Changing of the guard in Waterloo  

Pictured, from left, are all those sworn into new terms Monday night on the Waterloo City Council, Jason Goff (Ward III Alderman), Jim Hopkins (Ward II Alderman), Joel Vogt (Ward I Alderman), Stan Darter (Mayor), Mechelle Childers (City Clerk), Brad Papenberg (City Treasurer) and Gary Most (Ward IV Alderman).  

Monday marked a changing of the guard for the Waterloo City Council, as a new mayor and three new aldermen were officially sworn into office before a large crowd.

But before a new council could be seated, the existing council approved the official canvass of votes from the April 4 election as recorded by Monroe County Clerk Jonathan McLean. 

Outgoing mayor Tom Smith, who was defeated by challenger Stan Darter – an outgoing Ward III alderman – with a final count of 1,573 votes to 1,466 (51.76 to 48.24 percent), was not present at the meeting. Serving as mayor pro tem in Smith’s absence was outgoing longtime Ward IV Alderman Clyde Heller. 

“Mayor Smith asked me to stand in this evening,” Heller told those in attendance. “He felt that this is a special evening for the mayor-elect, Stan Darter, and that you deserve all the attention tonight.”

With that, the outgoing city council approved the April 4 vote tally and adjourned for the final time. 

The meeting resumed with seven swearing-in ceremonies: incumbent city clerk Mechelle Childers, Darter, incumbent treasurer Brad Papenberg, new aldermen Joel Vogt (Ward I), Jason Goff (Ward III) and Gary Most (Ward IV), plus incumbent Ward II Alderman Jim Hopkins.

The first order of business for the newly elected mayor was to honor the past one, even though Smith wasn’t present. Darter displayed to attendees the plaque that will be given by the city to Smith for his 20 years of service – 16 as mayor and four as alderman.

Darter said Smith “did a lot of good things for the City of Waterloo and we appreciate everything that he did, and his service to the City of Waterloo for the past 20 years.”

Among the action items for this new council Monday night included approval of a joint funding agreement between the city and Illinois Department of Transportation authorizing funding in the amount of $718,193 for the Moore Street Phase VII project. 

This is for road work on the segment of Moore Street from Route 3 to .2 miles north of Columbia Avenue, which is expected to take place this summer. 

“It’s been awhile but we’ve finally gotten to the end,” Waterloo Director of Public Works Tim Birk said of the Moore Street project.

Also approved by the council Monday night was a 192.GIS license agreement between the city and Utility Safety & Design Inc. for a revamping of the city’s mapping system. 

Darter explained that this was a project he started on about a year ago as a modern way to replace the city’s existing 61 utility books. 

Birk agreed, adding that “this basically takes us from paper mapping to the digital age.” 

Birk added that each city utility department will now have an iPad Pro device to be able to locate all of the different utilities in every subdivision. 

The two-year deal for this GIS-based software mapping system will cost the city $17,265 in the first year and $11,515 in year two.

The council also gave the go-ahead on a purchase of three 2023 Ford Explorers for the Waterloo Police Department at a total cost of $121,965 from Morrow Brothers Ford, subsequently also approving police equipment for these new vehicles at a total cost of $31,498 from DataTronics.

Also receiving approval was the purchase of four radios for the WPD at a cost of $13,858.34 from Motorola.

Following a similar action taken by the Monroe County Board earlier Monday, the Waterloo City Council approved two measures related to the changing of the official Monroe/Randolph County Enterprise Zone map.

This is due to a company’s interest in developing “solar farm” areas in two Randolph County communities, with other municipalities in the enterprise zone taking this opportunity to make any other necessary revisions to enterprise zone boundaries.

In the public comments portion, 26-year Waterloo resident Barb Reinholz – who identified herself as “very pro-life” – asked the council to make sure that something gets put in city code prohibiting the operation of Planned Parenthood mobile abortion units in city limits. 

“Planned Parenthood is very sneaky. I don’t want to be blind-sided,” Reinholz said. “I’m doing everything in my power to keep our community as pro-life as we can be.”

The next meeting of the Waterloo City Council takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 15, at City Hall.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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