Thursday, July 2, 2015

Curbside

Possibly indicating the amount to which alcohol sales affected revenues, Curbside has been closed since the city council imposed the 2 week hold on its liquor license. Prior to that, the bar and grill had hosted events every night of the week.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Residency Requirement Pulled

Just got an email that, due to numerous requests, the ordinance regarding residency requirements has been pulled from tonight's City Council Agenda

Due to City Council and citizen requests received pertaining to Carbondale City Council Agenda item 6.2 "Ordinance Amending Title One (1) of the Carbondale Revised Code as it Relates to Residency Requirement for City Employees," Mayor John M. Henry has pulled the item which proposed to reconsider in-City residency requirements for executive personnel of the City of Carbondale. There will be no discussion or action taken in relation to this matter at tonight's City Council meeting.

Sales Tax Increase

Carbondale sales tax increases to 8.75% tomorrow as the city tried to balance the budget and fund employee pensions. At least it is not the highest in the state. Up around Bloomington, sales tax approximates 10%.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Residency Requirements

In a letter to her email list, Jane Adams pointed out a change to residency requirements on the agenda for tomorrow night's city council meeting. Currently, executive city employees are required to live within the city limits, all other city employees must live within 9 miles of the city, Under the current ordinance, this means that only 10 out of all the city employees are required to live in Carbondale. From the proposed ordinace: 

Pay Grade 9 City Attorney, Public Works Director, Finance Director, Police Chief, Fire Chief,
Administrative Services Director (Human Resources), Development Services
Director (Building, Planning/Zoning, Code Enforcement)


Pay Grade 8 Accounting Manager, Maintenance & Environmental Services Manager (PW),
Information Systems Manager (IT), Water Operations Manager


Pay Grade 8 Exemptions
Deputy Police Chief (2), Police Lieutenant (4), Assistant Fire Chief (3)


The City Manager position (unclassified pay grade) and the City Clerk (pay grade 6) are also
required to reside within the City limits according to City Code.


The city has not had a Police Chief since last summer, after the firing of then Chief Jody O'Guinn. Jeff Grubbs has filled the position as Interim Police Chief since then and both Mayor Mike Henry and City Manager Kevin Baity have expresses satisfaction with his work and a desire to hire him as Police Chief. However, Grubbs lives outside the city, but within the 9 miles required. For Grubbs to accept the position, he would need to sell or otherwise dispose of his current residence and move within city limits.

Furthermore, Fire Chief John Michalesko plans to retire in the near future, meaning that the city will either need to promote from within or recruit a new chief from outside. Apparently, the requirement to live within city limits is seen as a impediment in either case.

It would appear then, that while the city works to bring in outside businesses, students and new residents, city staff do not see it as a particularly desirable location to live and that requiring higher pay grade officials to live here is an impediment to recruiting them.

Below are the four options city staff has presented and the staff recommendation. You will note that leaving things as they are is not one of the four optioned presented:

A number of options were reviewed that include:
1. Require all new employees to live within the City limits. This is not an option as the police and fire
unions’ contract allow for residency within the 9-mile boundary. This matter was the subject of a legalcase in which the unions wanted to extend the boundary to greater than 9 miles. The result was a rulingin favor of the City to retain the 9-mile boundary.


2. Create more exemptions for more classes of executive employees, similar to the 1999 and 2005 Councilactions. This only serves to further alienate the few remaining employees who are bound by the Citylimits requirement. This could also lead to a discrimination law suit brought by those remaining nonexempted employees.


3. Eliminate the City limits requirement for executive employees. In other words, all employees have thesame rights and must live within the 9-mile boundary. The argument against this is “there will be a largenumber of employees leave the City limits.” As indicated above, currently only 10 employees (3.7%) arebound by this requirement therefore there cannot be a large number of employees leave the City.


4. Eliminate all residency requirements. Due to the previous legal decision in favor of the City and the 9-mile residency boundary, this is not a viable option. Each time the police and fire union contracts are upfor renegotiation, they try to argue extending the boundary; this year the argument was from 9 miles to20 miles.


RECOMMENDATION:
After conducting a review of the history presented above and the significantly small number of employees affected by the current City limit residency requirement, it is recommended the City Council choose Option 3above and adopt an Ordinance eliminating the City limits requirement for executive employees in pay grades 8 and 9, the City Manager and the City Clerk.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Liquor Control Commission Meeting

The Liquor Control Commission meets this Tuesday, just before city council. Looking at the agenda, I can understand why people get confused about who has a license for what here in the 'dale:

Roll Call
2. Approval of minutes from May 21, 2015
3. Application to transfer a Class B2 liquor license (On-premises consumption – all alcoholic liquors) from Calla Calis, LLC d/b/a Saluki Bar/Levels to Austin Knoob, an individual, d/b/a Saluki Bar/Levels at 760 East Grand Avenue
4. Application for a Class D2 liquor license (Hotel/Motel – all alcoholic liquors) from Sun Rise Motel Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Best Western Saluki Inn at 801 North Giant City Road
5. Application to transfer a Class B2 liquor license (On-premises consumption – all alcoholic liquors) from Stix Bar, LLC d/b/a Stix to Manney, LLC d/b/a Stix on the Strip at 517 South Illinois Avenue
6. Proposed Changes to Sections 2-4-14, 2-4-16, and 2-4-17 of the Carbondale Revised Code Requiring Local Liquor Control Commission Approval of Changes in Ownership or the Nature of the Business
7. Proposed Changes to the Liquor Code Requiring Submission of Documents Submitted to and From the Illinois Liquor Control Commission
8. Election of Officers
9. Liquor Advisory Board Comments
10. Citizens’ Comments
11.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Terri Bryant in Carbondale

In case anyone wants to talk with our State Representative, Terri Bryant, she and her staff will be at the Carbondale Civic Center from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday June 26.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Island Parking

Things will get somewhat difficult for the businesses located in the Island building complex at 715 S. University in about 2 weeks. They have already lost most of their convenient downtown parking to the Carbondale Flats/Evolve project and have made due with the 6 or so metered spaces on the west side of the building and the remaining metered spaces in the lot across the street by the Campus Shopping Center. Employees who work in one of the Island businesses and drive have tended to drop half a dozen quarters into the Campus Shopping Center meters and left the spaces next to their building open for customers. Customers have also used the Campus Shopping Center spaces as well but that will end in about 2 weeks.

In order to make sure there is space available for customers of B&A Travel and the businesses in the Campus Shopping Center, the meters there will get removed later this summer and a more aggressive towing policy implemented in order to make certain no one parks in the space for hours on end, essentially reserving the parking for customers of the businesses surrounding it. The parking space there is private property and has been for years. The owners years ago arranged with the city to install meters in order to generate funds for maintenance of the lot. However with the sharp reduction of available parking, the owners felt it necessary to make sure enough parking remained available for B&A and Campus Shopping Center customers.

The city has expanded parking behind the businesses on the east side of S. Illinois so I hope customers of the Island and other businesses in downtown will take advantage of it.