O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon increases oversight for city investments

The O’Fallon City Council now has authority to review and approve how the city’s money is invested.

After weeks of discussion at committee meetings, the council agreed on Oct. 1 to amend its investment policy to include rules and policies that would provide more guidelines on city investments.

The policy formalizes the finance director’s role as the investment officer. City Finance Director Sandy Evans currently manages the internal controls for investments and money management, along with the treasurer, who will continue to provide guidance and consultation.

The staff had proposed that an Advisory Investment Committee review the requests for proposals and make recommendations to the council. That committee will be the treasurer, finance director, city administrator, finance committee chair and the mayor.

The council will receive and can approve changes to the quarterly reports given at the Finance and Administration Committee meeting.

Aldermen, who were for it, wanted clarification on some details. The matter was up for approval in early September, but a special meeting was called for the finance committee on Sept. 11. However, at the Sept. 17 meeting, several aldermen said they had more questions, and did not want it passed without another opportunity to go through it.

Alderman Matthew Gilreath, one of the most vocal seeking further discussion, said he fully supported the amendment. He was pleased with the process.

“It let us work together,” he said.

In other action, the council approved two development projects for the city, including final approval for Aberdeen Village, which will be a townhouse and retail development on Scott-Troy Road, north of East Highway 50.

The council approved a medical office building on Regency Park but modified the ordinance, with help of the developer, so that that cross access could be considered in the future if necessary or the property changed hands.

Alderman Matt Smallheer said the applicant requested alternate language about the cross easement, which the council agreed to do.

He said the concern over cross easement traffic was out of respect for the gravely ill patients who would be using the facility. However, if the use changes or there is a change in ownership, this can be reviewed.

Aldermen Dan Witt and David Cozad recused themselves because of conflicts of interest with the developers.

Mayor Herb Roach said Illinois American Water Co. will switch back to their normal disinfectant to treat water, which is chlorine and ammonia combined. Dialysis patients and renal care facilities should be aware of these changes and adjust their health care practices accordingly.

“The city of O’Fallon buys treated water wholesale from the private company, Illinois American, and then pumps it to all water customers. Therefore, Illinois American treats the water prior to its delivery to the City of O’Fallon’s pumping station in French Village,” he said.

Roach introduced the latest officer to join the police department – Nikki Brown. She has 10 years’ experience in St. Louis County.

“She brings a lot of experience to the department, from patrolman to special assignments and teaching,” the mayor said.

Police Chief Eric Van Hook said the department has been able to add two police officers this year, to help fill positions that had been reduced several years ago. Three have been approved.

“We’ve seen our population increase since 2009, in part because of the new homes and our beautiful parks,” the mayor said. “We now have the McKendree Rec Plex, new visitors and that adds to traffic, other growing pains and problems.”

Van Hook was grateful for the additions.

“We want to hire the best possible officers, and we feel very blessed to do so. Nikki brings 10 years’ experience with her,” he said.

Brown, who was born in Belleville, served as a school resource officer in the Hazelwood School District in the North County precinct, and part of the MetroLink unit. She was an adjunct instructor in criminal justice at Lindenwood University and has taught at the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy since 2015. She has both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in criminal justice.

In a follow-up to their last meeting, the council approved a resolution in support of the Stoplight Campaign for the intersection of Scott Troy Road and Old Vincennes Trail and Borchers Lane.

Debbie LaFreniere, one of the group’s organizers, had asked the council for support at the Sept. 17 meeting. Supporters say the road is heavily traveled with the steady stream of vehicles traversing from Troy or other parts to the north and Scott Air Force Base or Interstate 64 to the south.

Because of the congestion, turning or crossing vehicular movements from Old Vincennes Trail or Borchers Lane are often difficult and dangerous, with only the two-way stop intersection traffic control.

The council agreed, noting it is especially true in the morning and evening, when vehicle flow to and from Scott AFB is the highest.

Scott-Troy Road is under St. Clair County jurisdiction. The city has jurisdiction over Old Vincennes and Borchers Lane, although Borchers Lane is a Township road past the Braeswood subdivision.

The council approved a similar resolution in September 2015. They have sent a letter to St. Clair County as a follow-up.

The council approved a minor subdivision to be known as the The Estates at Joseph’s Farm at 541 O’Fallon-Troy Road. On 4 acres of an existing 114.53-acre parcel, Kevin Joseph wants to build a single-family residence. The plat meets the city code requirements.

The whole parcel is outside city limits, but the 4 acres is within a mile and a half review area. It will use Caseyville water and an on-site septic system.

The council also updated their lease agreement with the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce for the O’Fallon Depot building, located at 116 E. First St. in downtown O’Fallon. The lease is for three years and can be automatically extended for successive three-year periods unless a request for a change is presented 60 days before renewal.

The council approved a request from the Kiwanis Club of O’Fallon to conduct a roadblock on Dec. 8 from noon to 4 p.m., as previous approved date was rained out.

The mayor noted that Halloween trick-or-treating hours in the city will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

A Town Hall meeting will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

An ordinance annexing 0.11 acres, at 308 Windsor Forest Road and 309 Windsor Forest Road, also was approved. The property owners, Ronald and Teresa Mussatto and Lonny Nichols, have each filed a petition to be annexed by the city.

Edie Huff, a sixth-grader at Joseph Arthur Middle School, was the Mayor for a Day.

Lynn Venhaus: lynnvenhaus@gmail.com