Council OKs 3 TIF grants, reads license requests

The Vandalia City Council approved on Monday three Tax Increment Financing grants and conducted the first readings of two requests for liquor licenses that allow gaming operations.
Two of the TIF grants are assisting with the startup of new businesses, both coffee shops, and the third is for a building currently housing a business.
A TIF grant to Compass West will help fund the extension of water and sewer lines to 1310B N. Kennedy Blvd., across from the Phillips 66 station at Kennedy Boulevard and Fletcher Street, and further north of that location, to allow for future expansion.
The total cost of the water and sewer line extensions is $9,950, and the council approved the recommendation of the city’s TIF Advisory Committee to award $2,500, one-fourth of the total cost.
A drive-through coffee shop, The Coffee Bean Expresso Shed, will be located at 1310B N. Kennedy Blvd.
The council also approved a TIF grant of $7,912.50 to Bowen Properties for the rehabilitation of the building at 120 N. Fifth St.
The TIF grant award is half of the estimated cost, $15,825, to install a new rubber roof, and repair and reblock the concrete foundation and retaining wall on the back portion of the building.
The third TIF grant was awarded to Kyle and Sheeba Barker, who plan to start up Shimoji Coffee, a drive-through coffee shop at 730 W. Gochenour St., which formerly housed Jay’s Restaurant.
The council approved a grant of $7,500, which is one-fourth of the estimated cost ($28,250) of the Barkers’ project.
The couple has purchased a drive-through kiosk that was located in Cincinnati, and they plan to repaint the exterior and install signs.
Their request for TIF assistance also included the installation of a new water meter, and new water and sewer lines.
Monday’s meeting also included the reading of requests for retail liquor licenses that would allow gaming devices in Sunset Plaza and at the BP station on Veterans Avenue.
PMK Inc., a partnership that includes Jason Paslay, Mark Meadows and Zac Kopp, want to install gaming at 1410 Sunset Drive, Suite F, which is off of Sunset Drive and Fletcher Street.
Speaking for the group, Meadows told aldermen that the partnership is made up of three local men wanting to use 1,100 square feet of office space that has been empty for seven months.
He said that the partnership does business locally as much as possible and that it pays $35,000 a year in retail taxes.
“We see far too much revenue going out of the city,” he said, referring to businesses based in other towns that currently operate gaming devices locally.
As that application was discussed, Alderman Dorothy Crawford asked whether a city employee could hold a liquor license. Kopp was hired as the city’s new code enforcement officer earlier in the meeting.
City Attorney Ryan Connor said that he had researched the issue and found that only law enforcement public officials are prohibited from holding a liquor license. The code enforcement officer, he said, is not within that category.
After both license applications were discussed, Alderman Andy Lester asked whether FAYCO Enterprises, which has facilities across the street from Sunset Plaza, qualifies as a school. Businesses located within 100 feet of a school may not hold a liquor license.
“The definition of a school is vague,” Lester said.
To that, Paslay asked, “If that is a question, what about the liquor store (Mach 21) that is adjacent to FAYCO (on the west)?”
Lester said, “That’s a good question.”
About the request for a retail license submitted by Meyer Oil Co., Randy Meyer told aldermen that they are planning “a major remodel” of the BP station and convenience store, and that they would like to include a gaming parlor in those plans.
Meyer said that while the plans are not finalized, they “anticipate the removal of the car wash.”
When Alderman Jerry Swarm said that he is opposed to sale of any liquor sold in a gas station, Meyer said that the gaming parlor “would be separate.”
Meyer told aldermen that Meyer Oil currently has eight gaming facilities in Southern Illinois.
The council is scheduled to act on the retail liquor license applications at its Aug. 15 meeting.

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