Tuesday, October 23, 2012

City Council Meeting 10/23/12

Listening to the city council meeting.  According to city manager Baity, we will see online streaming of council meetings by the next council meeting and the water and sewer office is getting remodeled to put more teller-like windows in so that office workers and customers will be at the same eye level.

Local landlord Herb Donow, owner of the Island and Julia buildings among other properties and a former member of the Carbondale Main Street Board, spoke against renewal of the Special Services Area that provides partial funding for Carbondale Main Street in the form of a property tax on locations within the SSA. Donow's major complaint is that Main Street has received the funding for 15 years and he has seen much more focus by the organization on the northern end of Illinois Avenue, around the Town Square, than on the south end, where several of his properties are located.  He requested that the item reauthorizing the SSA be pulled from the consent agenda and put up to a vote on its own.

It was, and Donow requested that council either, redraw the SSA boundaries to eliminate areas that he felt were not receiving benefits from Carbondale Main Street, eliminate the SSA, or set a shorter renewal period (currently it is five years). Tom Redmond, a member of the CMS board, also spoke to the council, noting this was the first time he had  heard Donow's concerns and urging him and other downtown property owners to contact CMS with concerns and proposals.  Council's eventual consensus was to table the item and bring it up at the next meeting, giving Donow and others time to provide materials to council supporting the action they want taken.

Gus Karayanis  (I think, might have been John) co-owner of the now closed Underground Pub and Grille rose to speak after Donow, not so much about the SSA but to complain that for fifteen years he has approached the city regarding the naming of the street that runs on two sides of this restaurant, both of which are officially named S. University, making it harder for people to find the restaurant.  Manager Baity asked him to contact his office later in the week to discuss it.  Not sure why it hadn't been taken care of before if Karayanis has approached the city a number of times over the years.

Much of the rest of the meeting focused on approving hearings for proposed changes to Carbondale's TIF Districts and amending the proposed Planned Unit Development for Liberty Village which attracted much less controversy than I expected.m

Finally, SIUC  requested the expansion of its liquor license to other venues than the Arena, Student Center and the Stadium, pointing out that it often had events at other locations on campus where it would like the ability to sell liquor, primarily in conjugation with events held at those locations.  After some discussion and an amendment, which I missed, the change in the ordinance passed.

Now we are in citizen comments with one resident complaining about her property taxes and how many different taxing bodies collect part of the property tax, as well as the smell of her water.  Mayor Fritzler pointed out that the state of Illinois has more taxing bodies than any other state in the union and that a change over in the water system is causing the smell which has affected a number of people in the community.  Another resident brought up a concern he has brought up before council previously, the lack of tiedowns and lights on tow trucks pulling towed vehicles in town and asking for greater enforcement of the ordinances requiring them.

Update:  according to the Southern, council approved the proposed development at Liberty Village.

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