By Stephanie Malench
The Collinsville City Council met on March 22 and started the meeting with a promotional swearing in ceremony for two Collinsville Police Department officers. Doug Talbot was promoted from officer to sergeant and Keith Jackson was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant.
A public hearing was then held on the St. Louis Road sewer and manhole lining project so the city could apply for the Madison County Community Block Grant. Associate Engineer Kevin Madden explained that the project includes 1,160 feet of sanitary pipe, 31 lateral lines, and 80 vertical feet of fiberglass liner in the seven manholes. The life span of the sewers is 50-60 years, which is how old the lines are now. The lining will extend the life of the sewers by 30-50 additional years and prevent infiltration and inflow into the sewer system during heavy rains.
The area that will be worked on beginning in the winter of 2022 will be the area in front of Kruta’s and McDill’s. Total cost for the project is $150,000 and the grant is for $100,000. It was approved under new business that Collinsville’s portion of the project will be paid for out of the sewer enterprise funds.
Both funding resolutions were passed.
An ordinance amending the Collinsville Municipal Code relating to Bed and Breakfasts was on the agenda, but Director of Community Development Director Travis Taylor reported he had received additional comments after the amendment was written, so he would open the floor for additional feedback from the council after explaining what changes had already been made.
The current amendment includes that the owner/operator has to live on sit, the hotel/motel tax must be paid, a maximum on five guests can stay at one time, and a special use permit approved by the planning commission must be held. Short term rentals such as Airbnbs, VRBO, and Home Away are not allowed.
Councilman Tony Hausmann had several recommendations for the new amendment, including making the limit three guests at a time and having the city staff make the decision on where the Bed and Breakfasts should be located instead of the planning commission and that there should be zoning instead of special use permits.
Councilman Jeff Stehman recommended the creation of a conditional permit instead of a special use permit for the Bed and Breakfasts. City Manager Mitch Bair agreed this might be a good time to look into creating a conditional use permit, which would require the permit holder to maintain a certain set of standards with the property.
The ordinance was tabled and will be brought back before the board for further discussion at the April 12 meeting and may go back to the zoning committee for another public hearing depending on the scope of changes recommended.
The last ordinance under business prior to public input was the approval of the official zoning map for the City of Collinsville, based on changes made to the zoning map over the past year. The map will be available the city’s website.
A council discussion was lead by Fire Chief John Bailot regarding changes to the tornado siren system. The National Weather Service has now added a new classification system, “destructive thunderstorm warning” that will lead to activation of the sirens whenever 80 mile per hour winds or baseball size hail is headed into the area. The new alert system is effective immediately, and will not lead to a significant increase in the sirens going off. The new alert will also be activated on cell phones.
Bailot also announced that the city is joining Madison County’s Code Red alert system. Code Red is an opt in program for residents and businesses to be notified via phone call, text, or email in the event there is severe weather, boil order, street closure, child missing, or police activity near their home.
The program is free to both the city and residents as Madison County Emergency Management provides the service. Residents will be able to sign up through the city website once activated by the county and will also be available to Collinsville residents in St. Clair County.
During public comment, two women who live on Oakside Drive, Judith Drazen and Sandra Cochran, spoke about concerns they raised to the city about a resident on their street, former A-Rod’s automotive owner Mr. Rodriguez operating a repair shop out of his garage. The women claim they have provided videos and pictures to the city and they have done nothing about it.
Taylor discussed during public comment that he has been trying to work with the women but there is no way to confirm that Rodriguez is performing the work out of his garage for money.
Another ordinance passed during new business authorized Mayor John Miller to execute a second amendment to the redevelopment agreement between the city and McDill Incorporated and Patrick McDill for the new restaurant at 344 St. Louis Rd. McDill asked for another extension to complete the project for TIF reimbursement due to COVID-19 and supply chain issues. The new completion date is proposed for August 31 and the project has been broken down into three phases with $153,333.33 reimbursement after each phase is completed. Bair also requested the amendment include a stipulation that the city can withhold reimbursement until items are satisfactorily addressed according to the site plan and original agreement.
Two technology ordinances were approved authorizing Miller to sign a contract with Environmental Systems Research Institute to renew the city’s geographic information system program for $82,500 for the next three years and another authorizing him to sign an e-services agreement between the city and Point and Pay, LLC for online payments to the city. The fees to pay with a credit card online will be paid by the customer at rates of 2.75% with a $2 minimum payment by credit card, $1.50 for an electronic check of up to $10,000 and $10 for e-checks over $10,000.
The last ordinance passed for the evening authorized Miller to execute and agreement with J & M Displays to put on the fireworks display on May 29, 2022 for the memorial Day and city’s 150 year anniversary.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 12 at City Hall.