April 23 Rockford City Council briefs

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117753108013168.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Ald. Dan Conness (D-14) and RMTD Chairman Gary Marzorati met briefly before the new transfer center came to a vote.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117753101613472.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) addresses supporters April 17 after learning voters had passed the sales tax referendum.‘);

Following the successful passage of a 1 percentage point sales tax referendum April 17, city leaders are trying to get a head start collecting the tax, thus speeding up the process of improving Rockford’s roads and other infrastructure. Aldermen voted unanimously to pass an ordinance enacting the non-home rule sales tax. State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-34) is sponsoring a bill downstate that would allow the tax to start being collected this July instead of January. The difference means the city would start seeing those funds in October, rather than waiting until April 2008.

Voting 8-5, the Council approved an amended ordinance allowing the Rockford Mass Transit District’s (RMTD) East Side Transfer Center on Lyford Road to proceed. Just two weeks earlier, Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) broke a 6-6 tie by voting to reject a report recommending denial of RMTD’s special-use permit and zoning map amendment. RMTD Chairman Gary Marzorati anticipates a groundbreaking within 18 months. Site plans also include retail space and parking. Aldermen Joe Sosnowski (R-1), Carl Wasco (D-4), Frank Beach (R-10), Bill Timm (R-9) and Jeff Holt (D-11) voted “No.”

Other notable April 23 Rockford City Council action:

M.I.S., of Loves Park, was awarded a bid for Water Division grounds maintenance. The bid was originally awarded to Cheyenne Lawn Care of Rockford. City staff argued although M.I.S. had been the lowest bidder, their previous job performance had been poor. Presenting the city with petitions signed by residents near the sites they’ve maintained, M.I.S. protested the decision because they hadn’t been informed by the city of any performance issues. With the city’s new ROCKSTAT system online, city officials are optimistic communication problems will be a thing of the past. The award was given to M.I.S. after being rescinded from Cheyenne Lawn Care. M.I.S. will be paid $790 per mowing of 42 well sites throughout Rockford. M.I.S., short for Multi Integrated Services, was first awarded the contract in 2003 and is operated by Craig Verni, of Loves Park.

Mayor Morrissey proclaimed the week of April 23 to be National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Rockford and asked residents to advance the cause and promote awareness of victims’ rights.

The week of April 23 was also proclaimed CHIP (Coronary Health Improvement Project) Alumni Live a Healthy Lifestyle Week. Mayor Morrissey urged citizens to educate themselves on the benefits of CHIP and improving coronary health. April 29 at Rockford College, CHIP will be holding its free CHIP-O-Rama expo to spotlight healthy lifestyle choices. For information about the CHIP program, call 1-815-316-6361.

Mayor Morrissey proclaimed April 28 to be Arbor Day in Rockford, and urged efforts to protect the environment and support urban forestry.

The week of April 23 was also proclaimed W.A. Whitney Week in honor of the metal fabrication equipment company’s 100th year of business in Rockford. Started with a simple hand-punch in 1907, the W.A. Whitney company will be hosting an open house April 25-26.

Mayor Morrissey briefly discussed a boil order in the vicinity of Harrison Avenue and Silent Wood Trail. The mayor said the order is a result of pressure loss associated with Harrison water-main work. To find out if your area is still under a boil order, call 1-815-987-5701 or 1-815-987-5736.

The mayor thanked the more than 500 people who participated in the county-wide cleanup April 21. The event was coordinated by Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, formerly Winnebago/Rockford Clean and Beautiful. Ald. Victory Bell (D-5) encouraged citizens to continue cleaning up the community in the coming months.

Mayor Morrissey congratulated the Rockford Symphony Orchestra on being named the Illinois Symphony of the Year.

Aldermen approved a committee report recommending a development agreement with the Abilities Center to provide $25,000 for 10 full-time positions to be created as a result of LMC, Inc., moving its operations to Rockford from DeKalb. More than half of those jobs will be filled by people with low to moderate income. Ald. Jeff Holt (D-11) said LMC’s move to Rockford could result in hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs in the future. In operation since 1980, LMC has been headquartered in DeKalb since 2002 and will be moving its 150-ton press to Rockford. April 12, the Winnebago County Board approved a $75,000 low-interest loan for LMC to assist in moving the press from Zion. The Board also approved a $75,000 loan to the Abilities Center toward construction of a structure to house the metal-forming press.

The Council passed a committee report recommending Honeywell Building Solutions, of Madison, Wis., be awarded $18,120 annually for maintenance of the Coronado Theatre’s heating and cooling systems. Proposals were sent to 13 firms. Of the two bids returned, Honeywell was the lower.

A committee report recommending an agreement between the Human Services Department and Rockford Township was passed. Per the agreement, Human Services would administer grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency housing for people after condemnation, fire or other circumstances requiring township residents to vacate their homes.

David A. Sidney, a land planner for The Buckley Companies/Nicolosi & Associates, was appointed to a five-year term on the Rockford Housing Authority Board. Sidney is also working on Winnebago County’s 2030 Land Use Plan. That $355,000 contract was awarded to Chicago-based urban planners Camiros, Ltd., and Rockford’s Nicolosi & Associates, LLC in 2006.

Steve Vineyard was reappointed to a two-year term with the Human Services Community Action Agency Board.

Ald. Linda McNeely (D-13) was absent.

from the April 25-May 1, 2007, issue

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