TIF grants supported for new restaurant, historic house

Vandalia aldermen on Monday night recommended Tax Increment Financing grants for a new restaurant and restoration work on an historic home that houses a state office. Also during that work session prior to Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Rick Gottman told aldermen that after those two TIF applications are acted on, the program will be put on hold due to a sizeable project that is pending. Aldermen first recommended the approval of an application submitted by Charles Barenfanger for the historical Dieckman house at 129 N. Kennedy Blvd. Aldermen agreed to recommend a TIF grant of $10,500, half the estimated cost of repairing the roof, and repairing and painting all wood on the exterior of the building. The building tenant, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will employ up to 10 people, Barenfanger said in his TIF application. The second application is for TIF assistance to Rick and Cindy Radliff for a restaurant that the Radcliff’s are creating in the east side of the building that housed Allen Furniture for many decades. Aldermen agreed to recommend a TIF grant of $34,887.64, half of the estimated cost of work on the portion of the building that had housed bedroom furniture. The work will include new and upgraded electrical, new plumbing, a new kitchen, new floor covering, and new air-conditioning and heating. In their TIF application, the Radliffs state that they plan to open the restaurant by Feb. 1, but Cindy Radliff told city officials at Monday’s work session that they hope to open it around the start of 2018. The restaurant is the second phase of a project that the Radliffs announced in March, and it will be adjacent to phase I, a distillery at which they plan to “distill, age and sell finished product to the public.” The distillery products include “bourbon, single-mat rye whiskey, rye, wheat whiskey and flavored infusions,” the Radliff said when introducing their project to the city council. The project became public in March as the Radliffs applied for a TIF grant for the distillery. The council approved a TIF grant of $83,350 for that portion of the project. In the TIF application reviewed on Monday, the Radliffs state that equipment for the distillery has been purchased and that some it, the still and mash-tun, will be installed by the middle of November. Phase II of the project is a restaurant and bar with seating for up to 90 people, according to the Radliffs’ TIF application. The restaurant will be open to both customers of WITNESS Distillery and the public. Cindy Radliff told aldermen on Monday that the restaurant was not part of their original plans, but was added after plans for the distillery were developed. Prior discussing the two TIF applications on Monday night, City Administrator LaTisha Paslay gave aldermen an update on the city ‘s TIF accounts. At the beginning of this fiscal year, May 1, the city’s two funds had a carryover total of $805,120.76. Current TIF obligations for this fiscal year and other TIF expenses bring the expenses total to $1,042,061.07, Paslay said. The city has received the first installments of tax money for the two TIF districts from the county, $387,160.82 and $170,864. Interest accrued on the two TIF funds total $966.66. The current balance, Paslay said, is $322,051.85. Gottman said that he wants to put the TIF program is being put on hold because of a large development pending on the north end of town. There will be no action with the program “until we hear from that group,” Gottman said. At the end of Monday’s city council meeting, Alderman Andy Lester asked that the city review its TIF process and procedures. Lester said that he had “had a lot of people approach me lately” about the TIF program, “and, I, myself, would like to know more.” Gottman said he would look into the cost of bringing TIF experts in to go over the program.

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