The O’Fallon Progress
Because of increased traffic downtown and parking issues at Kampmeyer Elementary School, the O’Fallon City Council has amended its traffic and parking ordinances.
At its Feb. 19 meeting, the council approved new stop signs being installed at Apple and First streets, now that O’Fallon Station is open and the new parking lot is being used.
They limited parking on North Smiley Street. While Kampmeyer Elementary School is in session, no parking will be permitted on the east side, from East Wesley to 200 feet north, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The school principal had told the city parents park on both sides of North Smiley Street, north of East Wesley Drive, during school days in order to drop off and pick up students.
The council also amended the MidAmerica Enterprise Zone to include a new provision authorizing the city and any other taxing district to abate its property taxes for each proposed project in the O’Fallon portion. The zone was established for the development of the Rieder Road area.
Each local taxing body — schools, township, Southwestern Illinois College — must approve separate resolutions allowing abatement of its own taxes. And then the abatement would take effect.
The next step is obtaining the resolutions from each taxing body. This allows them to voluntarily abate a portion of their property taxes for up to 10 years to incentivize industrial and commercial uses within the zone.
The area affected is E. Highway 50, including Commerce Drive, on the north, Illinois 158 on the west, Interstate 64 on the south and Silver Creek on the east. This area is either currently in the city limits or is planned to eventually be annexed into O’Fallon.
O’Fallon city officials have met with school districts 203 and 90. The push for development at Rieder Road is one of great potential for the city.
In other action, the council referred an amended roadblock request from the O’Fallon Kiwanis Club to committee for further discussion after debating protocol.
Roadblocks to benefit fundraising organizations have become a concern for several O’Fallon aldermen, often citing increased Friday night traffic.
The Kiwanis asked the council to amend their prior approval for a roadblock Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon to include Friday, Sept. 20, from 4 to 6 p.m., and then to remove Saturday, Oct. 5, if that’s approved.
The council had earlier denied the Friday night request, Alderman Ned Drolet said. He did not want to set a precedent and stressed consistency, as did Alderman Matthew Gilreath.
Gilreath said because citizens have complained about traffic issues, he thinks the council needs real transparency about these requests.
Alderman David Cozad suggested the public safety committee look at it.
“I think it needs further discussion in committee,” he said.
“We need to be consistent,” he said.
At the request of the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners, the council advanced another amendment so they could keep up to date about current practices regarding the expiration of the eligibility list.
The board asked so they could have an option between a 1-year and 2-year expiration of eligibility list, depending on the hiring needs at the time and with the consortium.
The amendment states that before the testing cycle for original appointment is held, the board shall determine and announce the expiration date of the final eligibility register — either one or not more than two years. A dated copy of the Final Eligibility Register will state registrants’ expiration dates.
O’Fallon is a home rule city.
The ordinance also states public safety members in good standing will be allowed to claim up to two additional preference points, as provided in the board rules. A separate lateral entry list is maintained by the board.
Mayor Herb Roach announced Police Chief Eric Van Hook, director of public safety, has been named Illinois Police Chief of the Year by his peers. He received a standing ovation.
The mayor also asked for a moment of silence for Vernon Monken, 96, of O’Fallon, who died Feb. 11. He was a former alderman and had served in World War II.
Additionally, Roach congratulated the O’Fallon Township High School girls’ bowling team for being the first OTHS team to win a state championship title in any sport. The police led a parade through town when the team arrived home. The city plans to recognize the team at a later council meeting.