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Collinsville City Council Approves New Board Up Ordinance For All Buildings

By Stephanie Malench

The Collinsville City Council met on July 27 with a large slate of presentations and public safety ordinances.

The first presentations were for the July Garden of the Month winners. First place went to Anita Reising at 108 Westridge Dr. and second place went to Fred and Vivian Tosi at 240 Marie St.

Two police officers were recognized on their retirements from the force and two more were sworn in to promoted positions.

Melissa Cooper retired after 22 years as a patrolman, field training officer, detective, and other positions to become an investigator with the Missouri Department of Corrections. Mark Krug retired after 20 years of service as a patrolman, detective, sergeant, and accident reconstruction investigator to work with the FBI.

Mark Kuechle will fill the Lieutenant vacancy left by Krug’s retirement and Michael Brown moved up to patrol sergeant to fill Kuechle’s vacancy.

A planned multifamily residential development was approved for 1803 Ramada Boulevard. The new development will be made of eight buildings of 40, two-bedroom unit townhomes on 4.6 acres on property adjacent to existing condos on the site of former hotel that was converted to mixed development in 2007.

Proposed property enhancements include 85 new parking spots, stormwater detention area, sidewalk network connecting all the buildings, dog park and 2.12 acres of active and passive recreation areas.

The council discussion for the evening was the second quarter financial update from Chief Financial Officer Kris Mooney. Highlights include general fund revenues (sales, food and beverage, property, hotel/motel taxes, garbage fees, and Gateway Center and Parks and Recreation fees) of $7.5 million. If projections for the rest of the year hold, the projected deficit will be only $249,262 instead of $911,000.

During staff reports, Public Works Director Dennis Kress announced that the EPA loan for the bio solids project was approved for 20 years at 1.11% simple interest. The city is also eligible for an energy efficiency grant from Ameren for approximately $165,447 based on the efficiency of the new equipment.

The council unanimously passed the new ordinance regulating the boarding of commercial and residential buildings that was initially presented in June for feedback by Community Development Director Travis Taylor. The city’s rational for the ordinance is the “broken window” concept, which is “one broken window, left unrepaired, leads to more broken windows as it gives the appearance that no one cares or protects the property and that as a building becomes increasingly more deteriorated, the deterioration may have a ripple effect”.

The new ordinance requires permits be applied for within five days for construction and ten days after a fire, explosion, vandalism, or other catastrophe. The fee for permits was set at $25 per permit, and can only be waived on a case-by-case basis or in the event of a wide spread catastrophe. Permits are good for 90 days and may be extended in 30-day increments with required documentation.

Now that the ordinance has passed, the city will spend the next 90 days completing an inventory of buildings currently boarded up in the city and send letters to the owners within 15 days after that. They will then have 30 days to comply with the new ordinance.

According to the ordinance, openings must be completely covered from the outside with ½ inch thick exterior grade plywood or non-penetrable covering that fits tightly against the exterior frame and a color consistent with the exterior of the building.

A professional services agreement between the mayor and Volkert, Inc was approved for $59,915 to design the Jefferson School detention pond project. The project addresses three major problems in the area, including stormwater issues on the school grounds, alleviate downstream stormwater related issues by reducing erosion and slowing flooding west of Illinois 157, and creating necessary upland detention.

A bid was approved authorizing the fire department to increase project spending on a new ambulance to $327,000. The new ambulance will be built on a truck chassis instead of a van chassis, new radios, computers and associated IT components and hydraulic lift gurney.

The final agreement approved for the evening allows the mayor to renew the city’s lease of the senior shuttle with Madison County Transit for $1 each year for the next five years. MCT maintains the bus repairs up to $5,000 each year and provides $5,000 for fuel, oil, and repeater fees.

The next meeting will be August 10 at City Hall at 6:30 p.m.

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