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Morris council swears in new city clerk

Judge Lance Peterson swears in Carol Adair as the new Morris City Clerk at Monday's Morris City Council meeting.
Judge Lance Peterson swears in Carol Adair as the new Morris City Clerk at Monday's Morris City Council meeting.

MORRIS – Monday marked Morris City Clerk John Enger’s last day, and the official start of his replacement, Carol Adair – a familiar face.

During Monday’s regular council meeting, Adair was sworn in as City Clerk by Judge Lance Peterson.

“Becoming city clerk is exciting and humbling at the same time,” Adair said earlier in the day Monday. “I have big shoes to fill, replacing John Enger.”

Adair also is taking over as the city’s budget officer, which she will be appointed to at the next council meeting, Mayor Richard Kopczick said. She takes these positions after working in the city’s water department for years. Her role in that department is being filled by Mitzi Welch, who starts her new job Tuesday.

“We have such a great team of ladies who are very, very good at what they do in the city clerk’s office, which gives me such confidence that, during the time of transition and learning for me, everything will proceed smoothly,” she continued.

Adair has worked for the city of Morris in its water department since 2006. She has a financial background, as well as working previously as a mortgage loan officer.

The council approved the mayor’s appointment of Adair unanimously with Aldermen Duane Wolfe and Randy Larson absent. Alderman Bill Martin said after the meeting he was certain Adair would do well.

Monday was her first council meeting taking on the clerk’s duties during the meeting, including roll call and vote recordings.

“Carol has a background in banking and is willing to stand up to the challenge [of clerk and budget officer] and take it on,” Kopczick said. “I’m looking forward to working with Carol. She’ll work hard to bring herself up to speed.”

Because Enger is retiring before he is midway through his current term, Adair will have the seat until spring 2015 at which time a special election will be held for her to retain the seat until 2017. After those two years, the position will be up for election again for its full four-year term.

Enger has served the city for 37 years in multiple roles, including alderman. He retired from his positions as clerk and budget officer because of health issues. But for the next year, he is not going far.

Also during Monday’s council meeting, an independent contractor agreement was unanimously approved for Enger to be a financial consultant for the city for one year. He was not present at Monday’s meeting.

Enger will receive $1,800 a month for his consultant work.

Kopczick said previously the city’s budget should not have to be amended to accommodate this expense. The expense will fall under the city’s “other professional services” budget line item for the remaining three months in this fiscal year.

For professional services last year, the city spent about $22,000. The year before that it was about $11,000.

In other business, the council also approved paying Morris’ three public school districts more than $1.7 million from tax increment financing district funds. And also declaring a surplus of the remaining TIF dollars, which is about $436,000.

A TIF district freezes the assessed value of properties in the district. Any tax money from increases in value of those properties then goes into a special fund to be used to improve properties in the district.

With frozen property values, the schools receive less than if property values were up to date, but they receive more state aide this way.

The city and the schools have an agreement giving the schools up to 50 percent of the TIF funds to make up for dollars lost from frozen property values.

If it takes less than 50 percent to make up the schools’ loss, the remaining amount is declared surplus and divided among all of the city’s taxing bodies.

This year’s surplus monies of about $436,000 will be paid to the Grundy County Treasurer’s Office, which will distribute the dollars to all the city’s taxing bodies.

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