not paid for all of 2021.

Today was Libby Lingafelter’s first day in her role as our Economic Development Coordinator and in charge of the Chamber. She will be included in a weekly meeting concerning social media and our web page with Claire Vaughan. She will also be included in a monthly meeting concerning derelict properties in town. Her first challenge will be organizing our efforts to write and submit a state grant announced last week by the Governor. We will submit to be included in the $50-million dollar Rebuild Illinois Main Street and Downtown Capital Program. We will work with merchants to develop a plan.

Fairfield firefighters had 51 total calls in August, 39 of which for EMS Assists. There were two structure fires, a cooking fire and a couple of assists to other agencies. Our firefighters trained on fire behavior and forcible entry at a burn site.

Police report five felony arrests in August with seven misdemeanors and seven warrants served. There were 11 motor vehicle crashes with 74 traffic stops and 26 traffic citations written.

With the retirement notice from Denny Mitchell in the Street and Bridge department, I decided to move quickly to post his position so bidding inside the union can run its course and Robert Kamp can start training his new team member. There are currently four members of Kamp’s department. They face a daunting task daily in keeping up with the city’s streets and bridges.


August 24, 2021 Mayors Report

The city has pitched in to mow the area formerly known as Lakeside Lake this summer to help the Park District and prevent an eyesore. When the dam was breached several years ago, the area was designated as a “wetlands” area. I have contacted Congresswoman Mary Miller for an appointment to discuss Lakeside. It is the first step in getting the Army Corps of Engineers to change the designation so we can eventually restore the lake.

Our environmental legal counsel Peter Trimarchi has recommended an environmental consulting engineering firm to the city for the continuing clean-up of Airtex Plant 1. It is vital to keep the pressure on the owners and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Very little has occurred in 2021 at the site.

I’ve asked our garage staff to study how we might be able to utilize thousands of gallons of diesel fuel currently being stored next to the abandoned city power plant. The fuel was intended for the diesel turbines inside the facility which are no longer operable.

I showed representatives of Rides Mass Transit properties in town last week as they prepare to construct a new area headquarters for their operations in Wayne County. The proposed building will be an operations/garage facility funded by a Rebuild Illinois grant.

Additional personnel have been assigned to the Maple Hill Cemetery for the rest of the summer and fall to keep up with grass mowing/trimming. In the meantime, I have told workers not to use weed control products around tombstones. We, of course, want the cemetery to be in great shape for the upcoming Historic Society cemetery tour on September 10-11.

We will be breaking ground for the new T-Mobile building near Wal-Mart on Friday at 11:00 a.m.


August 10, 2021 Mayors Report

Claire Vaughan will premiere our new website at the August 24th city council meeting. She would have been ready tonight, but I threw another level of complexity at her when I decided to combine the city and chamber home pages into one site.

The IMEA will meet with the Gas Committee on Monday, August 30th at 10:00 AM. The topic will be whether the city is interested in fixing (or hedging) a price on our natural gas volume. The city historically has not hedged. The legislative committee has announced it will meet on Wednesday night at 6.

The air conditioning unit at our police department literally exploded this week. While the 9-1-1 dispatching area is on a separate unit, the suggested solution could exceed $15,000.

I am exploring grant opportunities for an idea forwarded by Alderman Reever to build a limited number of camper slots on city property in Southwest Park. Each spot would have electric and water hook-ups for visitors to the city. The airport sold 35,349 gallons of jet fuel since July 1st for a net profit of $12,372.

The fire department responded to fires in three structures in July. There was also a vehicle fire and one prompted by cooking. Chief reports 31 EMS assists and coverage for the fireworks and county fair events like the demo derby and motocross. The police department made five felony arrests and issued 10 warrants. There were 11 motor vehicle crashes and the department made 76 traffic stops with 17 citations written. The department also alerted technicians to repair storm sirens at FCC and on Mill Street. Both are now back in service.

We have 8 applicants for the new Coordinator of Economic Development position which will be a city employee with Chamber of Commerce responsibilities. Tyler and two member of the chamber’s executive board will help me interview.


July 27, 2021 Mayors Report

There are some fascinating things happening in the real estate business in Fairfield and Wayne County. A check with the Supervisor of Assessments’ office last week revealed there were 56 transfer declarations (property sales) in the county for June, the most in ten years. Further, the 309 sales that have been filed so far this year puts the county on a record pace.

The Fairfield Police Department has purchased an electronic data collector for analyzing traffic patterns in the City of Fairfield. The device monitors traffic volume and speed, which will allow more effective traffic enforcement by officers. Recently, a 24-hour monitor of the 400 block of East Main Street indicated a 75% compliance rate. The software analyzes data and provides suggested time periods for directed traffic enforcement. The Police Department will be using the device for both citizen complaints and improving traffic safety.

I have instructed legal counsel to notify several landlords of former businesses that the city will be pursuing condemnation of their properties. The buildings are eyesores, and their restoration would cost more than the current value of the building. Once they are notified, we will be bringing each to the council for condemnation action.

My examination of city ordinances finds we do not have one specifically dealing with conflict of interest. That is a problem since almost every federal and state grant application requires such an ordinance. I have asked legal counsel to research this issue, so the city does not miss out on current and future grant opportunities. I also will be asking the Gas Committee to meet with me and representatives of the IMEA to discuss fixing (or hedging) a price on our volume. Historically, the city has not hedged. It is my belief we should strongly consider this practice to protect ourselves from upward swings in the market price for natural gas. We are currently “unhedged” with zero volumes covered by “fixed prices.”

And…This afternoon’s Municipal Court proceedings resulted in $2450 in fines for inoperable motor vehicles, weeds, dogs running at large and nuisances on private properties. It was the highest amount of levied fines in the brief existence of the city court.


July 14, 2021 Mayors Report

I am meeting with Tina Carpenter, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Illinois on Tuesday afternoon, July 20th to discuss Fairfield and future expansion of the Carbondale-based organization. This is a very preliminary discussion to see if Fairfield could position itself for a future center.

Police Chief Richie Fulkerson was sworn in yesterday (Monday) morning by City Clerk Tina Hutchcraft. The Fairfield Police Department had three felony, seven misdemeanor and seven warrant arrests in June. There were 29 warning tickets handed out for local ordinance violations with 12 citations. The department was particularly active in traffic enforcement with 59 stops netting 26 citations.

Fairfield firefighters made 51 runs in June, 41 of which being Emergency Medical Service assists. FFD also toured the Fairfield Memorial Hospital expansion and did training with the ladder truck at the site.

The owner of the Briarwood Inn of Fairfield has been ordered to appear at city hall tomorrow (Wednesday) with records of every occupancy dating back to April 2020. The hotel owed $6194 in previous hotel/motel taxes.

We have received 600+ surveys here at city hall from Fairfield residents asked about the need for a high speed fiberoptic network in the city. The deadline has been extended until tomorrow (Wednesday). There will be a drawing next week for the 55-inch television set donated to help response.

I am disturbed to learn that Crimestoppers of Fairfield and Wayne County did not have one useable tip in the last 12 months. This program was formed in 2002 and could be a force in helping our law enforcement officers develop leads to capture and prosecute criminals. I am asking our local media to help with news stories about the program and its value. The fund balance has now swelled to $54,000.


June 8, 2021 Mayors Report

Aldermen Eckleberry and Lisenbee joined me to tour the city-owned “Garment Factory” or Airtex Plant 3 yesterday, meeting with tenants. The roof of the facility is in disrepair. Cost estimates are north of $100,000 and were last gathered five years ago. The facility costs the city nearly $20,000 annually in property taxes, insurance and mowing. We need to determine an exit strategy.
There was a meeting concerning Atkinson Forest hosted here at City Hall on May 26th. The meeting ended without any agreement between the parties. Members of the Atkinson Forest Task Force and the Park District attended the meeting.
The city is in the process of asking for clarification concerning land near the water pumping station and the side channel reservoir which would be used for brush and timber harvested by commercial companies in the city. If the plan is approved, contractors would pay a one-time annual fee of $2000 to gain access.
The Fairfield Police Department reported 77 traffic stops during May with 32 citations written (a 100-percent increase over April numbers). Officers also gave property owners seven warnings and eight citations for local ordinance violations. Work on the ADA grant continued at the police department with 85-to-90% of it complete including the automatic lobby doors, bathroom alterations and parking lot drop box. The box will allow citizens to deposit their utility bill payments instead of climbing the city hall steps.
Fairfield Firefighters responded 48 times in May with 43 being EMS assists.
We are planning to renegotiate the agreement between the Wayne County Humane Society and the city tomorrow (Wednesday June 9th) at 2:00 p.m.
I will join City Clerk Tina Hutchcraft and some downtown businesspeople will be meeting at 7:30 this Saturday morning to pull weeds from around businesses on the public right-of-way. We will meet at Freedom Park. Everyone is welcome.
“Coffee With the Mayor” went well Monday morning at Five Brothers Café. I’m planning on being at Barbwire Grill on Monday July 5th.


May 26, 2021 Mayors Report

The city received word late last week from the Illinois Department of Transportation that the resurfacing of Route 15 through Fairfield will not occur as planned this summer. The engineer in charge of the project said additional design work and acquisition issues forced the delay. The project is now tentatively scheduled for a November bid letting with work starting in 2022.
I am working on a plan which would once again give commercial tree services a place to take their logs and brush. The city council stopped the practice at the city dump near the street and bridge department on the southeast side of town. The plan, which would come to the council for its approval, would require the tree services to pay for the ability to dump on another site east of town.
With the help of Dr. David Mills and Alderman Coale, we will restart talks about Atkinson Forest. The plan would not require city funds. Our first meeting is set for tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon at 3:00 p.m.
Aldermen have been asked by the Mayor’s office to submit five properties in town in violation of city ordinances for junk, abandoned cars or inadequate care. Today in Municipal Court, six cases were heard involving dogs and fighting. Fines were assessed in each case.
Street and Bridge Lead Man Robert Kamp had successful surgery last week for dog bites he suffered in April. He will require another surgery for his hand. The dog attack was addressed yesterday in Wayne County Circuit court. Judge Mike Molt ordered the three dogs involved in Kamp’s attack to be euthanized which occurred late yesterday afternoon. The owner of the dogs was fined $2000 in Municipal Court today plus court costs. In a sidenote, I have asked legal counsel to draft an ordinance which would prevent dog ownership for those convicted of allowing vicious dogs to roam our streets.
In a related matter, we will be discussing the continuation of our annual contract with the Wayne County Humane Society very soon. The dog attack exposed the need for some finetuning of the contract.
The Fairfield Municipal Airport reports 210 operations over the last six weeks with the majority coming from our ag operator. The airport manager says he even had one couple fly in just to eat lunch at Jovalou Cuisine in downtown. While they were here, they purchased $210 worth of fuel for their plane.
And finally, I will be hosting my first “Coffee With The Mayor” on Monday, June 7th at Five Brothers Cafe from 7:00-9:00 am. Each first Monday of the month I will be at a local restaurant so citizens can meet with me and discuss their ideas and concerns.