Alderman Mike Bennett to retire from City Council

Alderman Mike Bennett announcing his retirement from his City Council position. (O'Fallon Weekly photo by Nick Miller)

Alderman Mike Bennett announcing his retirement from his City Council position. (O’Fallon Weekly photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – Alderman Mike Bennett announced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting that he will be stepping down from his position at the next September meeting.

Bennett, who first was elected in 1995, said he felt it was a good time to move on. He is engaged to an old friend from high school, Gwen, and they have bought a house in Collinsville.

“I’ve been thinking about it and its the right time. I still own a house here and I’m still there everyday, but I’m not going to play games. I could probably get by on technicalities, but its just not right. We’re moving, things are changing, and the right thing to do is to step down,” Bennett said.

Bennett said he has experienced a lot during his time on the council.

“I’ve been on every committee. I’ve chaired most at one point or another. We used to have an economic development committee, I chaired that early on. That was when Central Park was annexed into the city. That was an interesting one. I hadn’t been on very long. I was negotiating between Gary [Graham], Darwin [Miles], and Daryl Miles to get that done. They wanted some things, the Mayor wanted others. It was tough and it touched Shiloh and could’ve gone to Shiloh,” he said.

However, while he was hard pressed to cite his biggest accomplishment, Bennett said he was extremely happy to see the old City Hall building preserved.

“When I started we were still meeting at the old City Hall. I’m really proud that we were able to save that old building. There was a push to say to heck with it. The building has deteriorated, its got mold, its got mildew, all kinds of other problems, its not ADA compliant. There are more reasons to tear that building down than to save it but its, to me, the most historic building in town. And if it can be re-serviced and be reused, that’s wonderful. I’m really proud we were able to save that,” Bennett said.

Bennett speaks proudly of O’Fallon and the changes its undergone since he joined the council.

“We’ve done a lot. I’d venture to say we’ve done more than most cities during the last 20 years. That doesn’t mean it was just me, but cooperatively we’ve done a lot. We’ve had a good council and have a great staff,” he said.

Bennett’s last council meeting will be on Monday, September 19, at 7 p.m.

The mayor will have a period of time to collect applications from those interested in serving out the remainder of Bennett’s term.

In other business…

  • The council approved the release of older Executive Session minutes. The minutes are from the April 20, 2015, meeting where they discussed property acquisition and the March 7, 2016 meeting where they discussed litigation.
  • The council approved a resolution authorizing a city official to execute an agreement with BoardDocs for agenda automation software. The software, BoardDocs Pro, comes with an annual fee of $12,000.
  • The council also approved an ordinance allowing for the annexation of approximately 8.107 acres located at 120 and 130 Behrens Drive.
  • During the committee reports, under the Community Development Committee, the council approved the following items:
    • A special event request from Peel Brewing Company to conduct an Oktoberfest at 104 South Cherry Street on October 1. The request does include approval for outdoor liquor sales and consumption.
    • A special event request from the VFW Post 805 to conduct a POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony on September 17 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.
  • During the Clerk’s report, the council approved the following requests:
    • A request from OTHS to hold their Homecoming Parade on September 21, 2016 from 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. starting from the school parking lot and traveling down Lincoln to Third and returning to Smiley and OTHS.
    • A request from O’Fallon Underwater Search and Recovery Team to conduct a roadblock on November 25 and November 26 from 8 a.m.until noon at the intersection of State and Lincoln pending insurance verification.
    • A request from Mandy’s Bar to conduct a raffle for various prizes, in conjunction with the American Dart Association Area 622, for a fundraiser on September 17 for the family of Samantha Boeckelman who sustained Injuries from a car accident. Prizes are to be awarded at Mandy’s Bar.
    • A request from District 90 Bands to conduct a raffle on September 10 for Split the Pot at the KC Hall located at 402 East Highway 50.
    • A request from Habitat for Humanity to conduct a raffle for a children’s playhouse from September 7 through October 29. The prize to be awarded at Carriel Junior High.