DANVILLE — The Danville City Council Tuesday night will officially set aside money to tear down Bresee Tower, the adjacent Vermilion County Courthouse annex building and a handful of other buildings in the downtown area that are unsafe and need to be demolished.
The city will set aside $4 million for the demolitions.
Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said an amendment is needed to the city’s financial policy to address blight reduction, to make sure the money is set aside and available when the demolitions can occur.
“We still have to fight this out in court,” Williams said about Bresee Tower.
He said the city is adding additional owners, to include all owners through the years, to the Bresee Tower lawsuit.
City officials have estimated it will take $2.5 million to tear down Bresee Tower, 4 N. Vermilion St., and the annex, 6 N. Vermilion St., not including asbestos abatement, fill and other costs. The county also is to partner on the annex with the city.
“We need to take care of the danger that is Bresee Tower,” Williams said, about the building which has seen debris fall from it, and fully opening Main Street back up.
He also added that the city needs to legally allocate additional money for other demolitions.
The additional money would be used to demolish city-owned 129 and 129 1/2 N. Vermilion St., two short buildings north of DC Fitness, which have been unoccupied for 10 years and had roof leaks and are completely rotten with most of the floor gone, according to Williams; the former Model Star Laundry and adjoining buildings at 15 N. Jackson St., 208 Van Buren and 22-24 Washington streets; and the former night club buildings at 124 and 128 N. Walnut St. that had housed Studio 25 and other clubs.
Williams said the city’s financial policy requires $1.2 million in reserves, the next $400,000 to go to 60 percent fire pension fund and 40 percent to police pension fund, then additional reserve funds to go to infrastructure development and improvement such as for streets, bridges, alleys and sidewalks.
The city council was to start 2022-2023 budget and tax levy discussions Tuesday too, but Williams said they are a little bit behind in bringing sewer and solid waste billing and collections in house.
Budget, tax levy discussions are delayed to Oct. 19. That night, Williams also plans to give a preliminary overview of what the city’s $25 million COVID-19 funding can be spent on. A first public hearing would be in November.
In other business, the council will consider approving:
- Amending the city employee residency requirement to extend the five-mile radius to 45 miles “in order for the city to more effectively compete for well-qualified individuals to become employees of the city,” according to the resolution. The annual residency contribution fee, for those who live outside city boundaries but within the radius, would be fixed at $600 and deducted from paychecks over the calendar year. Those affected currently pay $300 for property tax replacement fee and $267 to cover public safety pension fee. The residency fee was for employees hired after Jan. 1, 2008. Williams said this new amendment affects new hires or employees who move. Department heads are still to live within a five mile radius. Collective bargaining agreements also supersede the requirement.
- Several three-year board and commission appointments, unless different years noted: reappointing Stephen Nacco and George Dowell to the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners; appointing Aaron Troglia to replace Ted Vacketta and reappointing Troy Savalick to the Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission; reappointing Linda Bolton, Mark Denman and Mary Reik to the Danville Public Library Board; reappointing Scott Dowers to the David S. Palmer Arena board; reappointing Melissa Rome to the Vermilion County Emergency Telephone System Board 911; and reappointing Martha Espino, Darren York, Mary Thompson and Barbara McHone and appointing Lester Potts to replace Quan Chen, all for four-year terms, on the Danville Human Relations Commission.
- A $50,000 budget amendment for downtown holiday decorations and holiday festivities. The resolution states many city decorations are deteriorating and many are unusable and/or not quality items. “The city of Danville desires to invest in lasting, commercial-grade decorations that can be used for many years,” the resolution states. In addition to the decorations, funding would go toward projection lights for Temple Plaza, mini lights for small trees and bushes, a 25-foot Christmas banner for across Vermilion Street, fire pits for Kresge Park, traveling holiday trophies for house lights competition, hot chocolate supplies for free cocoa from city of Danville employees and other Christmas festivities. Funding comes from the city’s general fund reserves.
- Amending city code pertaining to the Danville Police Department. The rank of deputy chief(s) would be created, and the rank of commander would be replaced with lieutenant.
- A waiver for the sale of a side lot property at 1504 Cleveland Ave. to city council alderwoman Sharon Pickering,
- Amendments to the city and Harrison Park budgets as hotel/motel tax revenue has been higher than expected, and to reflect the change in the business operation structure of the pro shop at Harrison Park Golf Course.
The city council meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5 at the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St., Danville.