O'Fallon Progress

Village of Shiloh paying ‘reasonable rates’ for current police station location

Shiloh Police chief Jim Stover
Shiloh Police chief Jim Stover snagy@bnd.com

With over $400,000 spent since 2008 on rent and a renovation of the building and space for the Village of Shiloh Police Department, the village now wants to end it’s lease agreement by the end of 2019 in hopes of finding a new building or land to build a new department and village hall soon.

“Before we moved the Shiloh Police to its current location, it was crammed into the building (at One Park Drive) where the village hall is now. And now, we are in the same position we were in 2008 — we need to expand,” Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said.

The village covered the cost of the building’s $124,535 renovation in 2008. The property is owned by Ambrosia Land Investments LLC, which in turn is owned by Steve Wilke, who is the owner of Wilke Window & Door and Norm’s Bargain Barn located in the same business district and parking lot as the department facility.

The decision on whether or not it will be fiscally responsible and necessary for a space needs analysis for a new police station and municipal building was tabled during a Sept. 19 committee meeting, but will be coming before the Board of Trustees at the 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 24 Committee at Large meeting for additional review.

The item was tabled due to trustees voting in favor of dedicating more time for reviewing the budget and seeing how a bond, loan or village funds could be used for construction of a new facility that is in a centralized location within the village and has ample room for expansion.

“To say the village has outgrown its current space at the police department and village hall is an understatement,” Vernier said.

One thing is for sure, the need for additional space exists, but now the village must decide on where to relocate to, he said.

“We have been having discussions, and are hoping that when the time comes, soon hopefully, we can build on village owned land,” Vernier said.

There are several parcels in Shiloh, some on Main Street, even, that Vernier said are potential locations to consider.

“We just don’t know where we are going to go right now,” he said. “Do we keep it in a location like it is now, or put it off Green Mount Road or put it in old Shiloh or in a more centralized location?”

Ideally, along Green Mount Road would be the best central location, he said.

“But there isn’t any village owned land along Green Mount per se, plus a lot of that area is undermined, and we want to avoid having to pay for remediation of mine subsidence down the line. Or there’s the option of putting it on some of our land at the Three Springs at Shiloh (undeveloped land) near the Three Springs Lake (behind the park), and then purchase some land around there to compensate,” Vernier said.

We need to have a place where residents and visitors can come to a central spot for both facilities and be able to have more direct access to our administrative offices like other (municipalities), but the way things are now, that’s not the case.

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier

According to documents obtained by the Progress through a Freedom of Information Act request, the village was paying $2,690 per month, totaling $32,280 a year, in 2008 for the 2,760-square-foot building with 19 vehicles and 20 employees.

By Sept. 30, 2013, the annual rate increase was set at 3 percent with $3,028 monthly and, $36,336 annually. But, that rate fell by 2 percent by 2014 with an annual cost of $37,068. Every year until 2017, the rate remains at 2 percent, before climbing again to 2.5 percent.

If the village continues through with the current lease agreement and renewals, it will have paid $406,404.38 just in rent expense, not including the 2008 renovations.

Currently, there are 16 vehicles and still 20 employees. There are 18 dedicated parking spaces, and two other spaces.

Shiloh Police Chief Jim Stover said the owner of the building is patient and accommodating, but is losing parking space availability for the other businesses in the lot like Norm’s Bargain Barn.

“We’ve run out of space for our own vehicles and for our employees to park, not including the visitors are having to park in the adjacent businesses spaces,” Stover said.

Since relocating to its current leased space at 3498 Lebanon Ave. in 2008, the Shiloh Police have continued to grow, and now is in dire “need of a new building,” Stover told the board of trustees in September.

According to Stover’s annual crime statistics report released in February, the range of statistical analysis from January to December 2014 and January to December 2015, shows although there were some decreases in calls for service in 22 categories, there were many increases.

The total number of calls for service in Shiloh escalated a little under 3 percent, which Stover said isn’t ideal, but it’s not bad, and it makes sense for a village that continues to grow with new construction.

“In 2010 we had 7,859 calls for service compared to 2015’s 11,362, so we’ve gone up 44 percent for our calls of service in five years,” Stover said previously.

Based on the annual rate per square foot, the village is paying approximately $12 per square foot, according to St. Clair County property tax records.

Tony Smallmon, a realtor with Barber Murphy and a Shiloh resident, said he also understands the need for a new location and facility to house the police station and village administration and offices.

“I live here, so personally, and on a professional level too, I don’t want to see our tax dollars go to waste here with this. They make do with what they have, but I think there’s not enough space and they need to do something now,” Smallmon said. “I’m very involved with the market, and I know, they need to buy land now before land prices spike to twice what they are now in the next five to 10 years. We are having a lot more land sales now and with the growth, especially with the latest developments underway, Shiloh is going to need a larger space to accommodate its police and village employees.”

According to Smallmon, the approximate $12 per square foot rental rate is “reasonable.”

Smallmon said the St. Clair County rate is approximately $13 to $14 per square foot.

“I think Steve Wilke has been very gracious with the village in offering such a decent price for rental of the building off Lebanon Avenue,” he said.

Vernier said, “there’s not too much unused wall space where Village Hall and the Police Station are right now. It’s just very tight, and we need to have a place where residents and visitors can come to a central spot for both facilities and be able to have more direct access to our administrative offices like other (municipalities), but the way things are now, that’s not the case.”

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch