State pays city for VCC water service

The city of Vandalia has been working a long time to see that the state of Illinois gets caught up on payments owed for water and sewer service provided to Vandalia Correctional Center.
On Monday, City Clerk Peggy Bowen told the Vandalia City Council that that goal had been reached, thanks to state Sen. John O. Jones (R-Mt. Vernon).
Bowen reminded aldermen on Monday that Jones had recently helped to get about $181,000 from the state, and that Jones pledged to stay on top of the matter.
Then she reported that Jones had successfully pushed for the state to get current on its VCC water bill, the result being a check for about $290,000.
“As far as I can remember, they’ve never been current,” said Bowen, who gained praise from aldermen for her work in getting state payments.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the council discussed the pending issuance of a liquor license to the couple that is in the process of purchasing Gallatin Street Grille.
Ken Williams is selling the business to Rick Rhodes and his wife, Angie, who is a Ward II alderwoman on the city council.
Mayor Rick Gottman told aldermen he had the city’s legal counsel, Burnside, Johnston and Sheafor, perform research to determine whether there are any issues with an alderman being involved in liquor sales.
Gottman presented aldermen with the results of that research, as performed by Trent West of the Vandalia law firm.
West explained that according to state statutes, an alderman “is allowed to have a direct interest in the manufacture, sale or distribution of alcoholic liquor as long as the alderman does not participate in any meetings, hearings or decisions on matters impacting the manufacture, sale or distribution of alcoholic liquor.”
Gottman said he will be recommending that the city council allow him, as liquor commissioner, to issue to the Rhodeses the liquor license currently held by Williams.
While the couple was expected to take over the business on April 1, Angie Rhodes said the transaction will likely occur a few weeks later.
In other action:
• The council approved an ordinance amendment that allows two-way traffic in two alleys that are currently limited to one-way traffic.
Traffic in both directions is now allowed in the alley between Third and Fourth streets, and Gallatin and Johnson streets. This is the alley next to Lincoln Park in the 300 block of West Johnson Street.
The change was also approved for the alley between Fifth and Sixth streets, south of Johnson Street. This alley is next to the former home of the Fayette County Health Department.
• The council approved May 14-18 as Cleanup Week in Vandalia.
During that week, city residents may place unwanted items out with their regular trash on their regular trash pickup days.
• Alderman Terry Beesley, chairman of the water and sewer committee, reported that Scott Hunt of Hurst-Roche Engineers will be checking with the two lowest bidders for the painting of the Thrill Hill water tower to ensure that their bids are comparable.
• Gottman reported that he and Executive Secretary LaTisha Paslay had met with the owner of restaurant franchise who is considering putting a restaurant at the city’s western Interstate 70 interchange.
• Gottman reported that a Metro East resident who has purchased the property at the northwest corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Randolph Street is asking that the city waive liens against that property. The mayor said the liens total about $2,000.
Aldermen tentatively agreed to hold off on waiving the liens until that individual gets started on the development of a new business at that location, which formerly housed a Clark gas station.
• Gottman said that a report on KMOV TV in St. Louis that a Vandalia police car was spotted dropping off a homeless person at a homeless facility in St. Louis is incorrect.
“We believe it may have been a Vandalia, Mo., (police car),” Gottman said.
• The mayor reported that, at the request of state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, he will be a panelist at the Governor’s Illinois Tourism Conference next week.
• Alderman Jerry Swarm asked whether the city will be replacing dead trees that were planted along Gallatin Street as part of the streetscape project or whether it will just fill in those areas.
Gottman said he will pass the matter on to the city’s streetscape committee for discussion.
• The council approved an ordinance change which stipulates that the city will provide and maintain all water meter boxes, metal lids and yoke systems.
Public Works Director John Moyer said the change was requested to ensure consistency with water hookups and to prevent problems associated with water loss and non-payment of bills.
• Alderman Andy Lester asked about two issues noted on Code Officer Keith Meadows’ monthly report.
Meadows noted in his report that the judge had ruled against the city on a ticket issued for an inoperable motor vehicle. Lester asked whether the city can do something to prevent such rulings.
West said that while the city maintains that the ticket was properly issued, he and Meadows are working on revising language in the ordinance to ensure its enforceability.
Lester also asked about an item regarding issues with a commercial trash hauler.
Gottman reminded Lester that the city has put all actions regarding trash pickup licenses on hold until West can finalize revisions on the current ordinance governing those licenses.

Leave a Comment