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Collinsville City Council Readies For Productive 2022

By Stephanie Malench

The Collinsville City Council met on October 26 and held a series of discussions that will help shape the 2022 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and budget.

Before these discussions, the city council voted to reverse the planning commission’s decision to grant a special use permit to Miles Maggio for a Kingdom Stays Short Term Rental House at 710 St. Louis Rd. after new evidence was entered to the planning commission on September 9.

There is currently no ordinance allowing short term stays other than bed and breakfasts. Because Kingdom Stays does not offer a full breakfast or “highly personalized services” and does not meet the NAICS qualifications of a “Bed and Breakfast”.

Additionally, the property owner, William Hoffmann, is not associated with Kingdom Stays and his house would only be rented when he is away.

The first discussion was the financial update for the 3rd quarter. At the end of 2020 the city’s department heads, city manager Mitch Bair, and chief financial officer Kris Mooney developed a budget in anticipation of a $911,274 budgeted loss due to the uncertainties of COVID restrictions. The revised projection is for a surplus of $259,000. This was due to the combination of hotel/motel tax receipts being back to the prepandemic levels and the Aqua Park bringing in $49,000 of revenues during the 2021 season leading to the highest revenue producing 3rd quarter in three years.

In the next part of the conversation, Bair outlined what the staff and council members should expect when the draft CIP is presented at the November 9 city council meeting. The 2022 CIP has three goals: maintain forward progress, focus on the future of the city, and preserve investments.

Values reflected in development of the plan include needs based, responsible, collaborative, creative, sustainable, results driven and forward focus. Priorities will be broken down into three levels, with level one priorities being the most urgent to the safety and operation of the city.

Each year, priorities will move up to the next level. Therefore, 2022’s level two priorities will become level one priorities in 2023 and 2024’s level one priorities are level three in 2022.

Councilman Pete Stehman used his time for comments to ask the city council and staff to place a six-month moratorium on accepting special use permits for the bed and breakfasts until the staff and planning commission have had a change to update the ordinance to address short term rentals and Air BNBs. Bair, Mayor John Miller, and all of the council members agreed, saying the market and consumer demand has changed since the ordinance was written.

During comments from the mayor, Miller announced that the Veteran’s Day parade will take a new route this year, following the traditional parade route on Main and Clay Streets instead of down 159 from the American Legion to Woodland Park and the American Legion has received 25 parade entries so far.

A resolution was approved appropriating $1,490,776 of Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) Funds to pay for general maintenance and materials for 2022 street projects, including materials, labor, equipment, and engineering.

Four other ordinances were passed during the evening. The first approved changes to the zoning portion of the Code of Ordinances to allow composting at single family residences. Compost bins must be enclosed on three sides and no taller than 5 feet will be subject to the same setback restrictions as accessory buildings.

The second ordinance passed will allow 2009 and 2011 Mall Street to be rezoned from Limited Commercial District to Planned Limited Commercial District so Dungeon Studios can locate a podcast/recording studio there.

Next was an ordinance approving the purchase and installation of a hood makeup system from Kitchen Mechanical LLC for $58,610 to replace the 30-year-old unit at the Gateway Center. The hood is necessary for fire suppression and Kitchen Mechanical is the only authorized installer in the area so it cannot be replaced until January.

The last ordinance passed authorized Miller to execute a nonmonetary settlement and release of claims against Phillip J. Astrauskas Sr., Mary Astrauskas, and Phillip J. Astrauskas Jr regarding electrical and fire code violations at 2016 Vandalia St., ending over four years of back and forth litigation. Most of the life safety repairs have been made and the Astauskases agree to fix the remaining items within 90 days of the signed contract. The other key component of the settlement is “the parties agree to forbear from making, causing to be made, publishing, ratifying, or endorsing and disparaging, false, negative, or derogatory remarks or comments about the other parties relating to the disputes involving the subject property”.

The next City Council meeting will be on November 9 at 6:30 p.m.

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