Dec. 11 Rockford City Council briefs

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11660401977889.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Kelly Nicholas told the council there is a lack of daytime parking downtown.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116604025828823.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘(Left) Ald. Jeff Holt (D-11) and Ald. Frank Beach (R-10) voted to keep the $23 million MetroCentre renovation bond authorization in committee.’);

Kelly Nicholas, who works for a downtown title agency, explained how inadequate parking is adversely affecting her company. This is the second week in a row downtown business representatives have lobbied for parking reform. Last week, members of the Downtown Retail cooperative complained about how parking policies affect their businesses.

Also during public participation, Octane Interlounge owner Dan Minick explained that people want to be downtown, but daytime parking is a problem. Minick argued against the time limits on parking, which he said result in parking tickets for his customers.

Mary Olson, owner of Paragon On State, noted the lack of security in city parking decks, pointing out there are no “panic buttons,” lighting is poor, and there are no cameras.

Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) proclaimed December 2006 to be National Drunk Driving Prevention Month in Rockford, wishing a safe holiday season on the roads.

Mayor Morrissey spoke briefly about Rockford’s recent terror scare and thanked federal authorities for thwarting the plot. The mayor said the city is reviewing its internal policy regarding safety measures.

Later, the council voted unanimously to award a $10,792.40 contract to Montel Technologies, of Rockford, for a City Hall security camera system. Before the vote, Ald. Linda McNeely (D-13) referenced Mary Olson’s concerns about a lack of cameras in parking decks, urging the city to also place some there. Mayor Morrissey said Requests for Proposals/Requests for Qualifications were already being drafted by staff for parking deck improvements.

Public Works Director Bill Bittner and Public Works Superintendent Bill Morr issued reports to the City Council regarding city plowing and salting efforts related to the Dec. 1 snowstorm. Bittner’s report said the lengthy cleanup was the result of a rare heavy snowfall that dropped nearly 11 inches in 10 hours. Morr’s reports indicate the city spent $642,568 on salting, snow plowing and removal between Nov. 27 and Dec. 10.

Ald. Victory Bell (D-5) said he was still receiving complaints from constituents regarding plowing and salting operations. Bell added he holds city administrators responsible for the contractors not getting the job done.

The $23 million bond authorization for MetroCentre improvements stalled again in the Planning and Development Committee meeting. Ald. Frank Beach (R-10) and Ald. Holt (D-11) voted to keep it in committee again, while Ald. Bell and Ald. Dan Conness (D-14) voted to move it before the full council. Beach and Holt want assurances the County will be able to deliver its part of the intergovernmental agreement over the next 20 years. The committee is expected to move the authorization before the council in the next couple weeks so renovations can be completed in time for the 2007-2008 hockey season.

Ald. Bill Timm (R-9) and Ald. Ann Thompson (D-7) were absent.

From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue

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