Kahok Strong Receives Donation At Collinsville City Council Meeting; More Redevelopment On Main Street

The Collinsville City Council met for the last time in 2020 on December 14 at Gateway Center.

After reading a proclamation declaring January 24-30 School Choice Week, Mayor John Miller presented Kahok Strong with a check for $6,144.90 that was raised during the Gathering of Trees this year.

Kahok Strong was started about 7 years ago by Toni Geisen and Jacob Post for a CHS staff member  that had cancer. Since that time, Kahok Strong has continued to help numerous students, staff, and community members with everything from clothes to food to financial help from approximately $10,000 in donations each year.

The majority of business focused on the maintenance and development of the Uptown Collinsville District.

Two ordinances were passed approving rezoning of properties on Main St. from “B-2” Limited Commercial District to “UCD” Uptown Collinsville District.

The first property, owned by Todd Evers, is located at 419 W. Main St. used to house Bloomin’ Diehl’s Flower Shop and is going to house the headquarters of Southern Illinois Children’s Dyslexia Center, relocating from Belleville.

The current location for Southern Illinois Dyslexia Center only has space for 26 students with a waiting list of 50 for tutoring services in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The second building is located at 106 W. Main St. (across from Data Unlimited) and will be the home to the online artisan/maker boutique Lid Launch. As a condition of the rezoning, Lid Launch will open a retail space at the front of the building by the end of 2021.

An ordinance was approved granting TIF funding in the amount of $87,960 for Bradley Keene/Visionary Wealth Advisors at 106. N. Clinton St. The rehabilitation and expansion of the building is expected to increase the property taxes received by between $6,000 and $7,000. Total project costs are estimated at $236,650.

The ordinance  pertaining to the Historic Preservation in the municipal code was also repealed and replaced providing “clear and consistent requirements, procedures, and processes.” By making the guidelines on what is acceptable and unacceptable clearer and reducing the time to get approval, the city hopes that residents will fix up their properties, increasing property values.

Chief Financial Officer Kris Mooney provided the board with the financial projections for FY2020 and FY 2021. Although the year end numbers for 2020 will not be in until February, Mooney is projecting a $1 million deficit in the general fund for the city as a result of the COVID-19 reductions in hotel/motel, and restaurant tax earnings and cancellation of events at Gateway Center.

Due to the legalization of marijuana and the city collecting their 3% tax share in July, the city’s sales tax rate did increase over projections.

Because Mooney does not believe the economy will return to near normal until the second half of 2021, he is projecting a  loss of $949,951. This will be the third year of deficit spending for the city, but was expected when the city took on the failing park system and purchase of the Gateway Convention Center.

At the end of FY2021, the General Fund balance will still be $6 million due to the city finances “good liquidity and cash balance” according to Mooney.

Mooney said he will keep the board updated throughout 2021 if there are any changes to the projected numbers for each quarter.

An ordinance was passed approving the capital improvement plan for Collinsville. Capital project expenditures for 2021 are expected to cost $14.2 million, with 28 projects planned, including Six parks and recreation projects totaling $1.2 million and the biosolids plant project totaling $14.2 million.

The City Council approved the tax levy for 2020, and will be collecting $3,016,888 during 2021. The rate reflects an increase between 3 and 5% EAV for an overall tax rate increase of 1%, or an additional $2.25 per $100,000 home value. 93% of the taxes collected will go to police and fire pension funds.

The final ordinance passed amended the Collinsville Municipal Code to increase the water, sewer and trash fees, and handicap parking ticket fines. Water rates will be increased by 3%, or $0.16 per 1,000 gallons each month. Sewer rates will go up $0.22 and trash $0.93 over the currents rates..

Handicap parking ticket fines will be going up from $100 to $350 to match the state statute. All parking spot signs will be updated to reflect the change in fees immediately.

The schedule for 2021 City Council meetings will remain the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 6:30pm, making the net meeting January 12, 2021.

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