MATTOON -- The owners of the former Common Grounds and Meeting Grounds buildings are seeking downtown tax increment financing (TIF) district grant funding to help rehabilitate these structures.
The council will consider allocating two $80,000 grants to Banes Property Management of Mattoon for repairs to the two buildings when it meets at 6:30 tonight in City Hall, 208 N. 19th St. The council also will vote on a proposed 2019-2020 budget with an $672,582 deficit.
Regarding the TIF grants, the funding is for engineering fees, roof repairs, structural repairs, electrical code updates and façade improvements for the former Common Grounds building at 1612 Charleston Ave. and its adjoining Meeting Grounds building at 122 S. 17th St.
"The grants will help with maintaining the historic look of it," said property co-owner Kayleb Burritt, adding that the former Common Grounds building dates back to at least 1900 and he wants to ensure it remains in place for another 100 years. He and his wife, Amanda, joined in purchasing the two buildings after the Common Grounds coffee shop closed last year.
Burritt said they are seeking the community's ideas for possible businesses that could locate in these two buildings on their Legacy Roofing & Restoration LLC Facebook page. Burritt said they are developing four, two-bedroom luxury apartment units on the second floor of the property with the goal of having them available for rent by late summer.
The city uses part of the tax revenues generated by property development within the TIF district downtown to fund private building repair grants and public improvements within this district. These TIF fund revenues cannot be used for projects outside of the downtown district.
Regarding the proposed budget, city officials have projected $18.5 million in revenues and $19.2 million in expenses. City Administrator Kyle Gill said the estimated deficit recently grew by approximately $90,000 after the city received new health insurance costs figures.
Gill said the city will need to draw from its financial reserves to offset the deficit. City officials have attributed the deficit to relatively flat increases in property and sales tax revenue, uncertainty on state funding, and rising costs for payroll, pensions and insurance.
In other matters, the council will consider approving an agreement with David Guinn to paint a mural on the west side of the former Thrifty Drug Store building across from the train depot. The compensation will be $38,000, as well as $9,000 for supplies. The cost will be covered by local grant funding and TIF district money.
Gill said Guinn will develop a mural design this year, paint the mural in his Philadelphia studio over the winter, and then place the mural on the wall sometime next year.
Other actions that the council will consider taking include:
-- Updating the fee schedule for various services, including increasing the cost of Dodge Grove Cemetery grave openings on Saturdays from $930 $1,000, on Sundays and holidays from $1,135 to $1,200, and for infants and cremations on Sundays and holidays from $720 to $800.
-- Approving three police officer promotions due to Capt. Rich Heuerman's retirement. The promotions will be Lt. Jason Cobb to captain, Sgt. Ryan Hurst to lieutenant, and Officer Shawn Brunson to sergeant. These actions also will include noting that Deputy Chief Sam Gaines, who was promoted from lieutenant, has achieved the rank of captain.
-- Hiring Crawford Murphy & Tilly for $54,746 to provide engineering assistance with the Canadian National Railroad permit for the combined sewer overflow piping construction project.
-- Purchasing two 2019 Ford utility police interceptor for $35,985 each from Morrow Brothers.
-- Allocating three hotel/motel tax fund grants to help with three events -- $6,000 for the IHSA's boys and girls Track and Field State Finals on May 15-16 and May 23-25 at Eastern Illinois University, $2,275 for the IHSA Girls Badminton Finals on May 10-11 at EIU, and $500 for the Class Pack Car Show on May 11 in Mattoon.