Pittsfield City Council buys back industrial park site once intended for animal shelter

Posted: Apr. 3, 2013 9:45 am Updated: Apr. 17, 2013 11:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- The Pittsfield City Council has agreed to buy back a site in the industrial park once intended for an animal shelter.

Aldermen Tuesday approved spending $60,886 on the property sold to the Richard Gray Trust.

"They're willing to sell it back," City Clerk Cindy Prentice said. "They don't have plans to use it."

The city in July 2011 sold Lots 3B and 4 to the trust along with additional acreage next to one of the lots for a "buffer zone" as the property was developed.

The trust made no formal announcement about its plans, but a new animal control/Humane Society facility was expected to be built at the site. The facility was to handle only dogs and cats, and all animals were to be kept inside to minimize noise and odor concerns.

The city adopted an ordinance in August 2011 adding animal shelters as a permitted use for industrial park sites.

But by January 2012, a Pike County Board committee was raising concerns with plans by RLG Properties LLC for the new animal shelter and animal control services. A draft agreement called for the county to contract with RLG to perform all functions currently handled by the county's animal control, but the county wanted to be sure RLG would provide better service at a lower cost to taxpayers.

By April 2012, the trust said the animal shelter project "working in conjunction with the county's assistance ... is now no longer being considered."

Prentice said the city had the right to buy back the property as part of the initial purchase agreement if it was not developed within two years.

The trust also offered the city a booklet of core samples taken on the property. Mayor John Hayden will review the book, Prentice said, and alderman authorized him to buy the book for $2,950 if it would be useful to the city.

Also Tuesday, aldermen gave first an final approval to two ordinances tied to the tax increment financing districts and the agreement with the Pikeland School District.

The first ordinance amends the financial portion of the original agreement with the district on the city's first TIF district to reflect changes in state aid to the school district. Officials from the city and the district will meet in 2016 to look at extending the provisions.

The second agreement covers the financial terms for the newly-formed TIF district. The agreement covers the 23-year life of the TIF, but officials will review a part of the financial portion in four years.

Between the agreement with the city and what state aid makes up from the TIF, Pikeland initially didn't lose anything with the first TIF, but state aid was prorated this year at 89 percent and likely to be cut again. Under the agreement for the second TIF district, if the school district does not get all of its state aid, the city will not reduce the annual reimbursement determined by the foundation formula calculation, which would mean some additional revenue for Pikeland.





In other action, the Pittsfield City Council:

º Set clean up days for April 22-24 on the south side of Washington Street and April 29-May 1 for the north side.

º Agreed to open Lake Pittsfield for the season on April 15.

º Heard an update from the Park Board on ongoing funding concerns spurred by required handicapped accessibility work and painting work at the pool. The city will look into the possibility of providing additional funds for the Park Board and will check with the county about changing the tax levy. Aldermen also suggested holding off on some of the painting work and coordinating the rest with the city, which plans sandblasting and painting work on the water tower, to save money.

º Approved a permit form and authorized the mayor to issue permits as needed for construction work by utility companies on city right-of-way.

º Moved forward with paperwork required for refurbishing the water tower.

º Gave final approval to an ordinance calling for use of the 2009 international building code. The ordinance updates an earlier one calling for using the 1962 international code.

º Approved plans for the Illini Fitness 5K "night glow run" on June 14. Participants will wear glow in the dark T-shirts and carry glow sticks.