Last week, I held my third town hall meeting. I hold these meetings quarterly to share with our residents what is happening in and around O’Fallon and to give our citizens an opportunity to ask questions, share concerns, or give suggestions.
During this last town hall meeting, Fire Chief Brent Saunders presented what individuals can do to help prevent unnecessary 911 calls. He explained the importance of getting to know how your smoke detectors function — how to check them, how to replace them, and what to do when they go off. Chief Saunders also touched upon what to do for frozen pipes — how to help prevent them from freezing, and what to do and what not to do in the event they freeze.
Chief Saunders recommended that all smoke alarms should be cleaned at least once per year to prevent dust from getting into the sensors and that they should be replaced after ten years of usage. Most importantly, he said that if you see or smell smoke, you should call 911 and immediately exit the building.
His presentation was timely, as the Fire Department had 56 call outs in a six-day period between Christmas and New Year’s. Only one of these call outs was for a fire emergency, which started when someone attempted to use a blow torch to thaw their frozen water line.
We also had a presentation by Director of Public Works and City Engineer Jeff Taylor, who spoke about the most recent boil order that occurred when Illinois American Water Company had a system-wide boil order put in place. I went into detail about this water boil order in my column last week.
In addition to these two presentations, we also covered many of the recent actions taken by the City Council and city staff and announced that our police staffing is at its highest level since 2009. We also covered the results of a recent survey where the City Council determined their top-five priorities going forward. Those priorities are:
▪ Public safety
▪ Economic development
We also discussed several items that would be coming up in 2018, including:
▪ New city budget
▪ Aldermen discussing term limits
▪ Continued residential and commercial growth
▪ O’Fallon’s new economic development marketing strategy
▪ New citywide waste hauling contract
Last week, the city issued a press release notifying O’Fallon residents that Waste Management, the city’s current trash hauler, informed us that their next billing cycle will include only two months (February and March), instead of the normal three months. The change in billing cycle is due to the contract with Waste Management ending on March 31, 2018.
The city of O’Fallon is currently soliciting bids for a new waste hauler contract, set to begin on April 1, 2018.
The moment we issued this press release, we began to get questions about the end of the contract and what it means for the future. The new contract does not necessarily mean Waste Management will no longer provide trash, recycling and yard waste pick-up. Waste Management, and any other interested parties, will have an opportunity to submit a proposal. In the end, the City Council will have to decide which proposal is best in terms of cost, customer service, reliability, and many other factors. We will share more information about the proposals when they become available.
Still have questions, concerns, or suggestions? I will be hosting Saturday hours at City Hall, this Saturday, Jan. 27, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
As residents of O’Fallon, you should always be able to reach out to your elected officials and ask questions about what is happening in O’Fallon. Having open communications is important to me and something I care very deeply about. Thank you for reading, and please remember, my door is always open.