Metro-East News

New I-255 interchange could become a reality if grant funding comes through

A project to build a new interchange at Interstate 255 and Imbs Station Road in Dupo could finally receive the funding it needs if St. Clair County can attract state grant funding.

The county's 2011 comprehensive plan says building the interchange would facilitate industrial and commercial growth in Dupo. A new business park, to be called the Discovery Business Park, was proposed at the time for Dupo and East Carondelet but never materialized.

County Board officials on Monday approved funding for an engineering study into the proposed interchange. The study will be submitted to Illinois Competitive Freight Program, which could provide a grant for the project.

The county will pay $19,927 from the County Bridge Fund to Kansas City, Missouri-based engineering firm Burns and McDonnell, Inc. to prepare the study and grant application.

Proposals to build the interchange have circulated since the early 2000s, though the project never got off the ground, even after a preliminary engineering study in 2007, according to previous reporting. In 2011, the Federal Highway Administration came to an agreement to protect archaeological resources that could be encountered on the land if disturbed.

In other business, County Board members approved a 39 percent reduction in the amount of taxes it needs to collect from property owners in 2018.

Board members approved a total tax levy of $64.8 million in September. The revenue from tax levies will be used to pay the county's bills for 2017. They reduced that number to roughly $39 million, a $25.8 million reduction.

For the owner of a $100,000 home, the cost is $3.69 per year or 30 cents per month at a 1.1 percent tax rate, according to County Administrator Debra Moore. That amount is only for the county and does not include other taxing bodies like school, municipal or library districts, which can add up to more than 10 percent in some areas of the county. The county's tax rate was 1.08 percent for 2016, according to property tax records.

The final abated levy includes more than $300,000 in additional funding for the County Mental Health Board, said Executive Director Dana Rosenzweig, who said the increased funds would help "improve access to care and expand resources."

The Mental Health Board will receive $2.4 million in funding. Much of the Board's funding goes toward substance abuse treatment programs.

Other business

  • County Board members approved a renewal of a contract with Kansas City, Missouri-based Lockton, the insurance company that insures MidAmerica Airport.

  • The Board approved an $82,635 agreement with New England-based consulting firm BerryDunn to explore options for a new system to manage information in the Circuit Clerk's office. The consultant will complete a search for bids by April 30, according to the agreement.

  • Board members approved a transfer of just less than $500,000 from the 2017 St. Clair County Park Projects fund for improvements to Engelmann Park in Shiloh.

  • The Board approved a $1.4 million bid from JTC Petroleum Company for more than 3,700 tons of asphalt products.
  • The Board approved a proclamation in honor of Vera Ann Mitchell, who will retire Thursday after 30 years and four months of working for the county. She began working as a switchboard operator for the County Public Building Commission in 1987.
  • The Board approved the replacement of three trustees on local fire and water district boards. John C. Parke will complete the unexpired term for the Prairie DuPont Fire District of John Stellwag, who died recently. Parke's term will expire May 1, 2020. Michael R. Richter will complete the Emerald Mound-Lebanon Fire Protection District unexpired term of Edgar Brockhahn, Jr., who died recently. That term expires May 1, 2020.

  • The Board approved an agreement with Commerce Trust Company to act as investment manager for the St. Clair County Post Employment Health Insurance Trust.

Kelsey Landis: 618-239-2110, @kelseylandis