Finance recommends formation of economic development committee

Finance recommends formation of economic development committee

Clean Line Energy makes presentation

Carlinville’s finance committee met for its monthly meeting Oct. 13 where they voted to approve a recommendation to form an ad hoc economic development committee to act as a point of contact for those wishing to bring new businesses to Carlinville. It was noted that such a point of contact is necessary with the recent demise of Macoupin Economic Development Partnership (MEDP).

While it was discussed whether such inquiries should be directed to the chamber of commerce, it was pointed out that the chamber office is staffed by a pair of student interns. “It would be so much better off if they came to the city because you have zoning,  taxes and all that they need to know about,” said finance committee chair Dave Steiner.

The committee will recommend to the board that there be a three-person economic development committee consisting of the mayor, the finance committee chair and a mayoral appointee.

Insurance/tax levy update

In a previous meeting it was discussed whether the city should take worker’s compensation insurance out of the tax levy and reassign it to specific departments.

Budget Officer Claudia Leonatti reported that after doing some research and speaking with the city attorney, it was noted that, although it could be done, the city would likely be better off keeping things the way they are, partly because the change would simply involve a lot of bookwork without much benefit.

Leonatti recommended the board monitor the situation so a change could be made in the future if necessary. The committee agreed to Leonatti’s recommendation.

Energy lines may traverse 

Macoupin County

When the floor was open to guests, Rick Cornell and Cari VanAmburg of Clean Line Energy addressed the board regarding the company’s efforts to run energy delivery lines across Macoupin County.

“The Grain Belt Express is a line that is going to impact Macoupin County and, by extension, greater Carlinville,” said Cornell. He went on to explain that the 750-mile transmission line will carry power generated by wind farms in Kansas across Missouri and Illinois then into Indiana.

“The odds of it coming through Macoupin County are very high because of where we’re crossing into the state. We’re going to go through central Illinois,” he said, adding the line will likely cross over into Indiana from either Clark or Crawford County.

It was stressed that the project is in the early stages of plotting a path across Illinois, and representatives from Clean Line are still working on the route through Missouri. Cornell explained that the route through Macoupin County would likely be through the northern part of the county where there is less population; however, he stressed that his company would use as many local resources as possible and will likely need to establish offices in the county.

Cornell pointed out that he has already presented the project to the Macoupin County Board.

VanAmburg explained that since wind is a renewable energy source, the availability of it in Illinois would help stabilize the energy market and bring lower energy prices to consumers.

The process to bring the project through Macoupin County will take working with county residents, communities and landowners to establish a route. It was also noted as part of the agreement with Clean Line that the condition of properties involved in the construction would be left in as good or better condition than before.

In other discussion

The committee approved a recommendation allowing the city to purchase $150 in candy for the Halloween Parade.

The committee also approved a recommendation to renew the GIS software licensing agreement at a cost of $400

A recommendation was approved to send Treasurer Jody Reichmann to the upcoming Treasurer’s Conference in Bloomington at a cost of approximately $1,000.

The committee discussed the possibility of replacing four lights on the square since they are burned out. Consideration was given to using LED lights as replacements, but it was noted that those would look much different next to the current gas lights.

The committee decided to wait until all the lights could be replaced, which will depend on funding. No vote was taken.

Another discussion was held regarding the city’s retirement and employee benefits ordinance. No vote was taken citing the need for more information on the matter.

The committee approved a recommendation regarding the city’s contract with Frontier Communications. It was noted that the city was able to negotiate the monthly bill from $710 to $440.

Regarding the problem of burning yard waste in city limits, Alderman George Cerar recommended city workers do a monthly yard waste pickup in each ward. It was pointed out that such a service would likely be a bigger job than one or two city workers could handle.

Cerar also suggested that city require all residents to have paid trash pickup. He noted that the city could get customer lists from the trash companies to verify service.  It was noted that there are some residents who take care of their own trash by legal means and/or combine service with a neighbor or relative. No vote was taken.

In a discussion about the Wiles house on Mayo Street, it was recommended that the structure be inspected for asbestos and other hazardous materials before the building is torn down.

Zoning discusses inspections

Following the finance committee, the zoning committee held a brief meeting where they decided to send the issue of rental property inspections back to the council, noting the issue isn’t a zoning matter.

Mayor Deanna Demuzio suggested the matter may be better suited to the public safety committee.

In his report, Zoning Administrator Steve Parr noted that in the month of September, 33 building permits were issued for a total of $590. So far in 2014, 202 permits have been issued for a total of $4,999, which is on track in reference to 2013 figures that showed the issuance of 206 building permits.

Council to meet next week

The next regular Carlinville City Council meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m.

By Jan Dona