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40 Turn Out for Community Funding Forum

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Tom Becker, representing the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, urged more than 40 people attending a Community Funding Forum on Wednesday night in Benld to focus on community development as an avenue toward economic development. The forum was sponsored by the Macoupin County Mayors Association and Macoupin Economic Development Partnership. The purpose, according to Courtney Wood, MEPD, was to bring community leaders and small business owners together with representatives of public agencies and institutions equipped to help with funding issues for various projects.

In addition to DCEO, other agencies represented included the Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois Arts Council, Representatives from First National Bank and United Community Bank also were on hand, along with representatives from Ameren, West Central Development Commission, Frank Bertetti Benld Public Library and PGAV Planners.

Becker cited the Build Benld program as an example of how local community efforts can spark economic development. “We talk about community development and economic development as if they are two different things,” Becker said. But, he pointed, community development can take place even in tough economic times, fueled by volunteer efforts and donations. The resulting improvements in the quality of life then stimulates economic development.

Community development, Becker said, involves building and improving parks and other public facilities, improvements to a community’s infrastructure, beautification and other efforts to improve the quality of life in a community. Economic development’s focus is on attracting new residents and new businesses. As such, it requires greater financial commitments, and the outcome of economic development efforts can be contingent upon current market trends and fluctuations in the national economy. “Community development is more independent from the economy,” Becker said. “Community development and economic development efforts feed off each other and they propel each other.”

A common pitfall among those responsible economic development if to focus too much on attracting new businesses at the expense of community development. “It’s more cost effective to focus on the businesses and resources you already have in place,” he said. In lieu of tackling a project to build a new factory, he suggested, it might be more practical to pursue a housing rehabilitation project. “If you make the town better for the people who already live here, then your residents become your biggest cheerleaders,” Becker said. Local residents visiting other towns are likely to tell friends and family members how their own community differs from the one they are visiting.

Becker set three priorities for community leaders involved in community/economic development. The first priority, he said, is to create a plan that clearly defines what the community wants to accomplish and how those goals can be reached. A critical step in the planning stage, he said, is to perform a community assessment gauging the community’s strengths and weaknesses. “Build on the good,” he advised. “Don’t get bogged down with the negatives.”

The Build Benld Committee engaged in such a community assessment early on in its formation. “Build Benld is a great example for other communities to follow,” he said. The development plan created by Build Benld, he noted, is easy to read and understand, and it;s posted on the internet so anyone can review it.

His second priority is to build “organizational cooperation” enlisting civic groups and church groups to work on community improvement projects.  “Not everyone will be onboard,” he said. But a community group like Build Benld can build upon its successes to attract more supporters. “As Build Benld gains traction, you’ll see politicians coming on board.”

Third, he said, community development groups have to find or create a funding mechanism. One possibility, he said, is to create a Community Foundation, similar to the many educational foundations that currently supplement the efforts of local school systems. “It creates a mechanism for people to share their wealth with the community,” he said. “We see this in school districts all the time; communities need to do the same thing.”

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The final component, Becker said, is leadership. “Someone or even several people have to champion the effort,” he said. “You have to find leaders who are willing to be public about their support.” One of the most difficult aspects of leadership, he said, is for current leaders to consciously groom the next generation of leaders to maintain sustainability of the community development efforts. He urged those attending the meeting to get involved in community development and economic development activities in their communities. “You can have a long-standing impact on your community if you get involved,” he said.

Following Becker’s keynote address, representatives from each of the participating agencies briefly described the types of financial programs they offer communities and, in some cases, small businesses.

  • Brian Ury of First National Bank compared the business leaders and entrepreneurs in attendance with golfers on a golf course. “You are the ones on the green hitting the shots,” he said. “As your bank, we are like your caddy. We help you with the next shot, and give you an iron or a driver. We ask a lot of questions because we need to identify what the next shot should be, and how to help you take it.”
  • Christine Steelman of the Illinois Arts Council noted that arts grants to individuals, schools and communities can spark economic activity by attracting art patrons to galleries, art shows or performances of community theater groups.
  • Macoupin County Chief Financial Officer Gabe Springer briefly described the county’s revolving economic development loan fund, and how it can help small businesses bridge the gap between available resources and traditional forms of financing.
  • Carol Kulek with DCEO spoke about the agencies Energy Efficiency program, which pays rebates to public entities for implementing energy conservation measures.
  • Jeff Graham with Ameren described a similar program run by the utility, but directed at small businesses and homeowners.

“I think it went well,” Wood said of the gathering after the meeting. “People said the Funding Forum was so beneficial last year, we decided to do it again this year and to add a small business component. We thought this would be a perfect fit for that, and I think it was utilized tonight.” The purpose of the event, she said, was to let community leaders and small business owners learn about financial programs that are available to them. While those attending may not access funding resources immediately, Wood said the Funding Forum gave them to tools for finding financing for future projects. “Down the road, these people will know where to go for help,” she said. “They have a starting point.”

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Macoupin County man arrested on child pornography charges

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Attorney General Kwame Raoul charged a Macoupin County man with dissemination and possession of child pornography. The case is part of Raoul’s ongoing work, in collaboration with federal law enforcement agencies and local law enforcement officials throughout Illinois, to apprehend offenders who download and trade child pornography online.

The Attorney General’s office charged David Crane, 34 of Brighton, in Macoupin County Circuit Court with one count of dissemination of child pornography of a victim under 13 years old, a Class X felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison; and 10 counts of possession of child pornography, Class 2 felonies, each count punishable by up to seven years in prison. Sentences must be served consecutively and are ultimately determined by the court. Crane is currently detained at the Macoupin County Jail. His next court appearance is July 9.

“Children who survive exploitation can face a lifetime of trauma, which is why we must help them receive justice by holding the offenders who commit these horrific crimes accountable,” Raoul said. “I will continue to work with state and local authorities to ensure these individuals are unable to victimize other innocent children.”

Raoul’s investigators, along with officers from the Brighton Police Department, Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police (ISP) South Central Illinois Drug Task Force conducted a search of Crane’s residence in the 600 block of Brown Street in Brighton on June 13. Crane was arrested when investigators discovered evidence of child pornography.

“Illinois State Police special agents continuously investigate cases where there is evidence of child sexual abuse, and we will do everything in our power to arrest predators and protect our children and youth,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.

Raoul’s office is co-prosecuting this case with the Macoupin County State’s Attorney’s office.

The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Raoul’s office, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, runs the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force that investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. The task force receives CyberTips, or online reports of child pornography, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Over the last several years, CyberTipline reports have steadily increased. In 2023, reports to the ICAC increased by 46% over 2022.

Illinois’ ICAC Task Force is one of 61 ICAC task forces throughout the country and is comprised of a network of more than 185 local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Since 2019, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has received more than 46,150 CyberTips and has been involved in more than 755 arrests of sexual predators. Since 2006, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has been involved in more than 2,145 arrests of sexual predators. The task force also has provided internet safety training and education to tens of thousands of parents, teachers, students and law enforcement professionals.

Attorney General Raoul is reminding the public that child sexual exploitation can be reported online at cybertipline.com and child abuse at dcfsonlinereporting.dcfs.illinois.gov. In addition, local child advocacy centers can be found at childrensadvocacycentersofillinois.org.

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Assistant Attorney General Jenifer Peck is prosecuting the case for Raoul’s High Tech Crimes Bureau.

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Gillespie Police Report: June 2-8, 2024

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SUNDAY, JUNE 2, 2024

An officer was dispatched to a business in the 100 block of North Macoupin Street in reference to an aggravated battery.

An officer was dispatched to an accident at Springfield Road and Elm Street in East Gillespie. Gregory A. Ferrel, 55, of Bethalto was arrested for driving under the influence and improper lane usage.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of 8th Street in Benld in reference to a theft.

An officer was dispatched to Farley Lane at Gillespie Lake in reference to a battery.

An officer was dispatched to a business at the 900 block of North Hard Road in Mt. Clare in reference to an alarm sounding.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut Street in reference to an animal complaint.

An officer was dispatched to Charles Street and Staunton Road in reference to a well-being check.

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An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of North Kentucky Street in Benld in reference to an ordinance issue of illegal burning.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of Cahokia Street in Benld in reference to juvenile issues.

An officer was dispatched to Route 4 and Pingolt Road to assist the Macoupin County Sheriff Department with a well-being check.

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to harassment.

MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2024

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a theft in the 700 block of Western Street.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of East Maple Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to Springfield Road and Elm Street in East Gillespie in reference to a traffic crash.

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An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of North Lincoln Avenue in Eagarville in reference to a 911 call.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Central Avenue in Benld in reference to a suspicious person.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of South Main Street in Benld in reference to a 911 call.

TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of Charles Street in reference to criminal damage to a property and domestic dispute.

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Springfield Road and Illinois Avenue in East Gillespie. Kaleb N. Beck, 24, of Benld was arrested for violation of an order of protection.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to a battery. Merrill L. Vanvleck, 49, of Benld was arrested for battery and aggravated assault.

An officer was dispatched to the 800 block of Madison Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

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An officer was dispatched to a business in the 100 block of the South Hard Road in Mt. Clare in reference to criminal trespassing.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of Park Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to a civil stand-by.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a battery.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2024

An officer was dispatched to North Main and Willow in Benld in reference to an item found in the creek.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of Broadway Street in reference to illegal parking.

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An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of West Baker in reference to an animal complaint. Heather L. Kimberlin, 48, of Gillespie was issued a citation for dog at large.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Central Avenue in Benld in reference to criminal damage to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of South Illinois Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2024

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Central Avenue and 4th Street in Benld. Roger C. Conlee Jr. 52, of Gillespie was issued a citation for suspended registration and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

An officer was dispatched to Gillespie Police Department to speak with a female in reference to identity theft.

Ashley N. Goth, 39, of Highland was arrested on a Macoupin County warrant for failure to appear for a traffic offense.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of South Kentucky Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

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An officer initiated a traffic stop at Springfield Road and Illinois Avenue in East Gillespie. Michael A. Gagnon, 46, of Edwardsville was issued a citation for speeding.

An officer was dispatched to Springfield Road in East Gillespie in reference to a controlled burn.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 8th Street in Benld in reference to a suspicious person.

An officer was dispatched to Eagarville Road and the railroad track in reference to juvenile issues.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Pine in reference to an animal complaint.

An officer was dispatched to Baker and Abba Street in reference to an animal complaint.

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Springfield Road and Illinois Avenue in East Gillespie. Amanda K. Ewin, 33, of Mt. Clare was issued a citation for speeding.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of Fulton Street in reference to juvenile issues.

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An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of Shelby Street in reference to a noise complaint.

FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2024

An officer was dispatched to Route 138 South of Ameren in Mt. Clare to assist with an injured animal in the roadway.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Adams Street in reference to a battery.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of South 4th Street in Benld in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to illegal burning.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of West Maple Street in reference to a suspicious person.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to an alarm in the 200 block of North 2nd Street in Benld.

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An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Spring Street in reference to a noise complaint.

An officer was dispatched to Central Avenue and 5th Street in Benld in reference to reckless driving.

SATURDAY, JUNE 8, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 2nd Street in Benld in reference to a domestic battery. Douglas C. Blodgett, 39, of Benld was arrested for domestic battery.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut in reference to an animal complaint. Angela M. Waugh, 52, of Gillespie was issued a citation for dog running at large.

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Sawyerville Hills Road and Route 138 in Mt. Clare. Brittany N. Stinnett, 33 of Bethalto was arrested for driving while her license was suspended and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Macoupin Street and Pine Street. Dylan M. Swank, 21, of Gillespie was issued a citation for operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

An officer was dispatched to Park Street and 2nd Street in Benld in reference to juvenile issues.

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An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of Osie Street in reference to a medical assist.

An officer was dispatched to the North Hard Road in Mt. Clare in reference to reckless driving.

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Central Avenue and Main Street in Benld. Liberty D. King, 22, of Gillespie was issued a citation for operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Gillespie Council approves $17.1 million appropriation ordinance

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Members of the Gillespie City Council on Monday night approved the appropriation ordinance for fiscal 2025, rescinded a housing inspection ordinance approved last month, and took steps toward condemning a former commercial building in downtown Gillespie.

The newly approved appropriation ordinance authorizes expenditures of up to $17,130,799 during the fiscal year that began May 1. Unanimous approval of the ordinance came after a 10-minute public hearing held immediately prior to the council’s regular monthly meeting.

The appropriation sets spending ceilings for expenditures from specific line item funds, Treasurer Dan Fisher told the council, but it is not an indication the city will spend anywhere near the total appropriation amount. While this year’s appropriation is in excess of $17 million, Fisher pointed out, actual annual expenditures for the city are expected to hover around $3 million to $4 million.

“The appropriation is the first step in a three-part process to allocate expenditures,” Fisher said. “The best way to think of the appropriation is, ‘What would be the most we would spend on any line item if we found the money?’  It doesn’t mean we are going to spend that much.”

Once appropriated, Fisher said the funds cannot be expended until the council approves individual expenditures during the course of the fiscal year. A final step in the three-part process comes when the council formally approves payment to projects and programs previously approved by the council.

“Appropriation, authorization, and payment,” Fisher said. “This is just the first step.”

Ald. Dave Link questioned a line item authorizing up to $350,000 for a new building.

“What new building?” he asked.

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Fisher said the appropriation was included in the event the council moves on building a new Street Department building or remodels existing space at the Civic Center to house the Police Department. Neither project is a certainty, he said.

“We try to think of things we might do if we have the money,” Fisher said. “That’s what this is.”

The fiscal 2025 appropriation ordinance exceeds last year’s appropriations of about $14.7 million by more than $2 million. Part of that increase is accounted for by $4.5 million appropriated for the city’s ambitious Streetscape Program and $1.3 million Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) grant the city will receive but immediately parcel out to other agencies. Excluding the appropriations for the Streetscape Program and CEJA grant, the lion’s share of the new appropriation is devoted to the Water Department and Police Department, followed by General Administration, Street Department and Sewer Department, all of which have appropriations exceeding $1 million.

The Water Department appropriation totals $2,845,700, down from last year’s appropriation of $3,391.500, which was inflated by the injection of grant and loan funds for the city’s water infrastructure replacement project.  A total of $2,316,000 is appropriated for the Police Department, compared with $1,281,000 last year. The appropriation for General Administration Expenses totals $1,356,500, compared with $1,341,500 last year. Funds appropriated for the Street Department total $1,281,500, compared with $1,120,500 a year ago.

The new ordinance appropriates $846,000 for Recreation and Parks, compared with $553,300 last year. Up to $600,000 in expenditures are authorized from the Motor Fuel Tax Fund, compared with $500,000 last year. Expenditures of up to $280,000 are authorized from the Tax Increment Financing Fund (TIFF), compared with $270,000 last year. A total of $200,000 is appropriated for Parks and Recreation Areas, compared with $190,000 last year. 

The ordinance sets a spending limit of $220,000 for the Administrative Building, compared with $210,100 last year; $160,000 for FICA, compared with $150,000 a year ago; and $42,020 for Elected and Appointed City Officials’ Salaries.

The ordinance sets spending ceilings of $65,000 for Liability Insurance, $40,670 for the Public Library, and $33,900 for Emergency Services and Disaster Administration—all of which are unchanged from the previous year.

INSPECTION ORDINANCE RESCINDED

On a motion by Ald. Bob Fritz, seconded by Ald. Bill Hayes, the council unanimously voted to rescind an ordinance approved last month which would have required annual housing inspections for all rental properties in the city. Mayor John Hicks called for the vote before proceeding with the regular order of business. Several rental property owners who attended the meeting and asked to publicly address the council, left the council chambers immediately after the vote.

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Hicks said council members did not realize the city already had an ordinance governing housing inspections when it voted 7-1 to approve a new ordinance last month. The existing ordinance calls for an inspection before a new tenant moves in after a former tenant moves out.

“If you have a good renter and they stay for several years, we don’t need to have an inspection,” Hicks said. 

The council apparently approved the rescinded ordinance in an effort to make inspection requirements for long-term rental properties the same as those recently approved for short-term rental properties.

Later in the meeting, Tim Loveless, a local landlord, questioned why the council doesn’t announce proposed ordinances before acting on them. That practice, he said, would give residents an opportunity to voice concerns before an ordinance is actually ratified by the council.

City Attorney Rick Verticchio said municipalities used to place ordinances on a “first reading” before taking formal action the following month. Ordinances approved by the council, however, do not take effect for 30 days, Verticchio said, which essentially gives interested persons time to object or comment before the ordinance is enforced.

NUISANCE PROPERTY DESIGNATION

Council members voted unanimously to declare a property at 118 West Chestnut Street as a public nuisance after hearing a complaint from Christine Blank, Macoupin County Public Health Department Administrator. Blank said MCPHD owns a neighboring property at 112 West Chestnut Street, which the department currently is offering for sale.

“We have some major problems with the property next door, which attaches directly to ours,” Bland said.

“We’ve been watching it closely for the last two years.”

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Blank said the owner of the neighboring property established a fenced-in area for storage, essentially closing off an alleyway between the two buildings. Within the fenced-in area, the owner placed a storage unit but more recently has allowed trash to accumulate inside the fenced area. Because of the accumulation of trash and junk, she said, the area has become infested with rodents. Moreover, she said, there are indications that one or more homeless persons are “squatting” in the area. Additionally, trees that have been allowed to grow up in the alleyway, encroaching on the foundation of the MCPHD’s building and allowing water to enter the agency’s building.

Blank said the building itself is open to the elements and there is evidence animals are living inside.

Blank said at least one person has expressed interest in buying the MCPHD building as well as the neighboring property but the neighboring property owner has been uncooperative.

Ald. Bill Hayes said he sent the property owner an ordinance violation notification, demanding that he owner clean up the property.

“All an ordinance does is impose a fine,” Verticchio said. “If he’s not taking care of the property, he’s not going to pay the fine.”

Verticchio recommended declaring the building a public nuisance with an eye toward eventually getting permission from the court to raze the building and clean up the site.

“Declare it a nuisance,” he said, “and give them 30 days to fix it. They won’t do that. They can’t do that. It can’t be fixed, so the court will give the city permission to tear it down. The problem with that, of course, is that it’s expensive.”

Since MCPHD has an interested buyer for both properties, Verticchio said the city might be able to get a court order to take possession of the nuisance property and sell it to a new owner with the provision that the new owner will tear down the old building.

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“Someone else might be interested in that property,” said Ald. Dave Link.

“No problem,” Verticchio replied. “We can advertise it for bids.”

Blank also complained about the deteriorating condition of the sidewalk in front of the MCPHD property. Fisher said the sidewalk already is scheduled for replacement and bids will be let next month.

IMRF ISSUES

Without taking formal action, the council gave Fisher permission to negotiate with city employees to come up with a way to make retroactive payments of the employees’ shares into the Illinois Municipal Retirement System. City employee participation in IMRF became effective March 1, but the city was not immediately notified, according to Fisher. As a result, six pay periods went by with no IMRF payments being made into the system.

Fisher said the amount owed will be about $650 to $700 per employee. In addition, the retirement system is owed the city’s share for the same period.

“I would recommend that we come up with a method for us to pay the employees’ share and for them to pay us back,” Fisher said. Even such a straight-forward solution could become complicated, however. Fisher said that if employees draw on their deferred compensation funds to repay the loan, the payments would be taxable. Deducting a repayment plan from future paychecks will avoid the tax issue but will result in complicating bookkeeping procedures.

“We need direction from the council on how you want us to do this,” Fisher said. “It’s not going to be easy from a bookkeeping standpoint. Once we’re caught up, it will be much easier.”

Fisher said the issue may be further complicated by the fact the nearest pay period started on March 3—two days after IMRF membership became effective. He said he is trying to find out now if IMRF is going to demand a prorated contribution for two days. 

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Council members generally agreed the city should cover the back payments for employees and give the employees the option of determining how they wish to pay back the funds.

“This is not the employees’ fault,” Fisher noted, “but I don’t feel it’s our fault either.”

CEJA GRANT

Fisher informed the council that an application for a federal CEJA grant has been awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the agency responsible for administering the program. Gillespie was the lead agency among 16 area units of government that collectively applied for the award. Fisher said the total grant amounts to $1.1 million, of which Gillespie will retain $70, 248.57.

Under terms of the grant, the City of Gillespie will receive the entire grant, then be responsible for disbursing funds to other participating units. 

Other participants that will receive funding include: Village of East Gillespie, $51,654.72; City of Benld, $58,721.50; Village of Eagarville, $50,684.28; City of Staunton, $80,929.61; Gillespie Public Library, $70,248.57; Benld Public Library, $58,721.50; Gillespie Township, $73,458.48; Cahokia Township, $69,004.42; Community Unit School District 7, $98,167.33; North Mac CUSD 34, $98,584.12; Gillespie-Benld Ambulance Service, $133,202.60; Village of Royal Lakes, $51,038.87; City of Bunker Hill, $60,102.51; Village of Mount Clare, $51,878.67; and Brushy Mound Township, $53,919.08.

The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act is a federal program to mitigate against economic conditions that result as the nation moves away from fossil fuels to embrace renewable, “green” energy sources. The local grant award is related to job losses resulting from the idling of Shay Mine No. 1, formerly Monterey Mine No., 1. Each entity was awarded $50,000 plus additional funds based on “job loss” and “revenue loss” factors.

Fisher said he planned to meet with representatives of the other applicants on Tuesday night. In the meantime, he recommended council members think about how the city will use its share of the grant money. He said there had been previous discussion about using it for park improvements, but he also recommended setting aside three percent for administrative costs, including the cost of additional auditing services. Macoupin County, which also is receiving a CEJA grant, plans to use its award for economic development, and Fisher recommended that the city also use at least 10 percent of the award for economic development purposes.

OTHER ACTION

  • Declared a pumper truck used by the Street Department as surplus property and voted to offer it for sale to the highest qualified bidder. While the truck is operable, the water tank is rusted out and incapable of being repaired.
  • Donated $100 to the GHS cross-country program.
  • Approved allowing the CeeJo’s tavern and grill to offer bingo gaming to its patrons.
  • Gave the mayor power to act on either repairing a broken beer tap appliance at the Civic Center, or buying a new one at a cost of $2,184 if the old one cannot be repaired.
  • Learned that the local Masonic Lodge recently donated $3,000 to the city to be used for park improvements. 

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