City Council to vote on resolution to governor

Cassie Buchman, City Editor

The City Council will be voting to send a resolution to the governor to protect the full funding of local government distributive funds, the execution of an agreement with an energy company and accepting a right of way on Grant Avenue among other things at their meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Gov. Rauner recently proposed a 50 percent decrease in the local share of the income tax in his 2016 budget address.

The state collects income taxes from everyone in the state, and a portion of this is given back to cities.

The amount of money Charleston gets is proportional to their population.

Mayor Larry Rennels said the amount of money is set aside for municipalities, and government property would be cut in half because of this decrease.

“It will have a big impact on our revenue,” he said.

This reduction will mean Charleston would lose over $1 million in funding.

“That’s 10 percent of our general fund,” Rennels said.

This loss of funding could result in the laying off of 12-15 employees of the city.

The city council will vote on sending a resolution to the governor explaining the importance of the general fund in Charleston, and to reconsider the reduction in the local reductions by finding somewhere else to get the money.

Rauner’s proposal will have to go through the state legislature to be passed.

“I assume debate, and compromises, will be made,” Rennels said. “We made this resolution so the governor and the legislature knew where we stood.”

The City Council will also vote on approving an agreement made with Ameren Energy Marketing Company.

The contract the city currently has with the energy company expires in October of this year, and they need to sign a contract with the company for the next two to four years.

Council members have compared prices and observed trends in the market to get efficient energy services.

Before, the city had been paying 4.798 cents per kilowatt-hour for electrical services.

Ameren Energy Marketing Company has offered to provide these services for 4.793 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“This is just a little bit less than what we are currently paying,” Rennels said.

The City Manager has the authority to sign the agreement before the city council meeting. The council then approves the signing of the agreement after the fact.

The contract signed would make the price 4.793 cents for electrical services from October 2015 until October 2017.

Putting a sidewalk on the Garfield Avenue will also be voted on at the City Council meeting.

“There are a couple of pieces of property the city does not own that they need to build the sidewalk,” Rennels said. “We have talked to the property owners, explained why we need it, and they have agreed to sell the property.”

The property needs to be surveyed to see how much property can be offered.

The sidewalk will go from 20th Street on Garfield Avenue to the University. There will be 136 square feet of sidewalk purchased and on 42 square feet of sidewalk purchased, each for $300.

“People want to walk along Garfield to get across to Casey’s General store so we’re adding a sidewalk,” Rennels said. “People can walk from EIU to Wal-Mart and have a sidewalk.”

Rennels said the city was planning to build the sidewalk as soon as the weather permits in spring.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]