By: Martha Stoffel
O’FALLON – A request for charity roadblocks held at the intersections along State Street brought some confusion at the city council meeting Tuesday night.
A request came before the council from the O’Fallon Kiwanis Club. This was the third request since the beginning of the year brought to the council regarding dates for a roadblock for the club. Their original request came at the January 7th council meeting for Friday, March 15 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 16 from 8:00 a.m. to noon at the intersections of State Street and Smiley, as well as State Street and Lincoln.
During that meeting, the council voted to amended the request to remove the Friday date, citing concerns for increased traffic in downtown O’Fallon during the time when residents are trying to get home from work and pick-up children from after care. The second request came at the following council meeting, January 22nd, for a roadblock on Saturday, September 21st from 8:00 a.m. to noon at both intersections, with an additional request for Saturday, October 5th.
The request presented at Tuesday’s meeting was to amend their prior approval to include Friday, September 20th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at both intersections and remove the October 5th date, upon approval of adding September 20th.
Ward 4 Alderman John Drolet questioned the timeline for the amendment, stating a request for an amendment needed to occur the meeting following the approved request. In this case, Drolet believes the request should have been presented to the council at the February 4th meeting.
There appeared to be confusion over which dates the club was ultimately requesting, it was also unclear if the club was retaining the March date approved at the January 7th meeting. Current city ordinance states an applicant “shall be entitled to solicit a total of two non-consecutive weekends in any calendar year.” Approval of the March, September and October dates would not be compliant with city ordinance.
The council ultimately voted to refer the item to committee to allow for further clarification on the specific needs of the club, the timeline of all their requests, as well as the legal formality of an amendment request. A concern was also raised by Aldermen Ned Drolet and Matthew Gilreath that the council would be setting an unwanted precedent by allowing continued amendment requests.
In other council news:
- Approval on first reading an ordinance amendment requested by the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners to allow the police officer eligibility list to have an option for a one-year expiration. State law for the testing cycle is a two-year eligibility, but the consortium that does the testing for O’Fallon is done annually. At the Public Safety committee meeting last week, Police Chief Eric Van Hook explained to committee members the current two-year eligibility list creates merging issues when applicants have tested in multiple years and the one-year eligibility will be stated at the beginning of testing.
- Approval on second reading the addition of a stop sign at Apple Street and First Street, and restricted parking on the east side of North Smiley Street from East Wesley to 200 feet north during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. while the school is in session.
- Approval on second reading of the addition of a property tax abatement incentive to the St. Clair County MidAmerica Enterprise Zone. The ordinance also includes the city’s voluntary participation in the abatement incentive. The amendment approval on Tuesday allows the application to proceed to the state for final approval to add the incentive to the enterprise zone.