Toulon City Council hears from Economic Development rep, grant hopeful for city park

Director Dennis Rewerts and Mr. Douglas Parrott from the Stark County Economic Development Partnership(SCEDP) clarified their letter sent to the City Council last month.  Rewerts reiterated the point “I’m not favoring one community over another.  Many business people approach us already knowing what community they want to start a business in.”
Rewerts continued to explain to the council that the City’s investment in the SCEDP is utilized for various purposes.  Examples include a partnership with the Stark County school system to successfully apply for and receive grants, a DVD (digital video disc) which will be used as a marketing tool to attract people to Stark County and the communities within, and working with Peoria to establish and expand tourism into Stark County communities.
City Park
The Parks committee is in the process of developing a tiered plan to renovate the park pavilion and other items connected with the park.  According to Mayor Rick Collins, Toulon is working in conjunction with State Representative Don Moffitt to secure a $20,000 grant for use in improving the park’s equipment and overall general appeal to citizens.
Treasurer report
A treasurer’s report, or lack of one, is hampering the council and in particular the Finance Committee because the committee does not know where the City’s revenues stand as far as hard numbers.  The treasurer’s report is required to point out each line item so that the council can act appropriately and responsibly in conducting the City’s business.  No exact solution to this situation was offered at the meeting.
Water bill
Under the Water and Sewer Committee, the Toulon Health Center has informed the City that the State of Illinois is delinquent in providing promised funding of the facility and therefore the Health Center has requested assistance in paying its water bills.  The center has asked to pay a portion of the water bill until State funding is secured.  Committee Chairperson Vicki Hamilton will meet with Health Center representatives to work out a temporary compromise.
Mr. Art Whittaker, Tax increment Finance (TIF) coordinator for the City, presented the council with copies of the TIF rules and regulations under the heading TIF Distribution.  Whittaker read the rules to the council to clear up any confusion that may still be present with the council members about TIF.  To view a copy of these rules, contact the Toulon City Hall.
Whittaker stated “Kellie Gerber received $7,000 initially in a grant and now has requested an additional $14,000.  I have informed her that she will not receive any portion of the second request until she presents a business plan.”
Projects completed with TIF funds are the east end sewer loop, sewer loop at the high school, and the (grain) elevator entrance. Still scheduled to be completed this year are the Court Street curbs and the curbs at the schools.  The Route 17 & 91 junction sewer loop project is not on the agenda for this year.
Mayor Collins added, “We did things 50 years ago we would have done today if we had the cash.  Now we don’t have the revenue, but TIF gives us that revenue.  We’ll put effort in their direction such as the high school because they are a contributor to TIF.”
Emergency Services
Fred Sams, Stark County Emergency Services Director, requested the council donate a small generator (for power outages) which is on the City’s excess equipment listing.  The donation would go to Goshen Township in case of an emergency to provide the township building with electricity.  The council unanimously approved the donation.
Derelict property
Concerning derelict properties within City limits, Mayor Collins said, “I want to fix this problem.”  The Mayor will bring copies of the city ordinance and read it for the city council at next month’s meeting.  Under particular scrutiny is the residence, what remains of it, at the corner of East Greenwood St. and Route 91.
The house burned several months ago and no action has been taken for its demolition and removal.  The City Attorney, Mr. Bruce Fehrenbacher, is currently drafting a legal notice to the owner(s) of the property to in fact remove the remainder of the house.
The council was asked to consider rejoining the North Central Illinois Council on Government (NCICG) for an annual dues charge of $320.  If council members need answers or clarification to their questions concerning city government rules, regulation, laws, etc. then they can contact the NCICG for those answers.
This reporter asked at the end of the meeting as a citizen, not as a reporter, why the “Compact Car Only Parking” signs are being blatantly ignored and no tickets are issued to offenders.  Directed to speak with Police Committee Chairperson Frank Galleciez after the meeting, Galleciez stated, “The Police Chief is not doing what we (the Council and the Mayor) have asked him to do.  I’ll speak with him again.”

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