Vandalia to receive stimulus road monies

Vandalia will be getting at least $200,000 in federal stimulus monies.

Mayor Rick Gottman told the Vandalia City Council on Monday that the Illinois Department of Transportation notified him last Wednesday that the city’s share of $281 million for transportation improvements is $210,978.

“We haven’t decided yet how we will use those funds,” Gottman said on Wednesday.

“We need to sit down and take a look at how we can best use that money to benefit the city.”

Fayette County’s allotment is $410,144.

Gottman called on Wednesday from Springfield, where he was meeting with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to find out whether the city would also be receiving some stimulus monies through that agency.

“We would use those monies to make improvements to our water system, such as out at the lake,” Gottman said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Gottman announced that the project that includes improvements to the sanitary sewer system in the downtown business district is scheduled to get under way within a week or two.

A pre-construction conference is scheduled for next Monday in the IDOT office in Effingham.

Gottman said the city is allowing the engineers for the project, HMG Engineers of Carlyle, to use office space upstairs at city hall. He explained that if the city had not provided office space, it would have to pay for the engineers to rent space elsewhere.

Also, Gottman said, streetscape improvements that are being funded with federal TEA-21 monies should get under way on side streets in mid- to late-March, and that streetscape work on Gallatin will likely begin either later in April or early in May.

The streetscape improvements include new sidewalks with brick edging and insets, period lighting to replace existing overhead street lights, new benches and trash containers, flowering dogwood trees and the relocation of utility lines underground.

In other action on Monday:

• The council approved an ordinance amendment that will allow emergency vehicles – including police cars, fire trucks and firemen’s personal vehicles – to park along the east side in the southern half of the 100 block of South Fifth Street.

Currently, all parking is prohibited in that section of Fifth Street, which is adjacent to the First National Bank parking lot.

• The council was scheduled to vote on reducing the number of Class E liquor licenses, but that action was tabled at Gottman’s request.

Gottman asked that the action be delayed because a couple of women have expressed an interest in opening a restaurant, and that they are interested in obtaining a Class E license, which allows for the sale of alcohol in an eating establishment.

• The council approved one resolution to show the city’s support of FAYCO Enterprises’ application for USDA financing for additional developmental training space, and a second resolution supporting FAYCO’s application for federal funds for a community-integrated living facility on Fillmore Street.

The passage of the resolutions, Gottman said, does not represent any financial obligations on the city’s part.

• The council awarded the bid for the replacement of the city hall roof to Geissler Roofing Co. of Belleville.

Geissler’s bid of $118,500 was the lowest of four received by the city. That bid of $15,500 below the estimate provided by Hurst-Roche Engineers of Hillsboro.

• The council approved an ordinance amendment that allows for commercial physicall and biological research within areas zoned general commercial. The change was made to accommodate a company that is interested in opening a facility in Vandalia.

• The council approved a resolution opposing bills in the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives that support expansion of prevailing wage rate laws into all Enterprise Zones.

Gottman said opposition to the bills has been voiced by many Illinois governmental bodies and mayors, as well as the Illinois Municipal League and Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, because, “it would kill the Enterprise Zone and TIF (Tax Increment Financing) programs.

• Alderman Larry Cable, chairman of the water and disposal plants committee, reported that the cost of replacing the raw water pumps at the lake has increased from $81,000 to $93,370.

Cable said the increase is due to an increase in pipe lengths and a reconfiguration of the cost for the new pumps.

The cost of the work is still substantially below the budgeted amount, $360,000.

• After meeting in closed session, the council approved an agreement with Thompson Coburn Fagel Haber through which the Chicago law firm will serve as special legal counsel for financing on a multi-purpose development project.

The firm will charge an hourly rate of $375.

• The council also voted after the closed session to hire an employee to replace retiring employee water plant employee Larry Hulskotter.

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