Consideration for issuing a liquor licence to a new business in Effingham was put on hold after concerns were raised about the proliferation of electronic gaming establishments at Tuesday’s Effingham City Council Meeting. The issue of whether to give an liquor licence to Elite Restaurants Group, Inc, was tabled after Commissioner Kevin Willis expressed concerns that the group’s proposed establishment in Effingham, Bella’s Bistro, was essentially a video gaming parlor by another name.
Representatives from Elite Restaurant Group, Inc, Alex Alan and Rocky Bahlla, were present at the meeting and did state that their establishment was not a gaming parlor, but would include a private gaming room. Commissioner Merv Gillenwater stated that the Bahlla had originally said that there would not be gaming at the establishment and withdrew his support for issuing the liquor license on the grounds that the city council was lied to. City Administrator Jim Arndt concurred with Gillenwater that Bahlla had stated that there wouldn’t be gaming at the establishment at a previous meeting. Bahlla apologized for the misunderstanding. The issue was tabled for further investigation.
Also Approved at Tuesday’s meeting was a resolution allowing the issuance of bonds to the city to offset the cost of the new police station. John Vezzetti, from Bernardi Security, presented to council about about locking in a historically low 2.6% fixed interest rate on the bonds with the company. According to Vezzetti, the city could have their funding by early 2017 if they chose to do business with the company.
The city council also discussed the 2017 tax levy. The proposed levy amounts to $4,442,820 which equates to .57% increase from last year’s. According to City Administrator Arndt, this number is actually relatively low.
An update was provided on the progress of the design work for the new police station by Emily Spindler, of FGM Architects. Plans are on schedule for the project with construction designs taking place as early as next month and the project going out to bid in April of 2017.
An expense of $17,720.54 was approved to upgrade pumps the West Wernsing Lift Station. An Employee Classification and Compensation Committee was also formed at Tuesday’s meeting consisting Commissioners Willis, and Don Althoff and City Administrator Arndt.
The City Council also had discussion on providing funds, to the tune of $35,000, to rehabilitate the outside of the Effingham Dairy Queen, re-plating lots around Mette’s, and rezoning several lots to allow for the construction of Meijer. Also discussed was rezoning property at 403 West National Avenue to for the operation of brewery.