Pittsfield City Council approves variance, annexation petition

Posted: Nov. 6, 2012 9:58 pm Updated: Nov. 28, 2012 12:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- The Pittsfield City Council approved an annexation petition tied to a planned second tax increment financing district and cleared the way, with some stipulations, for a business expansion.

Aldermen on Tuesday approved a variance for Liberty Village, which plans an addition for physical therapy.

City Clerk Cindy Prentice said the variance came with stipulations that Liberty Village will be responsible for building over the water line and must put that in writing, will need to erect a barrier between the street and the building, will need a property transfer with a survey and appraisal at their expense, water retention plan from the engineer and a stormwater easement.

Aldermen also accepted an annexation petition from Atlas Construction, better known as Pike County Lumber, and directed City Attorney Mike Hollahan to prepare an ordinance.

Pike County Lumber expects to sell its site, clearing the way for a Casey's General Store, and relocate to Pittsfield's west edge. The site is just outside the city limits, but Pittsfield plans to annex it and neighboring properties to establish a second TIF district to encourage more development.

The new district will connect with the city's existing district near the Lowry Motel, then will continue west along U.S. 54 past the city's new water plant at Underwood Corners and take in area on both sides of the highway. Several of the properties in the area already are in the city limits, but up to five more could be annexed.

TIF districts set a "base value" for property in their boundaries, then any increment, or any increase in property values from improvements, goes into a separate fund for 23 years to provide incentives for more improvement projects or local match money for grants.

Also Tuesday, aldermen agreed to keep Lake Pittsfield open for now and shut off water service if the weather turns bad before the next council meeting on Nov. 20. "They'll discuss it again, but they want to try to leave it open for deer season," Prentice said.

In other action, aldermen:

º Asked Hollahan to check into whether the city can adopt an ordinance, without being home rule, to award projects over $20,000 to local contractors if their bid is within 5 percent of the lowest bid. Aldermen had expected to give final approval to the ordinance on Tuesday.

º Referred salaries for the mayor, clerk, treasurer and aldermen to the Finance Committee, which will report back in two weeks. Salaries must be set at least 90 days before the April 9 election.

º Approved Christmas bonuses of $200 for full-time employees and $100 for part-time workers.

º Gave first reading approval to an ordinance permitting water plants in areas zoned for agricultural use.

º Approved a $50,000 loan from the wastewater treatment facility fund to the general corporate fund.

º Referred four bids for a 1-ton utility truck to the gas and water committees and authorized the committees to act.

º Approved pay requests from Vandevanter Engineering tied to the south lift station work and K.E. Voss for the Piper Lane.