April 30 Rockford City Council briefs

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117812660727538.jpg’, ‘File photo’, ‘Ald. Victory Bell (D-5) introduced a resolution whereby the City of Rockford will object to Pecatonica's plan to annex land in Boone County.‘);

Samuel Schmitz, executive director of Employers’ Coalition on Health (ECOH), thanked the Rockford City Council for continued funding over the past 12 years and announced Dr. Meredith Rosenthal will be speaking at Giovanni’s at 5:30 p.m., May 15. Rosenthal is an expert on health care trends and is an assistant professor at the Harvard University School of Public Health. Tables for ECOH members may be purchased for $220, $40 per person for non-members.

Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) proclaimed the week of May 6 to be National Nurses Week in Rockford and urged citizens to honor registered nurses for their dedication to our health care.

May was also proclaimed to be Asthma Awareness Month in Rockford. Stuart Tousman of the Rockford Asthma Consortium invited the public to attend “Breathless,” a free asthma murder mystery, to be May 9 at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, 1601 Parkview Ave. The program will begin at 5:15 p.m. Those interested in attending are urged to register by calling 1-815-226-4172.

Mayor Morrissey put out a call for volunteers to help build a new playground at the Fairgrounds Head Start, 902 Acorn St. The playground will be built May 15-18 and will be dedicated May 25 in honor of the late Sandra Hobson, who worked at Head Start for more than 20 years. Volunteers are urged to call 1-815-987-5482.

Mayor Morrissey spoke briefly about a new partnership among the City of Rockford, Rockford Public School District 205 and the Junior League of Rockford, Inc., aimed at developing a Post Secondary Aspiration and Access Initiative. Morrissey hopes the new initiative will result in more Rockford high school students pursuing higher education after graduation.

Mayor Morrissey expressed thanks to everyone involved in downstate efforts to begin collecting an additional 1 percentage point sales tax six months early. The tax referendum to fund infrastructure improvements was approved by voters April 17 but cannot start being collected until Jan. 1 without a change in state law.

State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-34) was unsuccessful in getting a bill passed in the state Senate last week before the May 1 filing deadline with the Illinois Department of Revenue.

State Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-67) will try to get the bill passed through the Illinois House and on to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s (D) desk to be signed into law.

The Department of Revenue has now given the city until May 15 to file. If successful in securing the July collection, the City of Rockford will get its hands on the tax revenues beginning in October. If the bill is not signed into law and filed by May 15, Rockford will have to wait until April 2008 to see those funds.

Responding to two homicides in Rockford over the weekend, Mayor Morrissey indicated both incidents were related to public housing. Morrissey noted, however: “The fact of the matter is a lot of crime is brought onto those sites. It’s not the tenants necessarily.” Morrissey pledged continued cooperation with the Rockford Housing Authority and Police to curb the violence.

Low-bidder Mid-City Office Products, of Loves Park, was awarded a joint bid for office supplies for the City of Rockford and Winnebago County. The City’s estimated annual cost is $150,000.

The Winnebago County Health Department was awarded a three-year contract for bacteriological testing at an estimated annual cost of $27,600.

Aldermen approved an agreement to fund Southwest Ideas for Today and Tomorrow (SWIFTT) for 2007 in the amount of $50,000.

An agreement to fund the Rockford Area Affordable Housing Coalition (RAAHC) for 2007 was approved in the amount of $20,000.

The council also voted to approve $30,000 in funding for the Regional Access Mobilization Project (RAMP) for 2007.

The council adopted a resolution whereby the City of Rockford will object to the Village of Pecatonica’s proposed annexation, or pre-annexation, of land in unincorporated Boone County 26 miles away. The resolution specifies the proposed 1,300-acre subdivision should only move ahead with majority approval by the Boone County Board. The Pecatonica Village Board is expected to vote on the issue May 7.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are rushing to close a loophole employed by Crystal Lake developer Gary Erb. If successful, the law would be amended to require an annexation to be within a mile of its municipality. The Illinois House has already passed the bill, which is now being considered in the Senate. Ald. Victory Bell (D-5), who introduced the resolution, said the objection is aimed at ensuring “fair play.”

“If you’re going to skip boundaries,” Bell explained, “that could impact the other regions or townships in a negative way.”

Aldermen Joe Sosnowski (R-1), Doug Mark (R-3), Carl Wasco (D-4), John Beck (R-12) and Linda McNeely (D-13) were absent.

from the May 2-8, 2007, issue

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