Feb. 20 Rockford City Council briefs

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117209033210699.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Aldermen watched a PowerPoint presentation outlining the City of Baltimore’s CitiStat program at the Feb. 20 Rockford City Council meeting.‘);

During public participation, Carl Meiborg called attention to concerns he has about city snow plowing.

“We can’t find the sidewalks on some of the streets like Main and Auburn, 11th Street and Sandy Hollow, East State and 9th Street,” said Meiborg, who is blind and requires the assistance of a trained dog.

Meiborg explained there isn’t ample access to sidewalks from the street, and urged the city to remember the needs of the disabled when plowing.

Aldermen Nancy Johnson (D-8), Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) and Carl Wasco (D-4) relayed snow-removal complaints from constituents. They noted the complaints were not about city crews, but rather Rabine Paving, who is the contractor for residential streets.

The City Council approved a committee report recommending Northern Illinois Service Company, the low-bidder, be awarded $153,601 for the demolition of the Inn-Town Motel, 733 E. State St. The motel was shut down by the city in December for code violations. Owners were given 30 days to bring the facility back into compliance.

Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) proclaimed February to be Black History Month in Rockford.

The mayor announced the Northern Illinois Commuter Transportation Initiative (NICTI) will hold an open house Feb. 27 as an informational update on Rockford’s commuter rail aspirations. The event will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Burpee Museum, 737 N. Main St.

Mayor Morrissey indicated the city has now used 121 percent of its snow removal budget for the season.

Ald. Victory Bell (D-5) said Rockford and Winnebago County need to pool their resources to address poverty in the community.

The council voted to award a grounds maintenance contract to low-bidder Cheyenne Lawn Care of Rockford. Cheyenne will be responsible for mowing grass at 42 Water Division well houses and will be paid $1,280 for each round.

Aldermen voted to approve the appointment of Susan Salvi Buckwalter to the Personnel Appeals Board for a term ending in December 2008.

The City Council approved a five-year Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) for infrastructure improvements. The mayor and aldermen plan to present the CIP to the public to show exactly where the dollars would be going should voters pass an April 17 referendum to increase sales tax by a percentage point. The tax would generate an estimated $16 million for each of the next five years to fund the improvements.

Aldermen approved a development agreement with Anderson Packaging, Inc., in the Rockford Global TradePark Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District No. 1. The city will pitch in $1.1 million to Anderson’s $7.5 million expansion project. Within five years, Anderson’s expansion will bring at least 150 new permanent jobs.

The Council voted to object to a Winnebago County map amendment to rezone 5.49 acres at 1739 Ogilby Rd. from Agricultural Priority District to Rural Agricultural District. The property is adjacent to city property.

Julia Scott-Valdez, assistant city administrator, gave a PowerPoint presentation outlining findings from a recent trip to Baltimore to study the CitiStat program. Rockford’s new customer service request system will log calls and gather data to improve the city’s efficiency and accountability in serving the public. Rockford’s version, RockStat, will be fully implemented by the first week in April, Scott-Valdez said, starting with the Public Works Department.

A public hearing regarding the city’s intent to sell up to $20 million in bonds for MetroCentre renovations was re-scheduled for Feb. 26.

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

From the Feb. 21-27, 2007, issue

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