O'Fallon Weekly February 21, 2018

Governor proposes pension cost shift to local school districts Page 8 Shiloh family buys St. Louis landmark, Eat-Rite diner Wednesday February 21, 2018 Vol. 3, No. 44 $1.00 O'Fallon residents question large water bill increases Some bill increases total as much as $50 to $100 By Angela Simmons Weekly Reporter Joel and Shawna Holtman, along with their children Kinley and Makhi, are work- ing hard to restore the Eat-Rite diner located near Busch Stadium, and they are asking for your help. (Photo by Korin Fisher at Korin Fisher Photography) By Nick Miller Weekly Editor SHILOH - Joel and Shawna Holtman were always looking for that one opportunity to dive into the restaurant business. Neither of them imagined they would be responsible for fixing up and bringing back a St. Louis icon, Eat-Rite. The Shiloh residents purchased the diner around Christmas time and have begun the renovation work needed to get it back up to code so it can open for business in time for the start of baseball season. There’s a lot of work to do though. “We had to rip out walls, insulate them, put electric in, new plumbing. There was no hot water running to the sink where the dishes were being cleaned. We’re getting a new fire and suppression system, HVAC, new countertop put in,” said Joel. A Kickstarter campaign has been started to help raise the funds to get Eat-Rite back serving their world famous Slingers, a breakfast meal which consists of hash-browns, hamburger meat, two eggs, cheese, chili and onions on top with two slices of toast on the side. “We started the Kickstarter campaign for the major items that need to be repaired and to update the electric. The electric in this building hasn’t been updated since probably around 1970. It’s been added onto, but it’s not up to code. They have an old heater, and I couldn’t tell you how old it is. Probably been there since before the former owner, Mr. Powers, owned the building. It was a little gas heater that would heat the front room up in ten seconds. It worked great, but it leaked gas. It was not safe, not up to code,” Joel explained. The Holtman family is more than up to the task of restoring the old diner. While their day jobs as realtors in St. Louis keeps them busy, the restaurant business is near and dear to both he and his wife. “Shawna’s first job was working at Granny’s Diner in Brighton, Illinois. I worked at Andria’s Steak House growing up. I would also work in the snack bar at Westhaven in the summer. My family owned Jay’s Drive-Inn in Swansea. I remember, as a little boy, being in that diner with my Grandpa and Great Uncle. The restaurant busi- ness has been in our blood,” Joel said. The opportunity to buy Eat-Rite came along suddenly. “To be honest, I wasn’t even looking to purchase Eat-Rite. I was See “Eat-Rite” on page 7 O'FALLON - Higher water bills for some O’Fallon cus- tomers have caused some frus- tration, and have left residents wondering just why the last couple of billing periods have been so problematic. The most recent billing period that caused 70 residents to take to social media and vent about their high bills was from December 15, 2017, through January 16, 2018. It spans the Christmas and New Year holi- days, but also covers the four day period in early January where water customers were ordered to boil and conserve their water due to extreme cold City officials and the Water Department have suggested residents check for leaks to explain their high water bills. Other temperatures and switch in reasons given for the higher bills include an extra three days on the billing cycle and higher water consumption due to guests water treatment chemicals. The visiting for the holidays. order for conservation was to “restrict all non-essential water rates for one year. Inside of O’Fallon city Sewer costs are based on water usage. usage.” limits, for the first 2,000 gallons of water “That water goes to our treatment plant, “We’ve seen some comments on social usage, a residential customer is charged and the rate is the cost for us to treat it,” media about it, but we have not received $6.97 per unit which equals 1,000 gal- Denton explained. any comments directly. Those comments lons of water. For the next 6,000 gallons, Sewer rates are a combined total of the concerned us as well, and Mayor Roach customers are charged $7.74 per unit. The base user rate and the unit flow charge. is going to address that in his weekly next 240,000 gallons are billed at $7.15 Residential customers are billed $15.40 column. The short answer is that nothing per unit. The price per unit increases for for the first 1,000 gallons of wastewater, has changed in our water and sewer rates. customers living in Fairview Heights and and $9.52 per 1,000 gallons after that. The Actually, last September, city council other unincorporated areas that utilize average cost for 6,000 gallons of waste- voted to freeze rates for a year,” said O’Fallon water. Water rates for O’Fallon water sewage usage is $52.21, which has Walter Denton, city administrator for the residents average to be about $37.24 for O’Fallon ranked as the second highest City of O’Fallon. The last time water rates 6,000 gallons of water, which is lower charge out of 56 communities. were changed was in October of 2016. than the average for surrounding Metro The city also uses sewer averaging for The city council meeting held on East communities of $41.29. O’Fallon is customers in the summer time. September 18, 2017, saw 12 of the 14 ranked thirtieth out of 56 communities for aldermen vote to freeze water and sewer See “Water Bills” on page 7 water costs. Sign up today for our E-Newsletter at OFallonWeekly.com