In unanimous votes, the Marion City Council Monday night approved taking over the operation of the Williamson County Pavilion and raising water and industrial-user sewer rates.

Attorney Ron Osman explained that litigation by the Marion Unit School District 2 had placed the Williamson County Events Commission, which has operated the pavilion since it was completed, in a precarious financial position, so it was forced to dissolve.

Under the intergovernmental agreement, the city will take over the commission's assets, issue a new bond to pay the commission's debts, and take over operations of the pavilion, located north of the Illinois Star Centre Mall.

The transaction is expected to be completed by June 23, Osman said. A new city bed tax on hotel and motel rooms is expected to generate enough to pay for the debt service; any excess funds can be used to operate the pavilion.

The city also approved a supplemental appropriation to cover immediate costs associated with taking over the pavilion.

Also approved was a five-year lease with the Williamson County Tourism Commission, which has its office in the pavilion building. The lease is $500 a month. The tourism group asked to have the right to cancel the lease after one year, with 90-day notice, if for any reason it loses its funding.

The city's residential sewer rate has not increased in the last three years, and its industrial waste rate had not increased in 10 years or more, council members were told. The approved sewer rate increase is for industrial users only.

Water rates were increased 15 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used. Commissioner Anthony Rinella said to the average user, the increase would amount to 75 to 90 cents a month. A minimum increase of $2.05 was enacted to handle debt service for water and sewer departments.

Low bidder J.M. Jones was awarded a contract for relocating water mains for widening of Illinois 13 at Illlinois 148. Jones' bid was $294,848.25. Neat Cut Lawn Care & Dirtwork of Marion, the only bidder, was awarded a contract to demolish property at 401 N. Garfield St.

Commissioner John Goss sought and was given approval to pay the contractor for work done so far on cleaning and restoring the original bricks on South Market Street.

Rinella commended hunters and Boy Scouts from Zion church for a cleanup held at the city lake. Two dump truck loads of debris and trash was hauled off, Rinella said.

The council was told the 17th Street stop light work should be completed in three weeks or so. Engineers said they hoped to have the work done before traffic arrives for July 4 events at Rent One Park.

The council held brief executive sessions at both the beginning and close of the meeting.



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