QUINCY — The City of Quincy is ready to spend money to attract new workers after approving on Monday night a resolution authorizing the Quincy Workforce Relocation Assistance Program.
The program, known as Q-WRAP, is designed to provide up to $5,000 in a one-time property tax rebate to people who live outside Quincy and buy a home in the city. People who lease a home also are eligible.
“This is all tied to them moving into this market and being gainfully employed,” said Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning. “We have worked with the Great River Economic Development Foundation to screen the applicants so they would be tied to employment to a specific job in this market. It’s got to be twofold. It’s tied to workforce development (while) hopefully growing our population.”
The Quincy City Council voted 8-4 to approve the resolution. Voting against it were Greg Fletcher, R-1; Jeff Bergman, R-2, Tony Sassen, R-4; and Mike Rein, R-5. Parker Freiburg, R-3, and Mike Farha, R-4, were absent.
Bevelheimer said the city is offering a $250 gift card to a local Quincy restaurant for people who refer names that result in someone moving to the Quincy market. He said $125,000 from the city’s food and beverage tax has been set aside to help up to 25 families.
“There are more jobs right now out there than we have people for. Even when the unemployment assistance (from the state) ends, I fear that we’re still going to be struggling to get people to work in our businesses,” Bevelheimer said. “There’s anywhere from 750 to 1,000 positions available currently in this market. This can be tough to fill unless we start getting creative.
“I hope I’m back in front of you in a year saying, ‘We may need more money for this program’ if it works out well.”
“We’re trying to make sure we have the incentives competitive to other communities that also are attracting people to their communities,” Quincy Mayor Mike Troup said. “More and more are offering this kind of incentive. The good thing about it is we don’t spend it unless people actually move here. We’re earmarking and reserving dollars. Unless we get 25 people to move to Quincy, buy property or do a rental and they’re working here, we won’t spend a penny.”
Animals, residents of Welcome Inn have found homes
Fletcher asked Troup about the people and animals forced last Tuesday to leave the Welcome Inn because of structural issues at the motel. Troup said he didn’t have a count of animals taken to the Western Illinois Veterinary Clinic. He expects one at the end of the week.
“There were quite a few cats and dogs,” Troup said. “We had one hedgehog. We had one parrot, and we had three rats that were in crates. They were bigger than most cats.”
The one-week shelter at 1016 Vermont created for Welcome Inn residents closed Monday. Fletcher asked if all the residents had found a place.
Troup said seven people stayed at the shelter on Sunday. Twenty-eight people stayed at the shelter on its first night last Tuesday.
“Of those seven, most of them had opportunities for other housing,” he said. “Everyone else has been relocated to some other housing or they made arrangements. Some traveled out of town to family. But most of them remained here in Quincy. … There are no people who are homeless this last week because of leaving the Welcome Inn.”
Rossmiller talks about noise in Hampshire neighborhood
Leroy Rossmiller addressed aldermen about noise concerns he has at his home in the middle of the block on Hampshire between 20th and 22nd Streets. He has lived at his home for 30 years, but recent additions of backup alarms to school buses at the Quincy School District’s bus barn at 20th and Hampshire have added unwanted noise to the neighborhood.
“The summer has been such a respite that I am just bathing in the luxury of walking up and down my street with my dog,” he said. “It’s just a really is a very quiet, placid neighborhood.
“We can solve this problem. It’s a small problem for the city, but it’s a large problem for our neighborhood.”
Troup informed Rossmiller that he spoke with Superintendent Roy Webb about the plans of the Quincy School Board.
“He said their preliminary plans to make the change that they’ve been thinking about came in just a little over $2 million that they would have to invest to do that, assuming they had the additional land,” the mayor said. “I think you’re right. They’re going to need to work with the (Quincy) Park District on an alternative site as well as making sure they can allocate the $2 million to go ahead and work on that. We’re continuing to follow up with that. … We understand it’s a serious issue.”
In other action …
The Plan Commission recommended approval of a special permit for a planned development to obtain a liquor license as a means to serve alcohol and operate video gaming machines in a restaurant at the former Elder’s Restaurant, 1800 State. However, Troup announced last week he was freezing the approval of any liquor licenses because the city’s code is not compliant with the state code.
“I also want to review the change of the number of licenses over the last year and the increase, and at least review what my findings are,” he said. “I hope to get that completed in August.”
Aldermen took a moment before the start of Monday’s meeting to remember Rich Reis, who died Saturday. He was a 7th Ward alderman from 1991-2011. He also is the father of Richie Reis, D-6.
Aldermen also voted to:
- Approve a request for a raffle by the Friends of the Log Cabin.
- Approve a request for a cornhole tournament at State Street Bar & Grill, 1638 State, on aug. 28 to raise money for juvenile diabetes.
- Approve a special event application for St. Peter Church, 2600 Maine, to hold its annual parish picnic on Aug. 28.
- Approve a special event application for the Knights of Columbus 583, 700 S. 36th, to hold its annual barbecue from Aug. 13-15.
- Approve spending $32,762 on a 2021 Ford F250 pickup truck from Bob Ridings Inc. in Springfield.
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