O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon looking to amend its hotel regulations

O’Fallon hotels, motels, lodging or rooming houses cannot charge an hourly rate and will now be required to charge a daily rate only and must have an employee on duty 24 hours, seven days a week, at the registration desk.

To make the present ordinance more specific in requirements, the O’Fallon City Council advanced an amendment on first reading March 20, with final approval expected April 3.

The current ordinance was deemed deficient because it did not require the owner, proprietor, manager or other person in charge to have an employee on duty at all times.

The amendment states that the person in charge must be vigilant, and while an attendant need not be physically present at the point of registration at all times if they are attending to other duties, but must be immediately available to register a person wishing to rent a room.

The ordinance also did not specify whether the rates charged to registered guests were computed by the hour or the day.

The amendment makes it unlawful to charge an hourly rate or a partial rate, except to accommodate a late checkout. The rental of a room on a barter agreement is strictly prohibited, too.

With full support of Police Chief Eric Van Hook, the Public Safety Committee recommended the changes in the best interests of city residents and guests of the establishments.

(Editor’s note: An early version of this story incorrectly reported that the city of O’Fallon set a daily/nightly rate of $119.04 as a minimum for hotels, motels, lodging or rooming houses. The ordinance discussed and voted on by the O’Fallon City Council at the March 20 meeting does not set a daily/nightly rate minimum. The number “119.04” referred to the chapter and section number of the city of O’Fallon’s Code of Ordinances that details hotel/motel registration. The Progress misinterpreted a section (§) sign, which is commonly used in legal code, with a dollar ($) sign, resulting in the confusion. The city of O’Fallon does not set a price that a hotel/motel can charge their guests.)

Other Business

▪ The council approved first reading of the budget for the fiscal year beginning May 1, and ending April 30, 2018, in an 11-1 vote, with Alderman Robert Kueker opposed. A published copy is available at City Hall. The budget will be up for final approval April 3. This budget reflects expenditures in all funds of $81,266,735, which are equally balanced by revenue. It is an increase of 20 percent, compared to the previous year, with the reason being the $9.6 million allocation for the Destination O’Fallon Project.

▪ An ordinance establishing 501 N. Cherry St. as a local historic landmark moved forward to April 3. John and Joy Bode requested the designation, and the Historic Preservation Commission conducted a public hearing March 7, recommending approval because it meets the requirements. It must have significance or value as part of the historical, cultural, artistic, social, ethnic, political, or other heritage of the community, state or nation or be identified with a person who significantly contributed to the development of the community, county, state or nation.

▪ Resolutions adopted included a TIF redevelopment agreement for Bike Surgeon, at 201 E. State St., which is owned by Jon Greenstreet. The business relocated to downtown and has been extensively remodeled on the inside. Future exterior renovations will occur over time. The agreement provides for 75 percent of increment generated by the property to be returned to the property owner for the eligible costs, not to exceed a total of $556,550, as outlined in the agreement. It is unlikely that the increment generated through future assessments will generate anywhere close to his eligible costs. Minor adjustments made to the timing of the annual payout of the eligible cost to align with the time frames of the finance department.

▪ An amendment between Shiloh and O’Fallon to the Coordinated Communication Services contract, which went into effect May 1, 2016 as approved. For renewal, the city and village want terms to include an annual increase in fiscal year 2018.Shiloh has agreed to pay $120,000 for services rendered. The contract will be in effect from May 1, to April 30, 2018.

▪ A right-of-way use agreement with McLeod USA Telecommunications Services, operating as Windstream of Little Rock, Ark., to construct 13,000 linear feet of fiber optic cable in O’Fallon was approved. They are primarily serving as a redundancy service provider to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

▪ The council consented to the Illinois Telecommunicator Emergency Response Task Force Intergovernmental Agreement. TERT is a mutual aid task force for telecommunicators throughout the state. If a state of emergency occurs, they can request assistance from additional telecommunicators.

▪ The council also approved the re-appointment of Patricia Cavins, Rebecca Pickett, Larry Sewell, Ray Rohr, Al Keeler, Debbie Arell-Martinez and Joe Rogers to the Planning Commission.