Committee backs TIF funds for pool

Vandalia’s Tax Increment Financing advisory committee recommended on Monday that the city contribute TIF funds to the Vandalia Swimming Pool project.
However, the recommended amount is not quite what the Vandalia Park District is seeking from the city.
Also on Monday, just a week after the city council rejected one TIF request from Dennis Grubaugh for one project, the advisory committee recommended giving Grubaugh assistance on another project.
The park district board submitted a request for $400,000 in TIF funds, and board member Brian Stout explained that those funds would be used to help prevent an additional tax burden on district taxpayers.
Stout said that the district has already received a $400,000 gift from the Old Capitol Foundation, and that it can levy up to $775,000 in bonds without putting the issue before taxpayers.
“Those (TIF) monies would be used to abate taxes before they hit home (with taxpayers),” Stout said.
A 10-year bond issue, he said, would give the district additional time to raise its share of the money needed to make improvements to the pool.
The park district is also seeking a grant from the state to help fund the improvements, estimated to cost about $1.3 million.
The renovation project includes a new deck, major work on the pump house, renovating the dressing areas, replacing slides, fencing work, and adding a zero-entry area and water umbrella.
And while the project includes the addition of some features, its main purpose is to address problems with the structure.
“It’s necessary that it happens,” Stout said, explaining that the state has noted problems with the pool in three consecutive years. If the improvements are not made, he said, the pool will be shut down.
Without the pool, Stout said, “there’s one less thing for kids to do in the summer.”
Mayor Rick Gottman explained that TIF monies from the pool would come from the city’s TIF 1 fund. That TIF district expires in 2023, he said.
With nine years left in the operation of that district, the TIF advisory committee agreed to recommend that the city contribute $35,000 in each of those year, for a total of $315,000.
“It is a worthwhile project, so I think we should show our support,” Steve Henna, a member of the committee said.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the committee recommended that the city give Dennis Grubaugh $28,000 toward a roof replacement project for his building at Eighth and School streets.
Grubaugh requested $34,000, or half of the estimated cost of $68,134.
Through the project, Grubaugh will replace the roof on the center part of the building that in past years has housed a bowling alley and the Vandalia home of Kaskaskia College.
The committee’s recommendation comes a week after the city council told Grubaugh that it would not give TIF funds on the former Twisters building on Veterans Avenue, with dissenting aldermen saying that their constituents do not want the city to put money into that building.

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