The Collinsville City Council approved the purchase of property for the relocation of the city’s water treatment plant, a project that was stalled for years due to litigation.
The previously considered site for an expansion of the water plant was three acres at the Jaycees Sports Complex, owned by the city and leased to the Collinsville Area Recreation District. But CARD sued the city in 2014, alleging the project would violate the terms of their lease.
The expansion would also have eliminated at least one baseball field from the Collinsville park, CARD leaders said at the time.
Because the Jaycees Sports Complex land was purchased under the Open Space Land Acquisition grant program from the Department of Natural Resources, the land is required to be used for outdoor recreation.
Never miss a local story.
The city would have had to convert the property out of the grant program by purchasing another property of an equal or greater fair market value and developing that “replacement” land for outdoor recreational use. The three-acre site at the sports complex previously appraised for $98,500.
Public Works Director Dennis Kress noted in a report about the water plant project that considering a different property altogether allows the project to move forward despite the lawsuit.
At its Monday night meeting, the city council approved buying property at 9525 Collinsville Road, east of Rural King, for $55,000 from Luken Investment Company.
This property includes a 10-acre site that has been “unused and overgrown” since the 1970s, Kress wrote in the report. The plan is to build the water plant on the rear of the property and make three acres in front of it available for commercial use.
Interim City Manager Mitch Bair called the new site “financially better” and a “tremendous win.” Across the street, Kress said a well, maintenance garage and million-gallon ground storage tank will remain at the old water treatment plant site.
The relocation is expected to cost an estimated $110,000 in redesign fees and construction costs — on top of the $55,000 cost for the property. Additional expenses will come from adding piping and an access road to the plant, as well as clearing the site.
Kress estimated construction would begin in October or November this year and finish in October or November of 2018.
During the meeting, Councilman Jeff Stehman thanked Kress for helping the city get out of a “sticky situation” with the CARD lawsuit.
New fire truck
The council also approved the purchase of a new fire truck for $900,233, funded by the city’s capital improvement program.
This truck is a quintuple combination pumper, or quint, which serves the dual purpose of an engine and a ladder truck. Bair called it the “Swiss army knife” of trucks at the Jan. 25 special meeting, when council members heard a presentation from the fire department about the truck and bid process.
The department’s old truck is more than 22 years old and required $73,963 in maintenance in the last seven years. It was out of service twice in January alone. The old truck will be put on reserve.
A committee of Collinsville firefighters, which oversaw the bid process and made a recommendation to the council, requested, among other things, that a Kahoks symbol be included on both sides of the new truck to show the department’s support of the community.
The projection for fire department equipment costs in the CIP is $800,000, or $100,000 per year over eight years. Finance Director Tamara Ammann recommended the truck be financed through Bank of Edwardsville, with a lease rate of 2.75 percent, for a 10-year lease so that the annual payment would be close to $100,000.
The cost breakdown:
▪ Annual payment: $104,192.72
▪ Financing cost: $141,694.20
▪ Total cost: $1,041,927
In other business
The council also approved the following:
▪ Spending $60,565.50 to continue groundwater monitoring by Tetra Tech, Inc., while the city waits for the Illinois Pollution Control Board to approve the city’s petition to permanently close the city landfill. Kress said during the meeting he believed the city’s petition had likely been granted because he received a 37-page document at the end of the day Monday from the board but did not have time to read it. Officials estimate the city closed the landfill in 1976; Collinsville has been required to pay for groundwater monitoring quarterly ever since.
▪ Amending the utility tax ordinance. The amendment will not affect the newly established 4 percent utility tax rate or the rebate program. Rather, it will correct the kilowatt-hour steps required by the Illinois Commerce Commission. The ordinance approved at the Jan. 22 meeting included a technical mistake made by the city’s utility tax auditor, Azavar Government Solutions. The utility tax rate will now take effect on April 1 instead of March 1. Councilwoman Nancy Moss and Councilman Jeff Kypta voted against the amendment.
▪ Supporting police chiefs in Madison and St. Clair counties in their efforts to avoid forced consolidation of public-safety answering points (PSAPs) — or 911 call centers — through a resolution that will be sent to state legislators. The resolutions urges lawmakers to provide Madison and St. Clair counties an exemption from consolidation that is required under the Emergency Telephone Systems Act that went into effect Jan. 2.
▪ Authorizing the expenditure of $2,254.80 in tax increment financing money to Friday’s South, 106 W. Main St., for the installation of a new fence to surround a future beer garden.
The city council meets next at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at City Hall, 125 S. Center St.