The Effingham City Council approved a new resolution that levies a tax increase of 9.5% on all taxable property within city limits. Tuesday’s meeting is the fourth time that the topic has been publicly discussed by the council. The new tax levy would allow the city to hire four new police officers by the next fiscal year.
Mayor Jeff Bloemker and Commissioner Merv Gillenwater expressed support for the resolution citing the need to improve public safety and infrastructure for the future. Commissioner Don Althoff spoke against the resolution suggesting that the public was not informed on the issue and that more time was needed to before the council should vote to pass it. The resolution passed by a vote of 4-1 with Commissioner Althoff voting No.
The City Council also approved a resolution to enter an agreement with Group Investments Inc. of Illinois to improve drainage along West Kentucky Avenue. The City agreed to pay up to 50% of the total project cost not to exceed $30,000. The resolution passed with a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Althoff voted No on the grounds that it opened the city to be approached by other organizations to assist with private development.
Additionally Economic Development Director Todd Hull and Vic Jansen of John Boos and Co. addressed the City Council about the company’s plan to purchase 15 acres of land from the city off U.S. 45 across from the Effingham Memorial Airport. The property will be bought at $20,000 per acre and will be used to build a new wood plant that will add jobs in the area. The company plans to move all wood shop operations currently located on Fayette Avenue to the new facility off U.S. 45 by 2017. The City Council has yet to vote on the sale of the land to John Boos and Co., but voiced support of the project.