The O’Fallon Progress
For those paying property taxes in O’Fallon, the mayor’s news Monday was the best kind of déjà vu.
Mayor Herb Roach announced the good news from St. Clair County — O’Fallon’s tax rate was the same as 2011; that’s how much of a rollback the city had achieved.
Officially, that’s .948 for this year, compared to .941 in 2011. In 2018, it was .9837.
City Administrator Walter Denton said this is after the city submitted an estimated figure in December, and set after all the reviews and appeals are completed by St. Clair County.
Roach was so ecstatic about sharing the news that before he revealed it, he asked Budget Director Sandy Evans to stand, then Alderman Bob Kueker, the finance committee chair, and his committee — Aldermen John Distler, John Drolet, Mark Morton and Dan Witt (Ned Drolet was absent) — budget department staff, and then department heads, city administrators, the city staff and the rest of the City Council also to stand. He also included former aldermen Matt Smallheer and Richie Meile, now on the St. Clair County Board, for their work.
“We are able to go back to where we were because of the efforts of each and every one of you,” he said.
The news was met with a hearty round of applause. Roach had predicted the city could do this while he was campaigning in 2016.
Roach also announced more good savings news — this time from the electric company.
The city recently performed lighting upgrades on all eligible city buildings and recreation areas, using Ameren Illinois’ Energy Efficiency Small Business Program Incentives, which meant it was free. This no-cost to the city also extended to labor.
“We were able to replace thousands of older lights with brand new LED fixtures,” Roach said.
Working with Ameren Illinois and their approved contractor, Jarvis Electric, the city was able to install these new LED bulbs for free, he said. The life expectancy of LED lights are longer.
This program serves all small businesses and public facilities who are Ameren Illinois electric customers.
The council amended the franchise agreement with Ameren, which increases revenue by $16,420 annually.
The agreement compensates the city in the amount of $261,420 annually in lieu of the current annual payment of $245,000 — an annual increase of $16,420 or an additional $82,100 through the end of the franchise agreement, which expires in November 2024.
Because of the terms in the growth clause, a recent analysis by Ameren showed the O’Fallon Ameren customer base increased by 6.7 percent since the agreement’s inception in November 2014. The electric customer count has increased from 13,152 to 14,039 through January 2019.
Two additional ordinances approved
The council approved two other ordinances on zoning amendments. Despite opposition, rezoning was OK’d for the former 7-11 and Creve Coeur Camera site to become a high-end liquor store in a 9-3 vote, with Aldermen Jerry Albrecht, John Drolet and Robert Kueker voting against it. Aldermen Gwen Randolph and Ned Drolet were not present and had voted against it on first reading March 4. Randolph is in work training in Texas.
Several citizens who live near the property spoke against the proposal, stating safety concerns and objecting to another liquor sales outlet that would amount to three of four corners having similar businesses.
Applicant Davuthan Kilic requested a planned use approval to operate a 2,400 square foot package liquor store called Mirage Wine and Spirits in the existing building, currently zoned B-1, community business district, for a planned community business district.
The corners of U.S. Highway 50 and Old Collinsville Road have a Huck’s convenience store on the west and the shuttered Dandy Inn property on the south and will become a Moto-Mart plaza. To the north are residential homes and to the east are Bollmeier Dental and Four Paws Animal Hospital.
The Bollmeier family had expressed their objections and previously presented a petition of 128 names. City officials had wondered about the out-of-town names on it, but Dr. James Bollmeier said those 30 to 40 were employees of the surrounding businesses, including his wife’s dental practice and his veterinary clinic.
“They have a horse in this race,” he said.
Kilic has proposed improvements, including site landscaping, to the existing monument sign, wall signage, and a walk-in cooler. The hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
There will be no on-site consumption. This is consistent with a Class “C-1” Off Premise Liquor License. No video gaming will be allowed because it isn’t a pour license.
One resident on Homestead remarked that 15 children resided in a two-block area, and was concerned about the traffic. Another woman worried about the senior citizens and retirees living in the area.
Ruth Cochran, who lives on Old Collinsville Road, said she lived in the house she was born in, and worried about the impact on the neighborhood, asking if they couldn’t find another business use less impactful.
Property owner Brad McMillin stated at the prior meeting the owner was making the place into a higher-end business and would work with the city.
The council approved rezoning 8520 East U.S. Highway 50 for a Sunbelt Rentals development.
Mark Kabureck of Millenium Construction requested a planned use zoning amendment for 3.14 acres currently zoned B-2(P) Planned General Business District. The proposed development included a new 8,995 square foot for building, with 1,100 square feet of display/sales area and 5,000 square feet of warehouse/repair area.
He proposed constructing a parking area in the front of the building and a large equipment storage area and display from the front of the building back. Additionally, they are requesting a portion of the site be allowed to remain gravel for heavier equipment. He also proposed a chain-link fence around the entire display area. There is an area in the rear of the building that will have three 500-gallon tanks for diesel, gasoline and oil for the machinery.
The property was formerly rezoned to B-2(P) Planned General Business District for a 41,000 square foot mini-storage facility. The project was approved in 2008 but was never constructed.
Other council action
The council approved a special event permit for Skyline Church to install an Easter Display, which will have three crosses up from March 19 to April 22, as requested by applicant Denis Wagner. The fire department had approved it as well, and it was pending police department approval. Two of the crosses are 14 feet in height and one is 18 feet tall. The church is located at 870 Milburn School Road. The display will be in a grassy area west of the parking lot entrance.
Aldermen Matt Gilreath and Kevin Hagarty will host their six-month Ward 3 Town Hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 16 at City Hall.
The mayor will have hours from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23, for any citizen who wants to meet with him at this time.
The O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce will host the Business Awards Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. April 10 at the Regency Conference Center in O’Fallon.