Council gives first approval to annual budget

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – City Council approved several resolutions, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget on first reading, and a development known as Advanced Veterinary Center, LLC at Monday’s meeting. 

The FY20 budget will begin May 1, 2019 and run through April 30, 2020. The proposed budget reflects a twelve percent increase from the previous year totaling $84,102,168, primarily due to several, planned public works projects. A public hearing and the council’s second reading for the budget will be at the April 15th meeting.

A resolution declaring surplus of funds in the city’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) accounts for the 2017 tax year was approved. The surpluses for TIF #3 (Central Park Drive), TIF #4 (Highway 50/Troy-Scott Road – Metroplex), and TIF #5 (Central City) represent the agreed pass-throughs. 

The final surplus was for TIF #1 (158/Rasp Farm) which expired June 2018. As part of an agreement for their participation in the property tax abatement incentive in the enterprise zone, the city agreed to declare a surplus for the remaining funds in TIF #1 and distribute the balance proportionally to all taxing bodies instead of using the balance for a sewer project within the TIF area. The balance for TIF #1 is $300,343.06 for the 2017 taxes. 

Council approved an Intergovernmental Agreement with school districts 90 and 203 for the Mid-America Enterprise Zone. The two districts voted last month to participate in the property tax abatement incentive for the enterprise zone. This agreement defines their participation and contains verbiage specifically requested by the districts regarding the start of the abatement schedule when the city issues the occupancy permit versus assessment. It was also requested to have clarifying verbiage regarding the expiration of the enterprise zone so the district’s voluntary participation would also expire at that time, regardless of where a property was in the ten year abatement schedule.

Resolutions were approved for two redevelopment agreements for properties on East First Street in Downtown O’Fallon. The agreements allow for the developers to receive reimbursement of eligible expenses from the Central City TIF. The first is for the redevelopment of the building at 105-109 East First Street, one space is currently leased by Furchild Pet Boutique. The second is for the development of the project known as First Street Exchange, to be located at 131 East First Street. Construction is ongoing, with half the space pre-leased to a popular, local coffee and cupcake bar. 

Additional resolutions were pertaining to upcoming Public Works projects. Two resolutions were specific to the Seven Hills Road resurfacing project. The city has received federal grant money to cover seventy-five percent of the construction costs, $434,250, and IDOT requires specific engineering studies to be performed to receive those funds. The resolutions were for $77,000 for engineering services from Oates Associates and approval to use Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds to pay for the services. 

An amendment to an agreement with HMG Engineers Inc. was also approved, increasing the costs from $409,500 to $505,750 for Phase 2 of the wastewater treatment plant improvements. The increase is due to the IEPA recommendation to include new filters to reduce phosphorus effluent levels. The new plans and redesign will include the new filters and remove the addition of a third clarifier from the previous plan. 

The council also approved an engineering agreement with Dixon Engineering, Inc. for $50,176.10 for water storage tank improvements for the State Street and Seven Hills Road water towers. Inspections completed last year indicated both towers need exterior painting and interior painting of the State Street water tower. The agreement is for plans and specifications to bid the work and construction observation. 

Council approved on first reading a development known as Advanced Veterinary Clinic, LLC to be located at 706 and 800 East Highway 50. The properties were previously occupied by Memorial Healthcare. The applicant is Dr. Jim Bollmeier. The larger building will be used for veterinary exams, surgical procedures, and limited boarding of patient animals. The smaller building will primarily be used for day boarding and grooming.