St. elmo home

A St. Elmo resident requested the city council to do something about the property at the corner of Hazel and Oaks streets that has been an ongoing problem for several years.

The first step in bringing a Dollar General to the city of St. Elmo was approved by the city council  Tuesday.

    Aldermen approved a professional services agreement with Jacob & Klein Ltd., the Economic Development Group Ltd. and Westmore Securities LLC. to pursue the creation of a second tax increment finance district that would include property on the south side of U.S. 40 just past city limits slated for the new business. The developers are purchasing the farm property with the intention of building a Dollar General there.

     The city already has one TIF district, but rather than incorporating the property into that district, Mayor Larry Tish said it would be less expensive to establish another TIF district. In order for the property to be included in the proposed 23-year TIF district, it would have to be annexed by the city. He added the property does meet TIF district requirements.

    Tish said according to city attorney Rick Day, the second TIF district would pay for itself by the second year. In addition, Tish estimates the store would generate about $10,000 in sales tax annually for the city, as well as increase property value. Tish said the developer has agreed to pay a portion of the costs, $5,000, in establishing a new TIF district.

    Alderman Jayson Porter asked when the expense of the city’s obligation of running utilities to the store would be known. Tish said the city’s engineer is getting estimates, noting there are already water and sewer lines at that location. He added the city would implement a development agreement concerning that when the time comes.

    Also Monday, the council heard from a resident who is fed up with neighboring property and wants it cleaned up.

    “It’s been six years,” said Daphne Oldfield. “I want to know how long is long enough.

    The city has looked into acquiring the condemned property on the corner of Hazel and Oak streets near St. Elmo Grade School; however, Tish said it would be up to the council to decide whether to pursue it.

    “If the city wants to get control of it, we have to make a decision on whether the city wants to take on the cost of following through with it,” he said, adding he was getting a cost estimate.

    Tish said the owner has been to court and was fined several times. He said the owner also obtained a demolition permit and has requested an extension on that permit; however, the house has remained only partially demolished. Tish said the city has reissued violation tickets to the owner and, at one point, offered a quick deed claim to the owner to take the property off her hands, but was turned down.

    “We just want the house gone,” he said.

    Oldfield said she also has offered to buy the property, but would now like to see the city do something about it.

    “When you keep your yard nice and pay taxes, it gets old,” said Oldfield, adding her taxes keep going up. “I just want something done about it.”

    In other business, the council:

    • Accepted the resignation of Lynne Helsel, who has been secretary and clerk for the city for six years, effective July 30.

    • Named Jumpin Jimmy’s business of the month.

    • Elected Alderman Chris Worman, who was absent Monday, chairman of the Citizen of the Year Committee.

    • Approved replacing radio repeaters in squad cars after the current ones were struck by lightning recently.

    • Appointed Daphne Oldfield to the Zoning Board of Appeals to fill a term set to expire March 2011.

    • Heard a complaint from Alderman Lloyd Carson about the unmowed grass at Deken Park.

    “Deken Park looks terrible,” he said.

    Tish recommended if the Parks Committee wants to terminate the contract the city has with the landscaping company. the issue should be placed on the agenda for next month’s meeting.

    Cathy Thoele can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 126 or cathy.thoele@effinghamdailynews.com.

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