O'Fallon Progress

Tech improvements to streamline O’Fallon’s bill payments

The O’Fallon City Council is considering a new accounting procedure to streamline cash flow management and increase department efficiency.

Aldermen unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the city code on contracts and purchasing Monday, which advances to the next council meeting Monday, Nov. 18. The purchasing manual needs to be amended to reflect the changes. This is just the first step.

The proposed warrant review process will also stabilize workflow.

The biggest change is to pay invoices weekly rather than waiting sometimes two to four weeks later. The council can still review and ask questions, and invoices will be posted on the city’s website for real-time evaluation by aldermen and the public.

Then, aldermen officially approve the invoices that were paid at the next council meeting. This change will eliminate the need for the finance and administration committee to meet prior to the council meetings to review the invoices. Another benefit of the new process of paying weekly is being able to take advantage of early pay discounts offered by some venders as well as any late fees that may occur since payment can sometimes take three to four weeks.

Technical issues are still being worked out, so the council will be notified when the new process will be activated.

The staff reviewed the entire purchasing manual and determined no other sections needed to be changed.

In other action, the council established Dec. 2 as a public hearing on a business district plan for the former O’Fallon Lumber and Material Company grounds on West U.S. 50 at Cambridge Boulevard that features a $6.6 million development proposal.

TO-JB LLC’s redevelopment plan, located at 531 W. U.S. 50, includes two small commercial strip centers and a stand-alone drive-thru restaurant on 3 acres. The multi-tenant commercial development would total 16,600 square feet of retail space.

The creation of a business district will allow collection up to an additional 1 percent sales tax within the development. This is not a sales tax rebate but rather an additional tax on retail goods above and beyond what is currently collected in the city.

Preliminary estimates indicate the site could produce $60,000 to $70,000 worth of sales tax revenue annually to the city.

The Planning Commission will review the proposal Nov. 12 and conduct a public hearing.

The project could be approved Dec. 16 — and that includes the planned use zoning, creation of the 1 percent business district and approval of the redevelopment agreement for the business district. Not all the details are ready for release.

Hi-Pointe Drive-In is interested in expanding to Illinois but has not made an official announcement yet.

Jackie Roach, the wife of alderman Todd Roach and the daughter-in-law of Mayor Herb Roach, is a 10 percent, non-voting member of the restaurant development group. Because of that, Todd Roach has recused himself from the votes on establishing the public hearing.

As he did Oct. 21, Mayor Roach asked that alderman Jerry Albrecht be appointed mayor pro tem and conduct the vote Monday.

Council approves agreement with Rhutasel and Associates Inc.

The council also OK’d an agreement with Rhutasel and Associates Inc. for the new Simmons Road Bridge Project design engineering fees, not to exceed $68,600, and motor fuel tax funds will be used.

The existing bridge was formerly under the township but was transferred to the city when the Reserves of Timber Ridge subdivision was annexed. A city inspection found deterioration that requires complete removal and replacement. The city recently acquired a federal grant to pay for 75 percent of the construction costs.

A review of the stop sign ordinance determined an amendment was needed to add numerous streets in various subdivisions. This is due to the continuous growth of the city. Streets in new and existing subdivisions Enclave of Augusta Greens, Bethel Ridge Farms, Illini Trails, Milburn Estates, Reserves of Timber Ridge, Savannah Hills and Enclave of Winding Creek have been added. The council advanced this ordinance on first reading.

The council agreed to a resolution of support for a St. Clair County grant that was needed before the deadline for the grant application, which is prior to the next parks and environment committee meeting.

The St. Clair County Grants Commission annually distributes grants for parks, and this year’s cycle provides $25,000 for equipment purchases. O’Fallon would like to purchase a Turf-Stripper, which is used to mow, level de-thatch and renovate turf area. The machine enables city workers to maintain lip areas on the fields without contracting with a photo.

Albrecht said it was money that comes back to the city from county sales tax — part of it goes to O’Fallon and part of it goes to the Metro-East Parks District.

Scott Battoe was reappointed to the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners for a three-year term expiring in 2022.

Alderman Dan Witt announced City Fest has donated proceeds to two city departments — $10,000 for the police department and $5,000 for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Veterans Day events

The mayor announced a Veterans Day service is set for 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at the O’Fallon monument.

A parade is set for 2 p.m. downtown. Ed Martinez, commander of the O’Fallon VFW Post 105, said more than 1,000 people will be marching in the parade.

“It’ll be a little chilly, so bring your coats out,” Mayor Roach said.

City Clerk Jerry Mouser said a pontoon boat is available for aldermen to ride in the parade.

Alderman Christopher Monroe said he has received calls about Waste Management missing some trash pick-ups and asked how to convey those complaints. Mayor Roach told him to provide names and addresses to Deputy City Clerk Misty McDonald, who will then notify Waste Management.

The next evening hours for Mayor Roach will be from 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, and Saturday hours will be from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 23.