O'Fallon Progress

Village of Shiloh will help pay for school consolidation study

The Shiloh Village Board on Monday authorized a $5,000 contribution toward the school consolidation feasibility study being organized by the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce.

The board voted 5-1 in favor of the resolution, with Trustee Bob Weilmuenster the lone no vote.

An in-depth study would look at all the different possibilities for consolidation. Options could include consolidating just the elementary school districts, Shiloh 85, Central 104 and O’Fallon 90; or just Central 104 and O’Fallon 90; or just one elementary district and O’Fallon Township High School (OTHS) District 203; or consolidating all four into one unit district.

The boards of education for all four school districts in O’Fallon and Shiloh have said they support conducting the study, which would only be the first part of any consolidation process. Ultimately, it would be up to the individual school boards and/or voters to determine what action — if any — should be taken toward implementing any consolidation proposal once the study is completed.

Cost for such as study could range from $12,000 to $25,000, which the districts said they did not have the money to pay for, hence need for outside donations, such as the one from the village. The O’Fallon City Council also previously approved a $7,500 contribution toward the study.

Also, it was thought having third-parties, such as the chamber and municipal governments involved, would lend more credibility to the study’s findings, whatever they may be.

Other Business

▪ The board authorized the mayor to sign a proposal from FBM Architects for predesign work on updating a space needs analysis for a new municipal complex that would include administrative space and police department.

“They (FBM Architects) are doing this analysis for no cost, so long as we give them consideration for being involved in the next phase of the project — that being the design,” said Village Administrator John Marquart.

In 2008, a space needs analysis was done, but the village never took any further action on it.

The resolution passed 5-0, with Weilmuenster abstaining.

▪ The board gave approval for the mayor to sign the final plat for phases six and seven for The Villages at Wingate.

“It’s in the back portion of the Wingate subdivision,” Marquart said.

The development is being constructed and platted in phases.

“Road work is going in,” Marquart said. “We’ve approved street lights in that neighborhood.”

Marquart said the plats had been reviewed and are in accord with previously reviewed plats. Construction for the development was approved by one review for the entire project, and that latest phases are also in accord with that approval, he said.

▪ The board gave approval for the mayor to sign an agreement with the CodeRED for a new community notification system.

CodeRED is like a reverse 911 system, where the village can notify residents about urgent situations that may be occurring in the community. CodeRED is able to send notifications in several ways: landline phone message, cell phone message, text message, TTY, and email. With CodeRED, the village can inform residents of situations such as a weather emergency, water boil advisory, a lost child, or a street issue.

There will be no cost for residents to sign up for the service.

The one-year contract between the village and CodeRED is not to exceed $6,739 per year.

▪ The board gave approval for the mayor to sign an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation for local participation in a federal program that would aid in paying for engineering and construction on the Shiloh-Scott Air Force Base Pedestrian/Bike Trail.

“This is another project that’s been going on since about four years ago — since the original grant,” said Mayor Jim Vernier. “We are finally getting it done.”

Phase one of the project would be from Southridge Drive to Johnson Road. Participation with IDOT, through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, could mean $244,025, or 80 of the cost of the first phase. The village would be responsible for the remainder, $48,805, which would be paid for out of motor fuel tax funds.

▪ The board approved the mayor signing an engineering agreement with Kaskaskia Engineering Group for the Lebanon Avenue sidewalk project. The plan is for new sidewalks from Towerview Baptist Church at 2401 Lebanon Ave. to Sierra Drive. The estimated cost to the village is $42,107.06, which will be paid for out of motor fuel tax funds.

▪ The board approved adopting a new ordinance to allow for administrative hearings to determine disability eligibility for public safety employees.

Per state law, municipalities are required to pay health insurance benefits to public safety employees (police officers, firefighters, etc.) who suffer catastrophic injuries in the line of duty. If they are killed on the job, their spouse and/or children are still entitled to coverage.

Home-rule communities have always had the ability to hold an administrative hearing on any such request for benefits, but smaller municipalities never had that right until recently, due to a court ruling.

Under the new ordinance, the hearing officer would be a person appointed by the mayor and approved by the Village Board.

Employees would still have the right to appeal any decision made in the hearing officer to the courts.

▪ The board authorized issuing a solicitor permit to Garrett Reifschneider, representing Edwards Jones. The vote was 5-1, with Trustee Kurt Burrelsman voting no. Burrelsman said he votes no on solicitor permits as a matter of policy. He said he thinks the police department has too many other things to deal with than solicitor issues.