Thursday, April 30, 2020

Saluki Way Tax

Also asked for the expiration date of the Saluki Way component of the local sales tax at Tuesday night's city council meeting as it has been in place for about a decade (enacted under the administration of Brad Cole). Has another decade to go so all of those who voted for it will be long out of office and those in office will likely find good reason to keep it in place to put money into the General Fund.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

City Council Meeting

Caught the city council meeting on Zoom last night. The warrant items all got approved as did next year's city budget. The thing I found the most interesting were the votes to move  the  revenues generated from the food and beverage tax and the package liquor tax to the General Fund and a portion of the Home Rule Municipal Retailers' Occupation Tax and Municipal Motor Fuel Taxes to the General Fund. When I asked how much a portion was, the response was 50%.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Hickory Ridge Golf Course

Carbondale Park District announced today that Hickory Ridge Golf Course would open on May 1. Just in case you really wanted to get outside for "a good walk spoiled", as H. L. Wilson put it (not Mark Twain as many people think. There is no evidence that Twain ever said such a thing).

Monday, April 27, 2020

COVID-19 Testing

Looks as if, despite not appearing on the map, Memorial Hospital is also a COVID-19 testing site. They have a number of signs out along Highway 51  advertising they have tests for the virus.

Sunday, April 26, 2020


Working to generate revenue, PK's has been selling food out the front door to walk up customers. Saw a sign posted as I drove by yesterday advertising gumbo with a table blocking the door to prevent access to the inside of the bar.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Poplar Camp Beach

The city has decided not to open Poplar Camp Beach at Cedar Lake this summer and will use the time to make improvements to the concession building, work on the trails around the lake and develop the primitive camping sites at the lake.

Friday, April 24, 2020

COVID-19 Testing Sites

There are two publicly posted testing sites for COVID-19 in Carbondale. Cedar Court Clinic on the west side of town but someone has to refer you  there for testing. Shawnee Health Care on the east side will take you if you call for an appointment and a provider there determines if you have need based on your description of symptoms 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Stay at Home Extension

Governor just announced the shelter in place order has been extended until the end of May. Not sure how many businesses have enough capital on hand to stay closed for that length of time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Not Fade Away

Not Fade Away, which appears a tie die and t-shirt shop, looks to open in the 200 block of West Main whenever the shelter in place order gets lifted

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Local Vets

Some organization named Alliance Animal Health has bought up four of the local veterinary clinics: Lakeside, Spears Animal Hospital, Central Hospital for Animals and Creekside. The selling point, so to speak, for the purchase was that Alliance would handle office operations, freeing up the vet to practice without having to worry about billing and business operations. Apparently the purchase of Creekside did not work out as the two vets working at the practice left soon after the change in ownership and Alliance was not able to find any replacements, so the practice shuttered and the building has been up for sale since the spring.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Broken Windows

It seems someone went nuts this weekend along Main Street. There are reports of broken windows in the 200 block of East Main (police took the alleged vandal into custody) as well as broken windows in the Memorial Hospital parking lot.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Stadium Naming

I remember naming rights to SIUC's football and basketball stadiums were included as part of the Saluki Way funding tax. The original estimate to purchase the naming rights was up to $10 million, however they wound up going, about a decade after the original proposal was passed, for about $4-$5 million. I spoke with a couple of other bankers in the area last year after the rights were sold and they could not see how Banterra would get enough benefit from the naming rights to the Arena to justify the $4 million paid

Saturday, April 18, 2020

$349 Billion Gone in Fourteen Days

Well, that didn’t last long. The $349 billion appropriated for the CARES act and the Paycheck Protection Plan, which was a major component of the Act, ran out after about 2 week. Of course, it did not help that several chains, such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Potbelly Sandwich Shop applied for loans/grants under the program and received $10 million each ($20 million in the case of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, since the corporation had two different subsidiaries apply), the maximum allowable under the PPP.  Under the plan, the government considered any business employing fewer than 500 people a small business. With the average loan, according to the SBA, running just under $240,000 and over 1.3 million loans, at least, approved, it is no wonder the program ran out of funds so quickly. I do find it interesting that, since the CARES Act does not require the SBA to release loan/grant amounts, it has declined to do so. The only reason we know about the $10 million loans some corporations received is because they are publicly traded corporations and required by law and their charters to make that sort of information publicly available. Privately held companies and corporations are under no such requirement and have no legal obligation to do so. Several members of Congress are pushing the SBA to release the names of organizations that received CARES loans. We will see if their badgering of the SBA, which gave out more money in the past fourteen days than it had loaned out in the past 14 years, pushes the SBA to make public the names of other companies that received loans.
Meanwhile Congress is looking at putting more money into the PPP but the plan has run into an impasse  with some members of Congress wanting to just appropriate more money for the PPP as it stands, while others want to add wording to a second funding proposal that targets more new funds towards more specific parts of the economy, including hospitals , state and local governments and food assistance.  Until some agreement is reached, which will probably include adding the extra funds for hospitals and state and local governments,  we should not expect to see any more money coming immediately from the Federal Government, unless you are someone who gets your tax refund in the form of a check, in which case you can expect to see those funds show up anywhere from early May through mid-September.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Skate Shop

It would appear we have a skate shop going in on South Illinois. I was out at the post office earlier this week, dropping off some mail orders, and a gentleman was talking with the counter clerk about the skate shop he planned to open up on the Strip once the shutdown ended.  He was moving items out of his house into the shop and planned to open up after "shelter in place" ended. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

PPP Loans

At least 4 chain restaurants managed to score multi-million loans from the Paycheck protection Program. Thanks to this, thousands of small businesses failed to gain access to the thousands of dollars that could help them stay open over the next month or so. Was not a very well planned out program.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

City Council Meeting

Caught the City council meeting  streamed on Zoom last night. It went far faster than a normal council meeting would. I think the new technology inhibited the willingness of council members to comment on various topics since several of them accidentally muted themselves during the meeting., plus members of the community could only communicate to the council through email or instant messages.

The upcoming budget was discussed but the main topic of the meeting was the request by a number of restaurants to waive collection of March's food and beverage tax. After some discussion, the council decided to take no action on the request, effectively requiring collection of the taxes for March.  Council had two primary reasons for this:  1. The largest portion of the tax is collected by chain restaurants such as Chili's and MacAllister's Deli, with the smaller local restaurants generally remitting about $2000 and 2. Federal and state aid is starting to funnel into the regions (Traxx has already received a grant), so the council wanted to wait and see about what other funding would come in before waiving collection of the tax, since doing so would noticeably affect the city's treasury.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

City Council Agenda

Here is the agenda for tonight's city council meeting. Looks as if the major thing is a discussion of waiving the collection of the food/Beverage  tax. Not sure if this would be for the past month or until the shelter order gets rescinded.  If it gets waived until the shelter order gets lifted, then restaurants offering delivery and pickup should make sure they stop collecting it as well. The tax, after all, is supposed to go to the city, not to those collecting it.

If you want to watch the council meeting, you can register to do so here. Questions for the council should be sent to

Monday, April 13, 2020

Chamber of Commerce Interview

WSIU interviewed Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Olsen this morning on the effect of the stay at home order on local businesses. I don't thing unemployment benefits will have as much an effect on employees as she comments. Although there are instances of people making more filing for unemployment than they did working, the increased unemployment benefits are only temporary.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

New Director at Keep Carbondale Beautiful

From the press release

Carbondale, Ill (April 8, 2020) - The Keep Carbondale Beautiful board is pleased to announce the selection of a new Executive Director.  Anne Krippenstapel brings experience in natural resources, community education, and art.  Her degrees are in Art and in Forestry.  She hails from Bloomington and came to Carbondale four years ago via Champaign.  Board President Sandy Litecky says, “The basics will stay the same – litter control, waste reduction, beautification, and education.  We’ll see some things get jazzed up ….  The board is already jazzed up about the potential for Anne at Keep Carbondale Beautiful.”  Anne is interested in combining her skills to work on new ways of beautifying Carbondale, involving the community in an artful way: “It’s all about working together.  I like to make people feel included in community projects.”

Current KCB work is affected by the restrictions on movement and group meetings. The spring tree and shrub sale wasn’t held, but Anne will supplement the fall sale with alternative planters by upcycling old work boots, bird cages, and motorcycle tanks.
Spring Cleanup and Recycling Day has been extended to the whole month of April.  The KCB Challenge is 30 days of cleanups all over the community.  Anne says, “I’ve been going out and getting exercise and fresh air while I beautify the neighborhood.” To volunteer and get a street assignment, or for more information, see the website <> or call 618-525-5525.

Friday, April 10, 2020

CARES Act Allocation for SIUC

Rather surprised this got posted but if you scroll down to page 67, you will see that, amidst the barber colleges and ABC Adult College (yes that is a school, check page 1), SIUC and SIUE both got money allocated under the CARES Act. SIUC receives $8,866,214, of which at least  $4,433,318 must go to emergency student aid and grants.  SIUE receives $9,678,393 of which at least $4,839, 197 has to go to emergency student aid.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Vet Clinics

Heard that a number of vet clinics in southern Illinois have been purchased by the same corporation with the idea that the corporation would streamline back office procedures freeing up the veterinarians to focus on actual treatment. Anyone know if this is true?

Monday, April 6, 2020

Facade Grants

Not sure how much money the city has in its facade grant program but it might be helpful if the city council voted to modify it to make it into a temporary downtown or local retailer grant program and offer it as grants to local retailers that have had to close up in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic. It probably would not amount to a huge amount but would certainly be a gesture of support of local retail by the city council.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Building Remodeled

Edited due to additional information
The old radio station/payday loan office on East Main, just east of Yamato Steakhouse, is undergoing extensive remodeling as a developer has purchased it and is preparing it for another business coming into town. Due to the developer's request, the city is not at liberty to say just what business will move in there until a formal announcement is made.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Building Razed

The old Cars Inc. used car lot building at the corner of Wall and Main has been pulled down in the last couple of weeks and the ground seeded. No indication as to what will go there, if anything but I would not be surprised to see the now closed Main Street Laundromat sold and pulled down as well.

Friday, April 3, 2020

New Kahala

New Kahala Fast Foods, which temporarily closed on March 22, reopened on April 1st. However, the restaurant's Facebook page does indicate that delivery can take up to 2 hours, definitely taking the "Fast" out of the name.

Thursday, April 2, 2020


Am hearing on the news that every person in an area that does not get counted in the Census results in a loss of $1500 in Federal funding coming to that area. In addition, Carbondale would lose its automatic home rule status if official population levels drop below 25,000. Should that happen, the city would have to seek home rule status again through passing a referendum.  Having home rule status gives Carbondale quite a bit of power in making decisions regarding the community. The only restrictions that I find is that the community cannot incur debt payable from property tax receipts maturing more than 40 years in the future and the community cannot  define and provide for punishment of a felony.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Bost Phone meeting

Rep. Mike Bost will have a telephone discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic to answer questions from small business owners tomorrow at 11 .a.m..

Telephone Town Hall Meeting with United States Congressman Mike Bost

As we continue our efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus, I’ve been hearing from small businesses across Southern Illinois that have had to temporarily close their doors, reduce their workforce, or adapt the services they provide. It's an uncertain time and I appreciate that there are a lot of questions.
That's why I would like to invite you to participate in a Small Business Telephone Town Hall on Thursday this week. Joining me on the call will be experts from the House Small Business Committee and the Illinois Small Business Development Center to address your concerns.
I hope you can join us. Here's the information you need to dial in:
Who: Rep. Mike Bost and IL-12 small business owners
What: Telephone Town Hall Meeting
When: Thursday, April 2 at 11:00AM CT 
Call-in Number: 877-229-8493
PIN: 114029      
Please share this email with other business owners in your community.
- Rep. Mike Bost

Edited:  Tried to call in but the PIN did not work.