By Stephanie Malench
The Collinsville City Council met on February 23 at the Gateway Convention Center with a very heavy agenda of economic updates.
Before moving on to the difficult business, Mayor John Miller swore in John Bailot as Fire Chief. This was his first swearing in at the Collinsville Fire Department as his hiring as Deputy Fire Chief was during the shut down last year at the beginning of COVID.
Next, a public hearing was held for a pre-annexation agreement for 8307 College St. in the State Park area. The property owner, Manuel Del Rio requested the agreement seeking water services due to the well on his property not being able to be repaired according to Madison County. All of the properties are on private septic for sewer.
The only objection during public comment came from Chris Donohoo the attorney for Nameoki Township because it is his understanding water is already available to residents in the area and the pre-annexation agreement makes it look forced. Donohoo also stated that the agreement would have a “significant and severe affect” on the Nameoki Township and it’s highway department.
After the hearing the City Council unanimously approved the ordinance authorizing Miller to execute the agreement between the City and Del Rio. When the rest of the houses in the area go on public sewer the actual annexation will occur.
The only other ordinance passed during the meeting was rezoning a 2.8 acre vacant lot owned by Koerner Heritage LLC at 5317 Horseshoe Lake Road from “BP-3” Business Park District to “P-BP-3” Planned Business Park District.. The lot will contain a 6300 square foot office/warehouse development.
The rest of the meeting was split between Chief Financial Officer Chris Mooney giving the board a financial update on how 2020 ended and Director of Community Development Travis Taylor going over the key performance indicators for the Community Development Department.
The unaudited numbers showed the city ended 2020 with a loss of $3,441,615. This number was considered good because there was an increase over 2019 in sales taxes and intergovernmental taxes, as well as the city cutting unnecessary spending in each department and had enough reserves to cover fixed expenses such as salaries. A grant from the Department of Commercial and Economic Development for $1,055,212 for emergency responder salaries.
The largest decrease in revenue due to the pandemic was in the hotel/motel tax decrease of $780,857 or 50.7% compared to 2019.
The pandemic also caused a net loss of only 3 commercial businesses, with 35 opening and 38 closing. Six new home occupation businesses also opened last year.
Some other key performance indicators were as follows: Three new commercial building permits were issued in 2020 along with 31 commercial renovation permits; community development received 1,245 reports from residents for code enforcement violations with 854 being confirmed. 107 actually had to go to court to be resolved; the value of single family home construction permits went up to $214,306 from $186,639 in 2019. Although no new multi-family housing permits were obtained, permits were obtained to make improvements to existing multi-family residential properties.
Of nine residential demolitions due to identification of dilapidated residential structures, five were demolished by the city and the remainder by the property owners. Two commercial buildings were demolishes as well as six accessory residential structures (garages, etc.).