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Local News

  • Dispute over firing of St. Elmo chief continues

    The division created by the mayor’s firing of the police chief has risen to the level that the St. Elmo City Council is unable to conduct regular business.

    Various area media outlets reported that the council’s regular December meeting came to an early end when three of the city’s aldermen walked out of the meeting in protest of Mayor Larry Tish’s decision not to reopen discussions on the firing of Ken Thomason.

  • Council approves 8.57-percent water rate hike

    Over the displeasure of two aldermen, the Vandalia City Council on Monday approved an 8.57-percent increase in water rates as a way of helping the city’s ailing water and sewer funds.

    That increase is on top of the 7.19-percent water rate increase approved by the council in September.

    In presenting the latest increase, City Administrator Jimmy Morani explained that the rate hike was being proposed as a way of generating funds that the city did not receive as a result of council action in 2007.

  • City grants Motown a 7-month extension

    Two months after the deadline passed for Motown Technology & Sports Facility Inc. to provide proof of financing for a $300-million sports and entertainment complex in Vandalia, the Vandalia City Council gave the group seven more months to provide that proof.

    The council approved that extension in a 6-1 vote after hearing that Motown has received a letter of intent for the financing of a $300-million sports and entertainment facility that would be built on the city’s west side.

  • City grants Motown 7-month extension

    Two months after the deadline passed for Motown Technology to provide proof of financing for a $300-million sports and entertainment complex in Vandalia, the Vandalia City Council gave the group seven more months to provide that proof.

    The council approved that extension in a 6-1 vote after hearing that Motown has received a letter of intent for the financing of that project.

  • City spending cuts laid out

    A Vandalia City Council committee last week supported revisions to this fiscal year’s budget, and agreed to pass on to the full council a recommendation for a second water rate increase in three months.

    However, the council ­– after meeting in closed session for about an hour – ­voted not to endorse a suggestion for furlough days for city employees.

  • FCH Board puts operator on notice

    After hearing a plea for financial relief from the chairman of the board of the company that operates the hospital, the Fayette County Hospital District Board on Monday agreed to return to that company more than $74,000 each month for five months.

    That $74,000 represents the amount that the operator, Heartland Health System Inc., is obligated to pay the district board each month under its operating agreement. Under the conditions agreed to on Monday, Heartland will use that money to help pay for the non-reimbursed charity care it provides to FCH patients.

  • Motown scheduled to visit on Monday

    The future of a proposed $300-million sports and entertainment complex in Vandalia should be known by the beginning of next week.

    Representatives of Michigan-based Motown Technology & Sports Facility Inc. are scheduled to be at Monday’s meeting of the Vandalia City Council to ask for more time to provide proof of financing for the proposed project.

  • City committee supports budget revisions, water rate increase

    A number of revisions to the city of Vandalia's budget for the current fiscal year will take effect on Tuesday following a committee meeting on Tuesday.

    At a meeting on Tuesday evening, the council’s personnel, finance and insurance committee also recommended that the council vote on an increase in water rates.

    However, that committee ¬ – after meeting in closed session for about an hour ¬– voted not to recommend that the council consider at this time furlough days for city employees.

  • Progress on U.S. Route 51 expansion plans explained

    It will still be some time before Fayette County residents will see U.S. Route 51 being expanded to four lanes, but they do now have a better idea of where the four lanes will run.

    At public meetings last week, Illinois Department of Transportation officials and representatives of Clark Dietz Inc., a Champaign engineering firm partnering with IDOT on the Route 51 expansion, presented preliminary alignments showing the likely paths of the four-lane roadway.

  • City looks at budget-cutting measures

    Vandalia officials were saying through the early part of this year that despite a sagging economy nationally, the city was still seeing strong retail sales tax numbers.

    That picture changed later in the year, however, and it is one of the factors causing city officials to look at some budget-tightening measures in the new fiscal year.

    In fact, they are working with department heads and city aldermen to make some cuts in the current budget year, which ends next April.