Trustee unhappy that outgoing Cahokia mayor is still making moves

CAHOKIA At least one village trustee is not happy that the outgoing mayor is still making decisions concerning the village.

Cahokia Mayor Gary Cornwell recently hired two full-time employees in the water and sewer departments with the support of board members Myra Gummersheimer, Kathi Carrico, Jerry Nichols, Courtney Moore and Joe Weatherford.

Trustee Phyllis Pearson was the lone “no” vote and said she did not like “his timing.” Cromwell lost his re-election bid in the April 7 election.

“He waited two weeks before the gavel was passed to the new mayor, Curtis McCall Jr., to bring on two full-time appointments. That kind of decision should be left to the new administration and board.

She also voted “no” on an ordinance related to a TIF project in the village — VanGuard Trucking Co. coming to Cahokia.

Keith Moran, of Moran Economic Development, a consultant to the village on TIF projects, said TIF District No. 1 is set to expire in 2021. “As a result of it expiring, we are only allowed to offer an incentive package for four to five years. So, we had to create a new TIF district to support this project,” Moran said.

“We’re going to make an approximately $6 million investment for the former Bob Brockland Buick GMC property, which now sits vacant. This project will be a huge boost for the village of Cahokia. They are going to do significant truck and parts sales at that location. That should transform into more than $100,000 in sales and property taxes. The village has not seen this kind of money since Brockland left,” Moran said.

The project is expected to create 66 new jobs. “It’s going to have a huge impact on the village,” Moran said.

Brockland relocated to Columbia, Ill.

After the meeting, Carrico said of Pearson, “She voted to give the Cahokia High School track team some money and “no” on something that is going to grow the community. We seriously needed this. That was wrong. Bringing Vanguard in is huge. This community is going to see some people get hired for jobs,” Carrico said. “That was disrespectful.”

The money to which Carrico referred is $1,000 that the board unanimously voted to give to the 11 members of the Cahokia High School track team, who qualified to go to The Great Southwest Track Classic on June 1 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Cornwell said he didn’t see any reason to wait on the things he did Tuesday night along with the majority board members. He said the TIF districts in Cahokia were created back in the 1980s. He said what the board did was key to the village’s growth. And, he said he was doing what was in the best interest of the people who live there.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.