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Without discussion and only one question, Vandalia’s Tax Increment Financing advisory committee has recommended a 50-percent grant for an attorney renovating one of Vandalia’s oldest downtown buildings.
In an 8-1 vote taken during the meeting held by Zoom on Friday, the members of that committee agreed to send to the city council a $134,051.85 grant request from John “Jay” Leskera for improvements to the building at 322 W. Gallatin St.
However, Leskera’s application for a 50-percent grant will be discussed further by the TIF advisory board at noon next Tuesday. Also to be discussed at that meeting will be the idea of having an alternate representative of a taxing entity attend committee meetings if the chosen delegate is unable to attend.
This would be the third TIF grant awarded to Leskera for that building, which he states in his grant application was built in 1892.
Leskera, a Collinsville attorney who spends a considerable amount of time at the family cabin on Vandalia Lake, is rehabbing the building to expand his law practice to Vandalia.
His request for TIF assistance for the third phase of his renovation project, with bids totaling $268,103.69, includes:
• Beams, staircase and welding, $50,484.
• Electrical, $47,000.
• HVAC, $28,400.
• Flooring, $22,484.49.
• Glass, $55,415.
• Interior painting, $7,200.
• Exterior painting, $6,500.
• General carpentry, $7,375.
• Drywall, $11,900.
• Plumbing, $7,000.
• Cabinets and countertops, $7,930.
• Insulation, $4,377.20.
• Networking, $2,898.
• Trash removal, $1,440.
• Waterproofing of east wall, $7,700.
Leskera received a 100-percent grant of $120,900 for phase I of his project and a 25-percent grant of $22,685 for phase II.
Voting for the 50-percent grant were Randy Edwards of Evans Public Library District; Merrell Collins of Fayette County Board; Nancy Pryor of Fayette County Hospital District; Judy Hemker of Kaskaskia College; and Bruce Henry, representing both Vandalia Township and Vandalia Road & Bridge.
Sandy Michel, the Fayette County Mosquito Abatement District representative, cast the only vote.
Not present for the meeting were representatives of the Vandalia School District, Bear Grove Township, Multi-Township Assessment District No. 1 and Vandalia Park District.
Michel explained that it is her belief that only 25-percent grants were being awarded, in accordance with the TIF Best Practices supported by the city council in February of last year.
Bret Brosman, the city council’s representative on the advisory board, abstained on the vote, as he is a non-voting representative on the board.
Brosman posed the only question, asking Leskera if he believes that the third phase will be the final one.
“My expectation is that this will finish the project,” Leskera said.
“The only thing I’ll have to do after that is the parking lot, which I’m not asking for any contribution from the city and the TIF fund for that,” he said.
The city council is expected to vote on Leskera’s TIF request at its Feb. 1 meeting.