City Council Narrowly Approves Agreement w/911 Board

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Published on November 7 2012 12:47 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham City Council Tuesday narrowly approved an agreement with the 911 Board on funding to help pay for telecommunicator services.

The vote was 3-2 to approve the agreement that will see 911 pay the City $65,000 in the first year, the same amount as in the past, and then $85,000 in the second year and then $87,500 in the final year of the agreement.  There is also an agreed-upon 2% per year increase throughout the three-year renewal period.

The agreement would also be entered into with Effingham County if the County Board approves the plan at its meeting on the 19th.  The Board ended in a 4-4 tie over the matter at its October meeting, but is expected to have a full compliment of members present for the November vote.

City Commissioners Brian Milleville and Don Althoff voted against the agreement, saying the amount the City receives should increase in the first year.  911 had asked the amount not increase the first year so 911 can pay for an efficiency study.  There is some lingering resentment among some on the City Council and the County Board that the 911 Board did not participate when the City and County formed an ad-hoc committee to study 911 earlier. 

Mayor Merv Gillenwater and Commissioners Matt Hirtzel and Alan Harris voted for the agreement.

Council members voted to increase the number of Class B-1 liquor licenses by one, to seven.  The license would be used by the developers of a restaurant and bar in the former Rexroat's Distinctive Dining building downtown.  The developers wanted some assurance that the license would be available before they began work on the building.  The purchase of the facility is still to be finalized.

The Council formally approved an industrial development incentive grant for Versatech, the automotive parts design and production firm that plans to relocate from a location along US 40 between Effingham and Teutopolis to the City Business Park.  The company plans to almost double its number of workers by the end of 2013 and the grant is based on those new hires.

Council members approved the issuance of a $1.8 million general obligation promissory note that refinances the amount owed on the City's early retirement incentive plan from a couple of years ago that saw a number of City staffers retire.  The refinancing is expected to save the City more than $200,000 in interest costs.  The Council also granted an extension of time to The Kabbes Development Group to complete some infrastructure improvements in the area of Kohl's Department Store; reviewed the audit of the city's past fiscal year by West and Company that showed a "clean audit" for the City; and discussed the coming year's tax levy.  The proposed measure shows a 4.99% increase in what was actually extended in taxes last year, meaning a Truth in Taxation hearing on the proposal will not be needed.

The Council also approved the "nuts and bolts" of the electricity aggregation program for the City of Effingham approved by City residents on Tuesday.  There will be two public hearings regarding the establishment of the aggregation program, one on the 13th at 1pm at City Hall, the other on the 20th just ahead of the next City Council meeting.  There was also discussion of a proposal from St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital to vacate Kentucky Avenue along the north side of the hospital and a small stretch of Linden Street from Kentucky, north to Temple Avenue for a hospital expansion project.  No one voiced objections to vacating the streets, but Althoff asked whether the hospital might be willing to extend Heritage Drive to Henrietta Street in exchange for the vacation, a project that would benefit both the City and the hospital.  City staffers said they would pursue the idea.