After around 11 years, Effingham could see portions of its comprehensive plan updated. At their meeting Tuesday night, the Effingham City Council discussed updating future land use maps in the Comprehensive Plan. Future land use maps largely determine how the city develops as they are referenced for rezoning requests. “We use them very regularly in Plan Commission,” said City Engineer Jeremy Heuerman. “What we’re doing is just basically updating it on how the city has progressively grown over the last ten years and how we want to see it grow in the next ten years.”
Heuerman said that conflicts with development arise when the Comprehensive Plan differs from what individuals want to do with property. He said that the City tries to stay in-line with the plan, but also with the natural growth and development in the area. Updating the plan will involve public hearings and will take around 4-5 months.
The City Council also had discussion on changes to the City’s amusement tax ordinance. While the tax is on the books, the city has not always enforced it. The ordinance requires amusement providers to pay a 5% tax on ticket sales. Proposed updates would increase the cost of the licence required for amusement providers from $25 to $100 and eliminate exemptions for non profit organizations. Additionally, the new provisions would allow amusement providers who host less than ten events a year to pay the tax based on estimated returns.
City Attorney Tracy Willenborg said that Effingham’s ordinance is consistent with other municipalities in the state.
In other action, the City Council:
- Passed a resolution authorizing a joint agreement with the state to use grant money to improve Outer Belt West with lighting, a multi-use trail, and pavement markings.
- Approved an ordinance to abate the levy and extension of property taxes to pay for bonds sold by the City to build the new police station. Sales taxes will be used to pay the bonds.
- Discussed an ordinance establishing pay rates ranges for various non-union employees.
- Discussed Closing out the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.
- Heard an update on City Tourism activities. Some tourism efforts include 10 billboards advertising Effingham throughout the state, publishing the 2017 Effingham Visitor’s Guide, and providing grant money for area events. Some 2,500 people stopped by the Effingham Visitor Center in 2016.