Shiloh board welcomes new police officer
The village of Shiloh Board of Trustees agreed during its committee at large meeting on July 24 to move forward with a new study to investigate the feasibility and possible location of a new, joint village hall/police station.
In 2008, a space needs analysis was done by EWR Architects of Fairview Heights, the same company that handled city hall and St. Clare Catholic School, both in O’Fallon. But after the analysis was done, the village never took any further action.
Mayor Jim Vernier said the time had come to move.
“Let’s get this going. The police are in about the same situation as they were when they moved out of here (village hall) so many years ago,” he said. “The sardines are stickin’ out of the can, and you can’t get the lid closed anymore.”
The village rents the space for its current police station is at 3498 Lebanon Ave. Rent is over $3,000, monthly.
Finding a location is the first step. Then, what type of building is best. Both the spot and the architecture must be able to accommodate future growth, said village administrator Marquart.
“That’s kinda of the $64,000 question — or almost the chicken and the egg situation. You’re looking at what type of building you want. Then you look at where it’s gonna go, where you would like it to go and see if the building you would like fits on that particular piece of property,” he said.
Interim Police Chief Gary McGill, who has worked for the village since 1988 when he began as a patrolman, said the facility should should be in a “wide-open space” where there is “room to grow.”
“This joint-use facility is going to be our biggest legacy to Shiloh for the next 50 to 70 years. It’s going to be the biggest thing we do. Why go somewhere where we’re landlocked?” McGill said.
He said he is drafting a letter to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to inform the agency of the village’s inclination to use a 6-acre tract near Three Springs Park, off Frank Scott Parkway, for the facility.
“The village bought that using IDNR funds, so we have to get permission if we want to do anything else,” Marquart said.
However, Trustee Greg O’Neil said the location would be a “complete waste of prime retail space.”
Trustee Colleen Powers did not like the location, either.
“I think it’ll be a traffic nightmare,” she said.
Trustee Kurt Burrelsman said he didn’t think the Frank Scott Parkway location would be bad.
“Let’s look at the pros and cons of all options. If there’s a traffic light there, it shouldn’t be too bad,” Burrelsman said.
Other options discussed, but not entertained for long, were using the space that’s currently a baseball diamond next to the current village hall, and then building up with a multilevel facility, rather than sprawling out. Another option Vernier brought up was looking into property on Tamarack Drive past the church and homes.
Marquart said he would come up with a list of other possible locations, but they would be for board members’ eyes only.
“The other possible locations — we have to be judicious in that,” Marquart said. “Because, if other possible locations are privately owned, all of a sudden property values increase when property owners know that a municipality or anybody is looking at the possibility of purchasing that property.”
After talking with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Marquart said he is confident the village can qualify for a loan with a “next to nothing interest rate” to pay for a new facility.
PSEBA administrative hearings
A new ordinance passed establishing a Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (PSEBA) administrative hearing process in the village.
The act requires employers to provide health insurance benefits to full-time law police for firefighters who suffer a catastrophic injury or is killed on the job in the line of duty. The law also requires benefits to continued to be paid to the employee’s spouse and any children until they turn 26.
Until recently, only been home-rule communities have had the ability to establish an administrative hearing process to determine the eligibility of an employee under the act, Marquart said. Shiloh is a non-home-rule community, giving it little say in the process before it hits the court system before now.
Due to a recent court decision, Shiloh Village Attorney Terry Bruckert said non-home-rule communities, like Shiloh, can now have establish a hearing process.
“This gives us a voice,” Powers said.
Vernier and some board members noted that if someone is unable to work anymore or dies as a result of a catastrophic injury, there shouldn’t be a question of eligibility.
But there Bruckert said some injuries still allow for future jobs in other fields, and such situations can cause a municipality to be overly financially burdened, unnecessarily.
“For smaller communities, that (can) bankrupt your public pension program,” Bruckert said.
If a hearing process is needed, the mayor will appoint a hearing officer at the recommendation of the board of trustees. A hearing officer would need to have qualifications and be paid on a per diem basis, not salary, Bruckert said.
▪ Police patrolman James Korba was sworn in. He is slated to start work July 31. There is one police officer vacancy left, which is still in the candidate selection and testing process, bringing the police officer count to 20.
▪ The solid waste, recycling and yard waste contract was tabled again for the Aug. 28 committee meeting until there can be further research and discussions with staff, Waste Management and Republic Services, the company that holds the current trash contract with the village.
▪ Implementation of the community notification system CodeRed passed.
▪ A Joint agreement for construction and construction engineering services with the Illinois Department of Transportation for the phase one of the Shiloh-Scott Air Force Base Pedestrian Bike Enhancement passed.
▪ The board voted to submit a resolution to the state for Lebanon Avenue sidewalk improvements, using Motor Fuel Tax funds. The board also approved a construction engineering services agreement with Kaskaskia Engineering Group LLC.
▪ The final plat for phases 6 and 7 of the Villages at Wingate passed.
▪ A solicitor permit for Garrett Reifschneider of Edward Jones passed.