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City of Carmi Annexes Property Leading to Burrells Woods; Spends Money; Authorizes Eclipse Festival Entertainment During Busy Council Meeting

Burrell’s Woods is now part of Carmi thanks to unanimous passage by City Council to allow Mayor Jeff Pollard to sign the Annexation Petition Tuesday night.  The mayor hopes to make upgrades in the future and says that’s why the resolution needed passed.

“When we get ready to start doing any developing out there, since it’s in the county, we can’t get grants for water or electric upgrades, anything like that.”

It took some time to find the best possible path from Shipley to the park and Pollard says he wanted to affect as few people as possible.

“We looked at the map and three or four different ways to get there and there were some ways where we’d have to deal with twenty or thirty people and they all had homes on them.  You know they don’t really like to come into the city limits because their taxes change.  So I tried to look at the less people we had to deal with and no construction or anything on it and that property all runs up there by that ditch.”

City Attorney Greg Stewart says they looked at the situation and the law and found the appropriate way to accomplish what they wanted to do.  Those folks who do have property between the woods and Shipley are expected to get something out of the deal but Stewart didn’t elaborate on specifics.

“I do want to alert you that part of what we’ve done and this’ll come back before the council, the owners that get us where we need to be, the city is going to pay certain expenses they will incur because of the annexation to get this done.  It’s minimal, but it’s going to come before the council.  The big thing is getting them in the city so that grants and things like that, money becomes available.”

During Tuesday night’s meeting, the council also approved pay requests and approved engineering bills amounting to more than $800,000.  The motor fuel tax fund is more than a half million lighter after approving pay requests to Brown and Roberts and Sierra Bravo Contractors for work at Burrells Woods including the new roadway construction.  The remaining $279,350.36 is split between Wiggs Excavating and Brown and Roberts for water system improvements in the Hillsdale area.

Council approved a resolution accepting the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Strong Communities grant.  It’s for $120,000 and will help the city tear down some dilapidated properties.

Council also passed an ordinance clarifying who pays for the setting of utility poles within the city.  Mayor Pollard explains.

“The language in our ordinance was kind of gray.  Now it just clearly states that it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to set the pole and get it from the meter to wherever and that way we don’t have to go through who got what and who didn’t get what and all that kind of stuff.”

Council approved a resolution entering into a TIF agreement with Campbell Farms and Energy offices at 1220 East Main.

The city will pay up to $46,000 for a system impact study for SolAmerica.  That money will be reimbursed to the city says Pollard.

“SolAmerica has come in and they’ve already got property they’re wanting to lease to put in some solar.  It’s out next to the disposal plant.  How we got involved in it is they’re working with IMEA which is who we buy all of our power from.  So the benefit to us will be the fact that they’re getting all their grant money and USDA money and we’ll end up getting all of our lines upgraded from the substation all the way out to there because they’ll have to upgrade everything.  So, that’ll be free to us.”

Finally Tuesday night, council took up consideration on the mayor seeking permission to spend up to $60,000 for entertainment surrounding an April 6th – 8th of 2024 Eclipse Festival.  Pollard says he’s got the entertainment picked out.

“This is kind of like Kiwanis.  I can’t say who it is right now.  But, I have to have the ok to sign the contract and pay the half up front.  But, we also have two or three committed sponsors that we have money up to about $40,000.  So this is going to be an event that shouldn’t cost the city anything because by the time…Cynthia and I were talking about it today in the office….we can’t go out now and get more sponsors because we can’t tell them who the entertainment is to get them on board so we’re just kind of at this stand still.”

Council would unanimously approve the mayor’s request.  We could hear more as early as next week.  Additionally, Pollard says he’d like the success of the Eclipse Festival to seed an annual event in Carmi.

“My goal eventually at some point in time is I’d like to get set up to where we always have an annual festival.  Corn Day is Kiwanis.  I’d like to get to where we could maybe have a Blues and Barbecue Fest like over July 4th weekend so I’d like to be able to do something to where we can start banking that…the extra money we make off this concert is what will go back toward having that banked back for the following year.”

The concert is planned for Saturday, April 6th before the actual eclipse on Monday, April 8th.

Council adjourned at 6pm and will next gather on October 17th at 5:30pm.

1 comment
  1. sue
    October 5, 2023 at 8:17 am

    instead building a new road from Shipley to Burell woods it would be nice to build a bigger, nicer dog pound and add something for cats too, and bring in more free stuff to do and more business or a big lake to fish and camp. Did White county ever have a founder’s day or celebrate other history things around.


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