Council Approves Change in City Code to Help Utilization of Austin Mansion

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Published on March 5 2014 3:47 am
Last Updated on March 6 2014 1:06 am
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham City Council, on a 3-2 vote, Tuesday approved an amendment to the City Code creating a special use within a residential area for the operation of a bed-and-breakfast establishment and hotel and events venue.

The change in the text is designed to help with the utilization of the Austin Mansion at 4th and Wabash. Owner Billie Jansen is hopeful of using the facility for outdoor events as well as a bed-and-breakfast.

Commissioners Matt Hirtzel, Brian Milleville and Don Althoff voted for the change in the wording, while Mayor Merv Gillenwater and Commissioner Alan Harris voted No.  

Jansen has already submitted a request that the Plan Commission recommend a special-use permit for her to utilize Austin Mansion under the newly-approved guidelines.  The Plan Commission will consider her request next Tuesday night.

Council members also voted down a proposed one-year extension of their water purchase contract with the Village of Teutopolis.  The vote against the proposal was 5-0, with members saying terms can be finalized on a new long-term agreement before the current agreement expires this fall.

The Council did approve an ordinance establishing new water rates for wholesale water customers. The current wholesale water rate is $3.93 per 1,000 gallons.  The rate would remain the same for the coming year, decrease by almost 16% the next year, decrease more than 9% the next year, and decrease more than 3% the next year before finally increasing by less than 2% in Fiscal 2019.

It was noted that if the long-term agreement for water with Teutopolis can be reached and usage rates by Teutopolis remain the same, the rates for all wholesale customers would decrease by 4%.

Council members also approved a replat of two lots by Nuxoll's Food Center that creates an alley by the business; agreed to temporarily close portions of Washington Avenue and 4th Street around the old Courthouse on May 9-10 for this year's Artisan Fair; approved a request for street lighting on the east end of Miracle Avenue; and discussed the pay rates for the City Council to be seated in 2015, but reached no consensus.