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County Board Approves SUP For Prairie State

The Washington County Board approved a Special Use Permit request by Prairie State Generating Company to build ground support facilities in Lively Grove Township.

Approval at the meeting last Tuesday paves the way for the company to build  a ventilation shaft,  miner access for safety, shower facility/office on a 40 acre tract at the intersection of County Highway 12 and Stone Church Road.

The County Board voted to accept the recommendation of the Zoning Board and the County Board Zoning Committee to approve the SUP.

The two dissenting County Board votes came from Paul Todd of Okawville and Dennis Shemonic of DuBois.

Todd said that as a board member his priority is to represent citizens, not just Prairie State. Residents near the proposed development objected because of increased traffic, noise, and lighting.

Prairie State has negotiated with residents for compensation for loss of value to property because of development.

The county will receive $1.5 million for road improvements.

The impact to the county and other taxing districts for increased property taxes will not be determined until construction is completed, likely in 2022, said board member Eric Brammeier.

County Treasurer Natalie Lynch updated the board on the tax sale held January 8. The unpaid taxes on 137 parcels were sold for a total of $142,673 to businesses/individuals bidding on the percentage to charge delinquent taxpayers. The top buyers were Raven Securities and Sabre Investment, with 16 parcels each, and As Is Properties of Metropolis, with 19 parcels.

If the taxes/with interest are not repaid to the buyers within 3 years, the buyers receive tax deeds to the property by petitioning the court.

Joseph Meyer, Inc. of Edwardsville is the agent for the County  for the 31 properties for which unpaid taxes were not purchased.

Treasurer Lynch said that  the properties include parcels with unknown owners.

Joseph Meyer will conduct a sale later in 2020 of 60 properties that the county has accumulated over many years. After the backlog of properties is sold, the number to be sold in 2021 is 15, said Lynch.

“The goal of the county is to put the property back on the tax roles, and not to own property,” said Lynch.

The board went into closed session to discuss coronavirus preparedness with Emergency Management Agency Director Matt Bierman, Ambulance Administrator John Felchlia, and County Health Director Elizabeth Lehde.

New Board member Rodney Small attended his first meeting, representing District 2. He was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Letisha Luecking.

Read full details from all topics covered at the Board meeting in this week’s issue. 

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