Connect with us

Community News

Benld Council adopts Airbnb ordinance

Published

on

Justin Vonder Haar of HMG Engineers

The Benld City Council voted unanimously Monday night to adopt an ordinance governing the operation of short-term rentals, popularly known as Airbnbs, within the city limits, accepted the city’s annual audit, and again tabled making final payment on a recently completed water tower painting project.

Council members spent several minutes of discussion hammering out details of the Airbnb ordinance, before approving a final version. City Attorney Rick Verticchio said had prepared a draft ordinance but needed the council to reach a final decision on several details. Reacting to news reports regarding Airbnb issues in St. Louis, some aldermen had suggested a licensing fee of as much as $1,000 annually to discourage the practice of short-term rentals. If the council did not intend to limit licensing by making it cost-prohibitive, Verticchio said, a decision would be needed regarding the city’s intent.

“I don’t know what the goal is,” Verticchio said.

“It’s mainly to get a handle on it so we know where they are,” Ald. Dustin Fletcher said.

Ald. Jerry Saracco suggested requiring a minimum of a two-night stay.

The ordinance was approved on a motion by Ald. Fletcher, seconded by John Balzraine.

Provisions of the new ordinance include:

  • A mandatory $100 annual license for each person operating one or more Airbnbs.
  • An initial housing inspection at a cost of $75, plus an annual $50 inspection thereafter for each property offered for short-term rental.
  • Units must be rented a minimum of two nights with a maximum of 14 nights to be considered short-term rentals.
  • A hospitality tax of four percent or $25 per night, whichever is less.
  • A minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance with the city named as secondary insured.

Fletcher commented that short-term rentals are becoming a more prevalent practice, particularly for former residents who want to monetize a spare house in the city. The new ordinance will require a monthly report from operators to document the number of renters and the amount of revenue resulting from the rentals.

CITY AUDIT

Advertisement

Following a brief presentation by Kara Evans of Scheffel Boyle CPAs, the council voted unanimously to accept the city’s annual audit and financial statement. The auditors rendered a “clean opinion” on the city’s financial practices, finding no material errors or weaknesses in how the city accounts for its expenditures and financial resources.

Evans noted a slight decrease in cash reserves from the previous fiscal year, which was somewhat offset by returns earned on investments. While property tax revenue and state payments remained stable for the year, donations were down from the previous couple of years. Likewise, motor fuel tax disbursements to the city were down from the previous two years or so.

Total expenditures declined slightly, primarily due to the fact the city was not required to tear down any derelict buildings. Meanwhile, the city was able to realize some income from the sale of two properties acquired by the city through condemnation proceedings. The city entered into a new loan to purchase a tractor but paid down a loan taken out to purchase a backhoe, resulting in a total secured debt that is relatively unchanged from a year ago.

Evans also noted the Frank Bertetti Benld Public Library Board has continued to meet its commitment to invest 50 percent of all donations.

PAYMENT TABLED

After a brief discussion with Justin Vonder Haar of HMG Engineers, the council again tabled action on approving a final payment of $19,200 to Neuman Company Contractors due to continuing issues with a telemetry sensor that monitors the water level in the city’s water storage tower. The sensor reportedly hasn’t worked correctly since Neuman completed a painting and repair project on the tower. Last month, the council approved payment of $72,018 but withheld the retainer pending the company’s successfully repairing the issue.

“They thought they fixed it but they didn’t,” Mayor Jim Kelly said. Kelly said the company is expected to return with a third party to help pinpoint and repair the problem. “We’ve got the money but we’re going to hold onto it.”

The council rejected Vonder Haar’s suggestion that the city approve the payment pending resolution of the sensor issue.

Advertisement

“I don’t want to authorize payment because we could pay it and then, two weeks later, it could stop working again,” Ald. Sarraco said.

Vonder Haar also reported on progress being made toward completing a survey of lead water service lines to Benld homes. The state-funded survey is expected to document the number of homes whose water is delivered through lines contaminated with lead. At some point in the future, grant funds are expected to be made available to help replace the lines with non-toxic materials.

Vonder Haar said fliers regarding the survey are expected to be mailed to local residents in two or three weeks. In the meantime, he said city officials could help by using social media and other resources to increase public awareness of the project.

“Any public awareness you can do will be greatly appreciated,” he said.

POLICE ISSUES

City Attorney Verticchio said he would talk to Police Chief Jared DePoppe after Ald. Fletcher complained he had called for a police officer to ticket an unlicensed solicitor, claiming to represent a local electrical utility. Fletcher said the officer who responded, however, refused to write a citation, presumably because no state laws were broken.

“What good does it do to have them if they’re not going to write ordinance violations?” Fletcher asked. “We need to get things clarified.”

Additionally, Ald. Saracco complained that Gillespie is still not providing the City Council with an accounting of the amount of time spent in Benld on patrol.

Advertisement

Verticchio said he would discuss both issues with DePoppe, noting the contract for police services specifically obligates Gillespie Police to write ordination violation citations.

NUISANCE PROPERTIES

On a motion by Ald. Balzraine, the council voted unanimously to declare 500 North Sixth Street a public nuisance, which authorizes the city to seek legal action to clean up the property. The property recently was foreclosed, making the mortgage holder responsible for abating the nuisance, according to Verticchio.

No specific action followed a 20-minute executive session to discuss litigation, but Verticchio updated the council in open session about several pending cases. He reported that he expects the court to give permission to the city to clean up a property at 407 North Fourth Street but that police will probably be needed to remove squatters who reportedly moved into the house.

The council somewhat reluctantly accepted a bid of $11,000 from a neighbor to purchase a nuisance property at 306 North Seventh Street. Verticchio said the city had wanted 12,750 to fully recoup legal costs and the cost of clean-up. Seeing that no other offers have been received, he recommended accepting the bid and absorbing the $1,750 loss.

“I don’t know that we have many other options,” Ald. Saracco commented.

In a related matter, the council accepted a bid of $1,000 from Melvin West to purchase a city-owned parcel at 408 South Main Stree.

LEASE AGREEMENT TABLED

Advertisement

The council tabled action on renewing a lease on the building currently serving as the city’s post office on Central Avenue. The current lease doesn’t expire until 2025, but the building owner wants to renew the lease for five years, along with an option to renew for two more five-year terms. Accepting the new terms would essentially obligate the city through 2040.

City aldermen opted to refer the issue to Verticchio for further research and recommendation. Among the issues the council wants resolved is a provision in the contract requiring the city to pay the company that drafts the lease.

OTHER ACTION

In other action, the council:

  • Renewed the city’s liability insurance policy with the Illinois Municipal League’s Risk Management Association. The policy is basically a shared risk program involving municipal enrollees from throughout the state. By pooling resources, RMA is expected to keep rates relatively low. The premium for the new policy is increased by about eight percent.
  • Voted to purchase an electronic digital transit at a cost of about $800.
  • Agreed to purchase rock and culvert to resupply the city’s inventory.
  • Approved a business for Cindy’s Decor and More, a home-based business operated by Cindy Crites.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Community News

Progressive Club to celebrate 90th anniversary

Published

on

Benld Entreprise

The Wilsonville Progressive Club will celebrate and host a 90 year Anniversary Party on Saturday, May 11. The party will include a catered dinner, a live band, and fireworks.

Doors will open at 2 pm with a catered dinner being served at 4 pm.  The Shane Kessinger Experience (live band) will play at 5 pm, and a grand fireworks display will be held at dusk.

The Progressive Club was originally established in 1934 by the Progressive Miners and was located on the northwest side of Wilsonville’s main street. The Club moved to their new building in January of 1949 and today this is still the current location at 212 Wilson Street in Wilsonville.

Wilsonville was founded in 1917 when Superior Coal Co. Mine No. 4 was sunk and this was the most modern mine in the Superior field. At that time, the little settlement which grew up around the mine was called Wilson. One day a worker paused and asked, “What are we going to name this town?” President Wilson was in office, thus the town was then and there named Wilson until 1919 when it was incorporated and the name expanded to Wilsonville.

The Wilsonville Progressive Club is operated and maintained by an elected panel of trustees and loyal members.  The Club is open to the public and membership is always welcome.  The large outdoor covered pavilion and manicured grassy side lot offer an attractive and convenient venue for any event along with inside facilities. 

If you are interested in renting for any kind of event, call 217-835-3122 during open hours which are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 4 pm to close, and Sunday doors open at 2 pm.  Every Sunday afternoon at 4 pm is the Queen of Hearts drawing and the Club is on Facebook as well.

Advertisement
Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community News

Gillespie Police Report: April 14-20, 2024

Published

on

SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Oak Street in reference to a dog bite.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street to pick up a found item.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Chestnut Street in reference to a burglary.

An officer was out in the 200 block of North Macoupin Street in reference to a motorist assist.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Schmidt Street in reference to a 911 call.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of South 1st Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Broadway Street in reference to a medical call.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of South Illinois Street in Benld in reference to illegal burning.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 5th Street in Benld in reference to an animal complaint.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Horizon Street in reference to a 911 call.

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2024

An officer was dispatched to Gillespie Police Department to speak with a male in reference to a theft in the 100 block of South Main Street in Benld.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of West Osie Street in reference to a violation of an order of protection.

Nicholas O. Landolt, 36, of Gillespie was arrested on multiple warrants including one out of St. Clair County for possession for methamphetamine, a second one out of Montgomery County for failure to appear for driving while license was revoked, and a third out of Macoupin County for failure to appear for methamphetamine.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to East Walnut Street in reference to a suspicious noise.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Abba Street in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of Broadway Street in reference to a medical alarm.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a theft in the 200 block of West Oak Street.

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to criminal damage to her property.

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

An officer spoke with a female in the 100 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to a neighbor dispute.

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a violation of an order of protection.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Southern Street in reference to a suspicious person.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 1100 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to criminal damage to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 900 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to criminal trespass to property. Melissa J. Hughes, 49, of Benld was arrested on a Montgomery County warrant for theft/larceny.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Francis Street in reference to a traffic crash.

Advertisement

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to a civil issue in the 700 block of Rose Street in Benld.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of South 5th Street in Benld in reference to a domestic dispute.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Pine Street to assist the Department of Children and Family Services.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of Broadway Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of East Central Avenue in Benld in reference to a 911 call.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2024

An officer spoke with a female at Gillespie Police Department in reference to fraud in the 200 block of South Macoupin.

An officer was dispatched to a business in the 500 block of East Elm Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to Route 4 and Staunton Road in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of Gillespie Street in reference to unwanted solicitors.

An officer was dispatched to High Street and Gillespie Street in reference to a suspicious noise.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of High Street in reference to unwanted solicitors.

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

An officer was flagged down at Elm Street and Clinton Street and spoke with an individual in reference to a civil issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Mt. Olive Road in Eagarville in reference to a domestic dispute.

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

Advertisement

THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2024

An officer was dispatched to a business in the 400 block of South Macoupin Street in reference to a panic alarm sounding.

An officer was dispatched to the 1300 block of South Second Street in reference to a civil standby.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Osie Street in reference to a dog bite.  Heather L. Kimberlin, 47, of Gillespie was issued a citation for dog at large.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Baker Street in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was out with a suspicious vehicle in the alley in the 500 block of Park Avenue.

An officer was dispatched to East Walnut and South Main Street in Benld in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the Veterans Memorial Park in Benld in reference to a suspicious vehicle that had been parked there for a couple of days.

Advertisement

Gillespie Police Department was requested for traffic control by the Gillespie Fire Department for a fire on Eagarville Road.

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2024

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of East Walnut Street in reference to a traffic crash.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of South Street in Gillespie in reference to a juvenile issue.

An officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Litchfield Road in East Gillespie in reference to a suspicious person at the storage units. Kathy J. Henderson, 49, of Sawyerville was arrested on a Macoupin County warrant for failure to appear for bad checks

An officer initiated a traffic stop at Maple Street and Macoupin Street. Kenny L. Fults, 18, of Belleville was issued a citation for possession of cannabis.

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of Mt. Olive Road in Eagarville in reference to civil standby.

An officer was dispatched to the 500 block of West Burton Street in reference to an animal complaint.

Advertisement

SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2024

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

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of North 7th Street in Benld in reference to criminal trespassing. Timothy J. Dalpozzo, 57, of Benld was arrested for criminal trespassing to residence and a Macoupin County warrant for criminal trespassing to a residence.

An officer initiated a traffic stop at South Street and Chestnut Street and charges are pending crime lab results.

An officer was dispatched to the 100 block of East Maple Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to Macoupin Street and Elm Street in reference to reckless driving.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of Osie Street in reference to a dog at large.

An officer was dispatched to the 600 block of North 8th Street in Benld in reference to medical assist.

Advertisement

An officer was dispatched to the 200 block of West Spruce Street in reference to a suspicious person.

An officer was dispatched to the 400 block of West Baker Street in reference to criminal trespass to property.

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Park Street in Benld in reference to a medical call.

An officer spoke with a male at Gillespie Police Department in reference to an ordinance issue.

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

Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community News

HSHS St. Francis Hospital offers volunteer opportunities for feens

Published

on

LITCHFIELD, Ill. — HSHS St. Francis Hospital is offering service opportunities to area teens this summer through the 2024 Junior Volunteer Program. Applications are being accepted now through May 1.

Applicants must be high school students maintaining at least a “C” average, be a minimum of 14 years of age by June 1 and be willing to volunteer at least two hours per week during the summer program. Junior volunteers will perform a variety of duties in various hospital departments. 

Registration materials are available on the hospital’s website volunteer page at https://www.hshs.org/st-francis/community/volunteer.

All participants in the program will be required to present proof of immunizations for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and Varicella (chicken pox). An additional requirement includes attendance at a hospital orientation.

A limited number of positions will be available. For more information, contact HSHS St. Francis Hospital at 217-324-8200.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Trending

×

We need your support. If you value having timely, accurate news about your community, please become one of our subscribers. Subscribe