011223HAO003071SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt passed a measure through the Senate on Thursday that would address untimely collections placed on people with debt owed to state agencies.

“It is unfair for state agencies to wait years before attempting to collect debts,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “This leaves debtors with no warning or opportunity to address the issue.”

Under this legislation, state agencies would be required to provide written notice and a demand for payment within five years of the agency’s right to collect accruing. Failure to do so would bar the agency from collecting the debt from the debtor. The five year limitation does not apply in the case of fraud, taxes, fines or fees. This also adds a ten year limitation for state agencies attempting to collect outstanding health benefit premiums from covered employees.

This measure comes from a constituent in Belt’s district who was billed for overpayments 30 years after receiving assistance.

“This strikes a balance between protecting debtors and ensuring state agencies have the ability to collect debts owed to them,” said Belt. “By providing a clear timeline for notice and demand, we are empowering debtors to take action and resolve their debts before they become overwhelming.”

Senate Bill 1291 cleared the Senate and now heads to the House for further action.

Category: Press Releases

EquipmentFireEAST ST. LOUIS – With the support from State Senator Chris Belt, the Sauget Fire Department and Madison Fire Department will receive a combined $42,000 to purchase small firefighting and ambulance equipment.

“Our firefighters are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting our communities from fires and other emergencies,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “These grants will help ensure that our firefighters have the equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.”

The Small Equipment Grant Program is an innovative approach to a problem that has long caused difficulties for fire departments and not-for profit ambulance services in Illinois, particularly those that face hardships in generating the necessary revenue for small equipment. The purpose is to allow eligible applicants the opportunity to purchase small equipment that they may otherwise not be able to purchase.

The Sauget Fire Department is set to receive $25,992, and the Madison Fire Department will see $16,295 in grant funds from the program.

“The OSFM continues to remain committed to our mission of helping departments and districts purchase essential firefighting or EMS equipment that will help not only their members to stay safe, but continue to provide lifesaving services to their communities,” said Acting Illinois State Fire Marshal Dale Simpson. “Budgets remain tight, and the cost of firefighting equipment continues to rise, that is why programs such as our Small Equipment Grant are a great resource, especially for our smaller and rural volunteer fire departments across the state.”

To learn more about grants and loans offered by the Illinois State Fire Marshal, click here.

Category: Press Releases

CAHOKIA HEIGHTS, Ill. – Underscoring their support of investment in critical infrastructure residents depend on, State Senator Christopher Belt, Representative Jay Hoffman and Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza are highlighting the release of a $2.4 million state grant Monday to support water and sewer upgrades in Cahokia Heights.

“Leader Jay Hoffman, former Representative LaToya Greenwood and I have been working for months to fix Cahokia Heights’ infrastructure and sewer problems,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “This has been a priority of ours – one that took time and effort. I look forward to pushing this project through to the finish line and this funding is exactly what is needed to continue moving forward.”

“This project is a significant investment in Cahokia Heights that will develop a 21st century wastewater system that will address flooding, improve reliability and ensure residents have access to the clean water they deserve,” said Hoffman (D-Swansea). “I am appreciative of the advocacy on this project from former Representative LaToya Greenwood, Senator Belt, Comptroller Mendoza, Governor Pritzker and everyone else who has worked hard behind the scenes to make this project a reality. With this funding released, I look forward to seeing shovels in the ground very soon.”

“I am pleased to partner with state leaders including Representative Hoffman, Senator Belt and former Representative Greenwood to prioritize funding for such a crucial project that will mean a better quality of life for residents in this region,” said Mendoza.

The $2.4 million payment – which is an upfront grant payment to Cahokia Heights for wastewater collection and to rehabilitate and restore components of the sewer collection and transport system – is part of more than $22 million in state funding expected to support the project. Monday’s $2.4 million release is part of a $9.9 million grant administered through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The existing Cahokia Heights wastewater collection system includes many components that have exceeded their useful design life, leading to reliability and flooding issues. Lift stations, slip lining and cured-in-place (CIPP) liner are the focus of the project, which will also aim to upgrade ease of operation and maintenance. Remaining funding for the project is subject to processing by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Cahokia Heights.

Category: Press Releases

011023CM00821East St. Louis – The Madison County Mass Transit District and the City of O’Fallon are among the 118 recipients of Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grants distributed through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, State Senator Christopher Belt announced Thursday.

“This funding will provide critical support to our communities, ensuring they remain accessible and resourceful to all residents,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “Investments to these areas shows care and consideration to enhancing the overall well-being of Illinoisans.”  

A total of $60 million in state grants are being awarded for 118 local park projects throughout Illinois to help communities acquire land and develop recreational opportunities. The grants represent the largest round of Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grants in the 36-year history of the program.

OSLAD is a cost-sharing program between state and local governments that has become one of the most popular grant programs in Illinois. Since it was established, OSLAD has awarded more than $530 million for park projects throughout Illinois. Madison County Mass Transit District is set to receive $600,000 and the City of O’Fallon will see $388,000 in funds from the program this year.

“These are essential areas all around the state that are getting necessary funding in order to stay vibrant and welcoming to all,” said Belt. “I’m really looking forward to the positive impact this funding will have on communities in our region, as well as all around the state.”

For more information about the OSLAD grant program and to see a full list of recipients, visit DNR’s website.

Category: Press Releases

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