Hours before the start of the regular July Warsaw City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27 at City Hall, “Hancock County 911 received a report of gunshots being fired from the south side of the Place de Carthage. [at 3:14 p.m.].” Those arriving at City Hall for the meeting heard City Clerk Julie Haack receiving phone calls from the City of Nauvoo and shortly thereafter City Attorney Tom Hartzell, Esq. arrived safe and sound from Carthage and said: “The suspect has been identified and taken into custody.” The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office issued a report stating the same and said at the time, “There is [was] no threat to public safety.
Along with Hartzell and Haack were present at the Warsaw City Council meeting in July Alderman Alan Leffler (Ward 3), Alderman Kim Nagel (Ward 2), Alderman Tyler McLaughlin (Ward 1), Mayor of Warsaw Mike Heisler, Alderman Priscilla Blecha (Ward 1), Alderman David Krum (Ward 2) and Alderman Jeff Brookhart (Ward 3). Several members of the public were also in attendance, some of whom registered with the city to address council at the July meeting.
Agenda items three through six were dealt with approval of previous meeting minutes, approval of financial reports and filing for audit, approval of invoices against various accounts and approval of the agenda. Mayor Heisler reported that on one of the bills – the one that was recently on the table with WL Miller – was negotiated by city treasurer Jennifer Brinkschroeder, “to only pay half,” which has then brought Alderman McLaughlin to make a motion to approve the bills. then seconded and subsequently approved to end the issue that was at issue on this invoice.
After that, Heisler opened the floor to the audience. A two-pronged issue was at play with an area resident updating the council on the status of his dog who was recently in the newspaper following an ongoing public outcry and investigation stemming from the fact that his dog escaped and attacked a child last August and another more recent incident in which the dog allegedly attacked another resident’s dog being walked on a leash. But the dog issue was not the only issue on this resident’s agenda. The resident asked about a two-year-old bill he had submitted to the city for approval to be paid in the amount of $6,955 for services he says he provided to the city in an apparent verbal agreement which he said was made between him and an unnamed city worker using the resident’s backhoe and other riverside equipment during an emergency rescue operation.
Area resident Chris Koltzenburg addressed the council first talking about the issue with his dog saying, “Good evening council, I am the owner of the dog that caused all the fuss. First of all I want to apologize for the dog that caused the hoarse – it was never my intention for this to happen – to happen at all. It was an unfortunate incident and I wish it had never happened, but I believe we need to move on – after this incident – and move on. I’ve had the dog checked in an environment in the last month – I’ve raised the fence to seven and a half feet – I’m electrifying the fence – so she can’t come out. When she came out we had no other bite issues – except for – the lady – who is my dog - my neighbor’s dog – who I still have – I have questions – we have had this discussion at the county council meeting two weeks ago. Uh, the county is under review…– the state’s attorney was there – reviewing – putting an investigation… investigation underway – that’s where we are with the dog. But otherwise, when she bit – the dog bit Brookhart’s child – it was never intentional – it was an unfortunate accident. I went through all the proper procedures with Mike – Mike Wright – the dog – county animal control – and him – we went through it – and we entered a 10 day quarantine and went to the vet. The vet kept her for 10 days and I asked the vet – “Do you think she is vicious” and she said, “by gut – by far not at all.” And so, I understand where we are here – I’m not happy with the dog – but he’s not a slimy dog - but as Mike told the county council two weeks ago – I’m like you – I want everyone to be able to walk the streets and feel safe – I’m getting my dog checked – and – and not going out – if – she’s going to be neutered – it’ll help her control herself better – if we still have an incident – then I will probably remove her from the city of Warsaw. That’s what I’m telling you, okay.
And regarding my invoice – my invoice was not submitted due to the dog – ok – you must understand that – my invoice was submitted due to other unforeseen circumstances from a public employee of the city – that I feel like I caused me work – and that’s what cost me work and income – and that’s why I submitted this bill – the dog didn’t is not why I submitted this invoice – you have to understand this – it’s completely separate.
Before Council considered whether to approve the invoice submitted by Koltzenburg in the amount of $6,955, a motion was presented to approve a building permit for the demolition of a house located at 650 Lafayette. The permit did not include the demolition of a garage near the structure to be demolished and several council members asked “why not” the garage would be included in the demolition but then provided no definitive answer, Alderman Nagel saying, “he says the garage remains” before later approving the building permit for the house to be demolished by the resident who had applied for it.
When Council then reached agenda item number 10 – Koltzenburg’s bill for $6,955, Alderman Brookhart said, “My thoughts are, what’s stopping anyone someone else to charge us two years later for something? [there was no real contract with].” Alderman Leffler took the floor and then pulled out a photo of the job site in question and the equipment that was used on the job site during the work that was being done for which the invoice had been submitted. At that point, with everyone looking at the photo, Alderman McLaughlin asked Koltzenburg, “Why did you wait so long?” Koltzenburg replied, “Why did I wait so long? ‘Cause when I was doing the job – I was asked [by someone at the city] to come and do the job – and I had a good relationship with this person – and he worked for the city – I’m not going to name names – because I think we know who it is and everything. But it came to my knowledge afterwards – after we heard about it – he sort of heard about the dog incident – and I don’t know why he even got involved in it – it was none of his business – he went – a a customer went to see him – from mine – and needed water for his house – he told this customer he didn’t want me – me uses – he wanted this client to hire someone else.
At this point, Alderman McLaughlin said: ‘You realize you’re attacking the whole town for your problems with one person – you do realize that, don’t you? You’re attacking the whole town for – you realize that $6,955 -” To which Koltzenburg said, “that bill could have been much higher…I left out a bit…but what about is there income i have lost from this person [saying bad things about me]. At this point, Alderman Leffler interjected, “I don’t know what he’s telling the others…” Koltzenburg continued, “I’m afraid my income has been hit – that I’ve lost work – how can I know he won’t keep doing it [speak badly of me] – it is one of the employees of your city. McLaughlin said the argument was beyond “his reach” and that “it wasn’t his problem” – that he “had nothing to do with it – the city has nothing to do with it” . To which Koltzenburg said, “if he never says anything – then I’m not submitting this bill – I’m afraid my income has been hit – I’ve lost work – how do I know he’s not continuing don’t have to – he’s one of your city employees. McLaughlin reiterated that “what he says or may have said – is not my problem. To which Koltzenburg pointed out, “he asked to come over there and do the job. What am I supposed to do – just eat it?”
Alderman Krum then spoke up, saying: “from a personal point of view… basically what you just said – whatever happened – harming your income – this bill does not would never have been submitted. Koltzenburg confirmed, “yeah.” Krum said then: “From a personal perspective – whatever happened – I totally agree with Tyler – it shouldn’t have any bearing on the city itself.” Koltzenburg, now apparently more distressed, said: “I don’t get any more calls from the city for work – so it hurt me – because I don’t get any more calls to work for the city – and I usually do a lot of work for the city – so I don’t [now] – so I lost income that way.
Krum said: “I think on this one – in particular – it’s submitted – apart from just a regular invoice being submitted – there was no prior contract – no prior knowledge – hey, I’m going to do this work – it’s going to cost that much – and that’s a personal reason why he’s submitted.
Koltzenburg continued to defend his reasons for submitting the bill – but encountered more opposition and Alderman Blecha told him directly that it was “not the city’s responsibility to pay a bill submitted two years earlier. late for a job that someone had volunteered for”. Arguing then that he “did not volunteer” for the position but went to work for the city as part of the job he is now seeking reimbursement for, the city did not back down.
Heisler then took command and said, “I know you did the job, I was there, but you were volunteering when you did the job – and there were other factors – so I don’t think that we can open a box of worms [if we pay this and others start submitting bills they feel they are entitled to for work they have volunteered for].”
Koltzenburg again insisted that he had not volunteered – that he “was asked to do the job”.
Brookhart then made a motion not to pay the bill and it was then seconded and approved not to be paid. Koltzenburg then stood up and left the meeting. The meeting continued with eight more agenda items to be dealt with and another resident arrived at the very end of the meeting apologizing for being late saying she had registered for speak at the July council meeting and asked if she could still do so. Mayor Heisler said she could and the meeting was then not adjourned for another 15 minutes – having then lasted nearly 2 hours in total.
Warsaw City Council holds its regular council meeting on the last Wednesday of every month. If anyone from the public wishes to address the Council, they are required to register with the Council 24 hours prior to the scheduled meeting. Council meetings are open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend.