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Shall the City of Vandalia help the Vandalia Bowl with financial assistance for improvements? That was a major talking point at the meeting held Monday night, June 21 at city hall.
Mayor Ricky Gottman and City Administrator LaTisha Paslay broached the subject at the meeting, with the mayor stating that most bowling alleys in cities throughout the area are looking at closing and summarizing all who use the Vandalia lanes. Paslay said that funds have been set aside for such usage in the General Fund, and that Tony Richardson, owner of the bowling alley, is asking for $36,580 to help with lane replacement and other repairs.
Russ Stunkel asked the mayor if the city had given such aid previously, to which he answered “yes,” about a year ago, but did not elaborate on which business it was.
Bret Brosman asked if the bowling alley was in a TIF district and Paslay said it was just outside the edge of one of Vandalia’s two such areas.
Brosman then stated, “I have a soft spot for local businesses, but I feel this is a dangerous precedent to set.”
City Attorney Ryan Connor told the council that he did not believe the aldermen should view the situation as a “one-sided equation.”
“You will be getting something back out of this – jobs, sales taxes and other benefits,” he said.
Stunkel explained his position, equating the loan to how the TIF Districts operate. He stated that with a 25 percent flexible maximum set by the TIF Districts, he said he could see some residents and business owners questioning assistance to a business outside of a TIF district at 100 percent. Stunkel then questioned how much Richardson had put into the project.
Gottman said he had, but was not aware of the amount. He went to say that he and Paslay could find out and come back to the council with the answer, and the matter was tabled.
In other business, the council:
• approve the repair of a pump at the terminal lift station at a cost of $32,277.43 and at the Wal-Mart Lift Station at a cost of $7,226.66;
• approve a routine agreement with Illinois Department of Transportation for a traffic control device;
• approved TIF funding for a downtown redevelopment project with KDSF Properties, restoring a building that had been opened into one large area for a business back to three separate areas;
• approved a contract with Axon Enterprise, Inc. for tasers and supplemental equipment for the Vandalia Police Department;
• heard from Mayor Gottman that City Clerk Carla Huhn will be taking minutes at all meeting pertaining to city business and that plans are “wrapping up” for the IML meeting here in July, and
• heard from Paslay there could potentially be a Grande Levee later this year, although it is not “set in stone.”