Carbondale Fact Check

If you have something you would like fact-checked, or a question to ask the City, please fill out the online form available here.


Rumor:
The City of Carbondale is being fiscally and ethically irresponsible in trying to hire more police officers. We have enough police officers!   

Fact:
Currently, police department staffing is down 7%. This is a problem departments are seeing nationwide because it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find police officers. If you see us promoting police officer openings, please know that we do that to maintain an active list of eligible applicants for when we do need to hire. The State of Illinois empowers local boards of fire and police commissioners to establish testing and hiring procedures and to establish lists of eligible applicants to hire from. Those lists are good for two years and restrict the City’s ability to hire only from a certified list – the City can’t just hire anyone they wish to train to be a police officer. If the City hires an entry-level officer, we have to send them to the academy and wait for the officer to go through 14 weeks of field training, so it is close to a year before the officer is capable of working independently. Because of the time it takes to train an entry-level officer, the City works hard to recruit experienced police officers who can laterally transfer to our department.


Rumor:
The City does not allow on-street parking in residential areas.   

Fact:
Citizens are allowed to park on the street unless the street is posted as "no parking." Besides being in a no parking zone, the most common violations are parking on an unpaved surface (like someone's lawn or front yard), blocking a driveway, parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, parking on a snow route during a snow event, or parking across (blocking) a sidewalk. Also, citizens cannot park a car on the street for more than 72 hours without the vehicle moving. City Ordinance 18-12-2 Parking Prohibited in Specific Places details these violations. Citizens may call BNS or CPD for assistance.


Rumor:
The City is initiating the development of a new police "substation" inside the Eurma C. Hayes Center which will allow for additional policing in Northeast Carbondale. 

Fact: 
The Eurma C. Hayes Community Center (EHC) is an independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit board that made a request to the City of Carbondale, first in 2018, and again in October 2020 to be a part of the Center’s improvements. The EHC offered to provide a small, 10’ x 15’ work space in the Center to the Police Department so both sworn and civilian department employees could further enhance services to Carbondale community members. This community resource office won’t be an extension of the Public Safety Center and won’t be a place for handling routine police business such as investigations, processing arrests, etc. Instead, the goal would be for department employees to be available and visible to help educate the public on services provided by the City, the Police Department, and other community development resources in accordance with the vision of the community center's board. 

The City of Carbondale and the Carbondale Police Department support the rehabilitation work at the Eurma C. Hayes Community Center. The City recognizes the historical importance of this building and the potential community services it can offer. The City looks forward to continuing our support of the Eurma C. Hayes Center, strengthening relationships and continuing to be responsive to the needs of the community through this partnership. The plan for the workspace is conceptual at this point, and there is no scheduled start or completion date to open a community resources office at the Center. 


Rumor:
The Carbondale Police Department provided material assistance and an escort to the Trump caravan in late 2020, ultimately endorsing the people who are accused of attacking the Capital.

Fact: 
The Police Department did not provide any assistance or an escort to the Trump caravan.  In fact, the Police Department detoured the caravan against the wishes of the participants to avoid any potential conflict with opposing groups and for the safety of the community.  The Police Department took safety measures and used extra resources to prevent any potential problems.  The Trump caravan participants complied with our requests as we changed their route during the event in response to the safety concerns.    


Rumor: 
The City wrote several restaurants tickets for $750 each for allowing indoor dining.

Fact: 
It is true that the City wrote several tickets to restaurants that were in violation of the Restore Illinois plan’s enhanced mitigations which currently prohibits indoor dining. However, and as with all City ordinance violations, no fine amount has been determined. The citation MAY be fined up to $750 in total, not $750 every day a restaurant is open for indoor dining. In addition, it’s important to note that the tickets were written after numerous attempts to gain voluntary compliance with these particular restaurants. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the City has worked with local businesses to help navigate the requirements of the Restore Illinois plan. It’s never been the intent of the City to be punitive, especially when so many people are struggling. Tickets that have been written have been issued as a last resort, a final effort to preserve public safety.


Rumor: 
The City has no grounds to issue a citation for indoor dining and it is unconstitutional. 

Fact: 
The Illinois Constitution grants municipalities with a population of at least 25,000 power to act autonomously. These cities are called home rule units. Article VII, Section 6(a) of the Illinois Constitution provides in part, that: “A home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals, and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt.”

Thus the City of Carbondale is able to make its own laws for the health and safety of its citizens. City Council passed ordinance 2020-13 on April 6, 2020 by a unanimous vote, which created code 14-4-12 which states in part: “B.  It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, joint adventure, association, society, club, trustee or corporation or any officer, agent, employee, factor or any kind of personal representative to violate any Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Illinois pursuant to the Governor’s powers under Article 5 of the Illinois Constitution and Sections 7(1), 7(2), 7(8), 7(10), and 7(12) of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3305.” Thus, the city has valid grounds to issue citations for indoor dining and they are in fact constitutional. 

 

Rumor: 
The City of Carbondale is turning a blind eye for restaurants allowing indoor dining. 

Fact: 
The City has responded to every complaint against an establishment reported to be allowing indoor dining. If they are, warning letters are sent, and employees visit the establishments to ask for compliance. We have and will continue to do everything within our authority to gain compliance. So far, most of our attempts at working with the business owners have been successful.    

 



Rumor: 
The City of Carbondale is delaying construction of the new Starbucks on East Main Street.

 

Fact: 
The City has approved all necessary building permits for the new location. Due to COVID, construction crews have been delayed. While we know construction on the interior has started, Starbucks corporate has not communicated their plans for an official opening. The City is just as excited as you are for the stand-alone Starbucks to open!

  



Rumor: 
The City is spending $1.5M to construct the Chautauqua McLafferty Roundabout. 

 

Fact: 
The IDOT Highway Safety Improvement Program has funded 90% of this project after the City applied for grant money. The total project cost is $736,000, the City of Carbondale will pay $73,600 (10% match) to complete the project. We are excited about this opportunity to make the intersection safer, as this section of road was prone to congestion, which caused numerous rear-end collisions and a fatality.