Feb. 26 Rockford City Council briefs

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117269331413642.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Ald. John Beck (R-12) read in ordinances to allow for the March 5 bond sale to fund MetroCentre renovations and the purchase of an AHL franchise.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117269336731208.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘ The City Council approved the appointment of Michael Hakanson to the Metro Authority Board‘);

With a full house of spectators patiently waiting, the Rockford City Council convened 30 minutes late. The delay was the result of a Finance and Personnel Committee closed session, discussing matters not on the evening’s City Council agenda.

Ald. John Beck (R-12) presided over a public hearing regarding the city’s intent to sell up to $23 million in bonds for MetroCentre renovations and the purchase of an American Hockey League (AHL) franchise. With no questions or comments from aldermen or the public, the hearing was closed.

The City Council approved a committee report recommending the award of contracts to low bidders for various water-treatment chemicals. Viking Chemical, of Rockford, was awarded $8,600. Alexander Chemical, of Lisle, was awarded $9,017.37.

Aldermen also approved a report to award a bid of $280,020 to Stenstrom Excavation, of Rockford, for city wide bituminous patching of streets.

The City Council approved a report recommending that Rockford Blacktop Construction, of Loves Park, be awarded $216,202.26 for [Water] Pressure Zone Boundary work.

The council passed two committee reports recommending the approval of city-state agreements related to bridge projects in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The city’s portion of the $11 million Harrison Avenue bridge project is $2,093,000. The Kishwaukee bridge project has a total cost of $3,480,000, with the city’s share being $824,000.

Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) proclaimed the week of Feb. 26 to be Kevin Lindenberg Week in Rockford. Lindenberg is a 17-year-old who heroically saved his father’s life. Lindenberg’s father suffered a medical emergency while driving. From the passenger seat, Kevin was able to bring the vehicle to a stop and get assistance. Lindenberg also serves on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.

According to the latest Snow and Ice Report, the city has used 131 percent of its snow removal budget so far this season.

Ald. Lenny Jacobson (D-6) praised everyone who participated in the Feb. 25 fund-raiser for the “Shop with a Cop” program. Last year, 50 children affected by the Labor Day flood were paired with Rockford police officers who took them holiday shopping.

Aldermen approved a report recommending the passage of an ordinance requiring the registration of scrap-copper sellers. Rockford Legal Director Patrick Hayes explained: “There’s been a copper transaction requirement for many years throughout the state for all transactions over 50 pounds. This simply extends that down to any weight of copper.” The move is in reaction to a rash of copper thefts over recent months, as its market value has gone up. It is possible the ordinance may later apply to other metals as well. Aldermen hope other area municipalities will adopt similar ordinances. Ald. Linda McNeely (D-13) voted no.

The West State-Central Redevelopment Area Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District was approved. The city’s largest TIF is bordered by School Street on the north, Green Street on the south, Pierpont Avenue on the west and Lakin Terrace on the east. “We think this should be a great idea to promote economic development for that area,” Ald. Victory Bell (D-5) said.

J.E. Mark, Inc., was awarded $13,175 for the demolitions at 120 and 124 N. Central. Swinson Material, also of Rockford, was awarded $7,000 for demolition at 128 N. Central.

Mayor Morrissey’s appointment of Mike Hakanson to the Metro Authority Board was approved by aldermen. Only McNeely voted against the appointment. Hakanson will serve a term expiring in June 2012. Hakanson, who is employed by Gambino Realtors, also serves as vice chairman of the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee and sits on the Community Focus Group addressing the county’s long-term land use plan and Unified Development Ordinance. In coming weeks, Mayor Morrissey is also expected to make a recommendation to the council for the replacement of Authority Board Chairman Gary Marzorati, who publicly announced his resignation Feb. 14.

Ald. Nancy Johnson (D-8) read in a resolution regarding the new area code overlap, which requires residents to dial “1-815” before calling local phone numbers. The resolution was referred to the newly-created Legislative Advisory and Lobbying Committee. Sen. Dave Syverson (R-34) is already working with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to find a better way of implementing the new 779 area code. Syverson is pushing for the split of 815 into two area codes, rather than overlaying 779 into 815.

Andre Sammul, finance director, spoke briefly about the $29.8 million March 5 bond sale; $23 million are to be used for MetroCentre renovations and the acquisition of an AHL franchise. The remaining $6.8 million is for 1999 Coronado Theatre refunding, which Sammul said is a savings opportunity for the city. When Ald. Beck read in the ordinance, the $23 million in MetroCentre bonds were broken into two parts: “$6,635,000…for the purpose of defraying the cost of certain Rockford MetroCentre improvements … $16,365,000 … for the purpose of defraying the cost of purchasing an American Hockey League franchise, and the cost of certain MetroCentre improvements.”

Aldermen finalized and executed a development agreement with Anderson Packaging, Inc., in the Global TradePark TIF No. 1. Anderson had originally anticipated 150 new permanent jobs, but now expects up to 250 as a result of the company’s $7.5 million expansion.

Aldermen Doug Mark (R-3) and Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) were absent.

From the Feb. 28-March 6, 2007, issue

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