Council Gives 4-1 Okay to South Banker Business District Plan


Published on December 5 2017 11:02 pm
Last Updated on December 5 2017 11:02 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham City Council members Tuesday voted 4-1 to approve the plan for the South Banker Street Business District and to establish the district.

The district stretches along South Banker Street from the overpass to Hoffman Drive. It provides for a 1% tax on sales in the district with the revenue to be used on infrastructure improvements.

A public hearing on the district was held ahead of the Council meeting. City Economic Development Director Todd Hull said a representative of Bob's Discount spoke against the district, saying the tax would leave his business at a competitive disadvantage against others who sell similar merchandise. Hull said the representative said he has made his own improvements and doesn't the revenue from the tax.

City Commissioner Don Althoff voted No on the project. One business along South Banker was allowed to opt out of the district, and Althoff has contended that it should be all or none participating in such a project.

The Council approved a $25,000 allocation to the Effingham City-County Committee on Aging for senior services, following a practice that has gone on for many years. There was also discussion of plans to modify the City Zoning Ordinance as to how signs are governed, and discussion of increasing by one the number of R-1 liquor licenses to make one available to Gopher's Grill in downtown Effngham. The developers are projecting $1 million in sales the first year with less than 40% of those revenues generated by alcohol sales. They hope to open the business in January.

The Council discussed a new one-year agreement with Opportunity Alliance for consulting services, as the firm has provided in each of the past two years. The cost would lower to $2,500 per month, reflecting a lesser scope of work according to City Administrator Jim Arndt.

Arndt reported the City is in sound shape fiscally, and that the City's EAV is up $14 million over last year.

City Tourism Director Jodi Thoele reported that 2,266 cars had traveled through "Wonderland in Lights" in Community Park in two weeks of operation, about 100 vehicles more in the same time period than last year.