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Where the Rails Cross the River


FROM THE DESK OF THE MAYOR



From the Desk of the MayorJune 28, 2017

In case you weren’t aware, the City of Chillicothe and the Peoria County Zoning Board of Appeals are in a legal battle with a company that wants to dig a gravel pit west of town on the south side of Truitt.  To be clear, this company is not Galena Gravel, which is located on the north side of Truitt. This issue is important to us as a gravel pit in this particular location would stunt the City’s opportunity for growth.  We obviously can’t grow to the east due to the river.  Growth to the north is hamper by the railroad and viaduct and to the south by Three Sisters Park.  Westerly growth, therefore, becomes critical.

 This battle has been going on for some time and the last hearing was May 19 during which both sides gave their closing remark, and the Judge stated that he would have a ruling within 30 days.  On June 19, we received a notice that, rather than provide a final ruling, he ruled that he doesn’t have enough of an understanding of the evidence that the Peoria County Zoning Board of Appeals relied on in making its decisions.  And so, the Judge has sent back a directive to the ZBA that they point out specific testimony and evidence they relied on in their case. No time line has been established for the next steps.  I’ll keep you posted.

On a different subject, the Council has determined that video gambling needed to be controlled. Evidence suggests that the Chillicothe video gambling market has become saturated.  It other words, we only have so many users in town and, if we allow more establishments to install machines, the existing establishments lose customers and revenue to any new ones.  And so, the Council passed an Ordinance limiting the number of establishments to the number we presently have plus a couple that have already applied for a license.

Speaking of video gambling, we were recently informed by the State of Illinois that they are going to suspend payments to the City for our portion of the gaming revenues due to the State’s inability to pass a budget.  They are also suspending payments to the City for our portion of Motor Fuel Tax and they are suspending any State-funded construction of transportation projects.  This will have a pretty drastic effect on the City’s cash flow.  I’m told that the same thing happened last year, but the funds were replenished last December through the approval of a State Appropriations Budget.  Optimistically, we are assuming the same thing will happen this December.  But, it’s hard to say what they might do.  Stay tuned.

That’s all for this time.  See you around town!

 Don

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