By Pamela Rensing
The regular Mascoutah City Council meeting was held Monday, March 21, at the City Hall. The meeting was open to both in-person and virtual participation.
Councilmen approved a resolution to amend the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Project #3 agreement between the City and the Mascoutah School District.
The original agreement was made on January 17, 2017 before the construction of the new Boeing manufacturing facility. According to records, the purpose of the 2017 agreement was to “foster economic development in the City; to attract industry and new jobs to the City; thus providing increased tax revenues for the City and the Taxing District within its boundaries.”
The City is currently obligated to disburse 60 percent of the General Increment collected from two parcels (Main Parcel and Expansion Area properties) to St. Clair County. The remaining 40 percent will be split with 10 percent paid to the School District and 30 percent retained by the City. This split continues until the City recoups its documented infrastructure costs for electric, water, and sewer service infrastructure costs.
At that time, the City will then make annual payments to the School District equal to 50 percent of the remaining 40 percent of the TIF.
During “Public Comments,” Mascoutah resident James Saffel Sr. stated that three minutes to address the council is not enough time. “What good could I or anyone accomplish in three minutes or even a closed meeting of an hour or two with any of you people here. It needs to be with all of you together.”
Saffel stated that “councilmen are supposed to be the liaison between the citizens and the city. They each should have a district they represent on issues, responsible for the physical condition of their district, and are supposed to communicate with people of their district.”
This is the second time this month he has addressed the council regarding the time allotted and the council’s responsibility to residents.
Dr. Kevin Schmidt of Millstadt also spoke during Public Comments announcing his run for State Representative of the 114th District. Dr. Schmidt is a chiropractor and has a practice in Millstadt and Freeburg.
The last resident to speak was Tom Richardson, Junior Vice Commander of the Mascoutah VFW. He invited City Council members to a celebration to be held May 14 at Scheve Park for three honored veterans. More details will follow closer to the event.
Additional items on the agenda included:
• Report from Mascoutah Fire Chief Joe Zinck – The Mascoutah Fire Department answered 25 calls for assistance in February.
The new 3511 truck is currently in production and should be delivered in June.
MFD training officers have several classes and IDOL required sessions lined up for the next couple months, along with two live fire training nights at the SWIC Fire Training center.
• Report from Public Safety Director Scott Waldrup – A swearing-in ceremony was held for new Mascoutah Police Officer Adam Quirin. Waldrup stated that two MPD officers would soon be retiring, and new officers would be hired.
Kevin Dawson of the Mascoutah Police Commission, who was participating virtually during the meeting, welcomed Quirin to the City.
Waldrup reported the department responded to 168 activities during February.
There were 11 accidents.
Officers issued the following traffic tickets: 23 citations, 59 warnings, and two DUIs.
Five arrests were made during the month.
• Report from Public Works Director Jesse Carlton: The Public Works Department completed 392 work orders during February.
Some, but not all, of the Street Department’s work orders included:
– put up & took down flags for President’s Day;
– jetted culverts and cleaned out storm sewers in areas that were backing up from the recent large rains;
-patched and dura patched multiple areas throughout town;
-installed 140 foot of culvert at 1221 W. Madison St. and cleaned out the rest of the ditch to County Road;
-and repaired damaged culvert end at E. Harnett St. and N. Independence.
Some, but not all, of the Water Department’s work orders included:
-repaired sewer line on Lear Lane;
-cleaned sewer mains throughout town;
-fixed water leak on Corrington St;
-and changed water meters.
Some, but not all, of the Electric Department’s work orders included:
-installed metal on gates at the Power Plant Substation to help with animal control;
-installed new underground on N. Knipp St;
-changed out transformers on the berm behind N. Knipp St. and 1st St;
-and trimmed trees throughout town.
• Report from City Engineer Tom Quirk:
-Final plan for the North Lebanon Street Improvement Project is complete. The project will be advertised for bids starting this week and will be opened on April 12.
-Final plans for South, Independence, and John Street Improvements are nearing completion. The project is expected to be advertised for bids in April.
-The City was awarded a St. Clair County Parks Grant for $25,000 for the Prairie Lakes Park Paving project. The project is to pave the existing aggregate parking lots and access drives at the north and south end of the park and the existing crushed limestone walking trail with asphalt. The cost is expected to be between $100,000 – $125,000 and will be constructed in spring 2022.
• The City Council discussed the first reading of an ordinance change regarding assessing and determining claims under PSEBA (Public Safety Employee Benefits Act).
In Illinois, the PSEBA was enacted in 1997 to provide free health insurance benefits when a “full-time law enforcement, correctional or correctional probation officer, or firefighter, who…suffers a catastrophic injury or is killed in the line of duty.” However, the Illinois courts did not define “catastrophic injury.”
According to Assistant City Manager Karie Speir’s report, challenges to the ordinance have been filed in a number of jurisdictions throughout the state. The Illinois Municipal League (IML) has now adopted new procedures to address those challenges.
The second reading, adopting the IML recommendations, will be held at the next council meeting on Monday, April 4.