PANA — The Pana City Council handled its agenda in 12 minutes during its meeting on Monday night, Nov. 27, before entering an executive session.
Several million in grant funds could be coming to the city for several upcoming projects, according to Lee Beckman, an engineer with Milano and Grunloh of Effingham. Beckman provided an update on several of these grants — others being loans — in which the city submitted an application.
A grant worth $1.8 million — source unspecified — was already awarded and the grant consultant is working to cover the remaining costs for the water system project. There are existing requests with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for funding for new water infrastructure. The city plans to run a new water pipeline from the water treatment plant to the water tower.
The IEPA loan, if granted, will give the city roughly $1.2 million for the project with a principal forgiveness of 30 percent. This would reduce the city’s liability of the loan to $835,000, or roughly $2,685 a month for the next 30 years, and that is based on the one percent hardship interest rate.
In addition, the $1.5 million DCEO grant would provide $1.5 million for the roughly 8,200-foot water line project. The estimate sent to DCEO accounts for several pipe diameters, as well as valves, fire hydrants, meters, and service lines. A public hearing on this particular request will be held prior to the city council meeting on Monday, Dec. 18 at 6:45 p.m. The application is due to DCEO on January 18.
The council approved an application for a facade grant for Station 502, 123 E. Third. The grant is good for up to $5,000 for improvements to the building.
In addition, city attorney Steve Mahrt is working on a Tax Increment Financing redevelopment plan for a project called Pana Collective. The project involves the addresses of 142 and 144 S. Locust, the former previously serving as a barber shop for several decades. The pending deal is with development group WGO Investments out of Wood River. The plans involve a request for $419,000 to rehabilitate the properties and develop a green space with a band shell and public restrooms.
City engineer Greg Holthaus requested a Community Operations Committee meeting to discuss a road improvement project on Sixth Street. There are currently enough funds available in the motor fuel tax fund to cover the expenses.
Pana lake business
The council would approve several requests for lake lot size increases to double lots. With these approvals, it doubles the annual lease fee to $700. Receiving these approvals were Emily Prince (G02), Anthony Thevenot (C14A), and the city lot (G03).
In addition, the lake lot owned by Gina Rotman, G07, has been renamed to G10.
$1.4 million tax levy, sale of city-owned real estate on the table for next meeting
The council heard the first presentation on the city’s tax levy ordinance for Fiscal Year 2024. The levy is increasing to $1.4 million, which is roughly $100,000 more than the FY23 levy request of just over $1.3 million. The increase falls below five percent, which will not require a Truth in Taxation hearing.
Also in consideration was to seek bids for city-owned property at 401 E. First Street. The property is an empty lot, where the home that stood on that lot was demolished earlier this year.
Both measures will require final approval at the next meeting.
Mayor Nathan Pastor gave notice to the council about an emergency expenditure relating to the vacuum truck in the amount of $26,743. The truck was already partially disassembled for repairs. However, due to its status, they saved time and money by getting the required repair(s) done to return the vehicle to active status.
The meeting went into executive session at 7:12 p.m. to discuss employment and purchase of public property. They came back to regular session at 7:32 p.m., and no action was reported from the executive session. The council would adjourn at 7:33.
Alderman Tim Eddy was absent from the meeting.
The next council meeting will be Monday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. The second monthly meeting has been pushed up to a week earlier, Monday, Dec. 18, also at 7 p.m., due to the regularly scheduled meeting night falling on the Christmas holiday.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.