July 16 Rockford City Council briefs

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11847861352633.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Resident John Weaver urged the Council to “Please start taking some action,” on street crime.‘);

Sales tax increase going to work immediately

Aldermen are wasting no time putting to work revenues from the recently-enacted 1 percentage point sales tax increase. Although the sales tax increase started being collected July 1, the city won’t get its hands on the dollars until October when the money is funneled back to Rockford from the Illinois Department of Revenue.

City Engineer Brad Moberg explained contractors wouldn’t normally be paid for about three months anyway, making it possible for work to begin immediately.

A report recommending award of a $2,340,784.67 bid for citywide residential street resurfacing to low-bidder Rockford Blacktop was passed. Costing 15.9 percent less than the original estimate, the resurfacing of 183 blocks is to be paid for by sales tax in addition to the $1 million aldermen cut from the General Fund to be redirected to neighborhood street improvements. Resurfacing began July 17 and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31.

Aldermen voted to approve a report recommending award of a $228,855.50 bid to low bidder Stenstrom Excavation for work on sidewalk, curb, gutter and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramps. The work is funded by sales tax dollars and is 12.5 percent below the original estimate.

Ald. Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) suggested contractors be monitored for quality assurance.

As a result of the early collection of the 1 percentage point sales tax increase, aldermen also approved a committee report to amend the tax’s five-year expiration date from Dec. 31, 2012, to June 30, 2012. The July 1 tax increase wasn’t originally planned for collection until Jan. 1, 2008. The mayor and aldermen, however, want to stay true to their word by amending the sunset date to honor their “five means five” promise.

Other committee reports approved

The council approved a report recommending low bidder Swinson Materials be awarded a $115,700 bid for the demolition of 10 homes in poor condition in the West State Street corridor. The work is funded entirely by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

The Rockford City Council passed a Planning and Development Committee report recommending the Mid Town District Association receive $30,000 in tax increment financing (TIF) funds. The group’s mission is to coordinate redevelopment in the Seventh Street area between East State Street and Railroad Avenue.

A report recommending award for storage and disposal of impounded vehicles be made to Greater Rockford Auto Auction was approved. The city expects to collect $25,000 a year through the agreement.

Aldermen approved a report recommending Haas Towing be awarded a vehicle towing contract.

The City council gave its nod to a report recommending approval of a task order related to city water system rehabilitation. MWH Americas, Inc., of Broomfield, Colo., is to carry out the order for an amount not to exceed $25,000. The engineering services are funded by water bonds.

A report recommending Arnold Lundgren & Associates be awarded an amount not to exceed $143,600 for preliminary engineering, construction engineering and project management as part of Kishwaukee Street utility relocation. Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds pay for the project.

Mayor Morrissey responds to recent teen violence

Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) addressed the community in the wake of news three teen-agers were allegedly involved in the shooting death of an ice cream vendor on Loomis Street July 15. Morrissey extended sympathy to those affected by recent violence, but said police cannot be expected to solve the problem.

“One thing is for certain,” Morrissey said. “We can’t do it alone. We have to do it together as a community.”

Appointments and re-appointments

Winnebago County Board member Angie Goral (D-7), Cherene Sweeney, Joyce Higgins and Gerald O. Albert were re-appointed to Citizen Participation Committee to three-year terms expiring May 2010. Ray Cooper was also appointed to the committee for a three-year term.

Public participation

Rockford resident John Weaver announced a neighborhood march and prayer gathering July 20 at 611 N. Court St. beginning at 7 p.m. Weaver, a frequent speaker during public comments, continually urges the mayor, aldermen and the public to participate in the marches against street crime.

Weaver also plugged National Night Out Against Crime events to be held at Nelson Park on Seminary Street Aug. 7 from 5 to 9 p.m.

“Please start taking some action,” Weaver urged the city council. “Not doing makes you part of the problem. It’s time to become part of the solution.”

Weaver said another march is planned for 5:30 p.m., July 24, starting at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 600 N. Horsman St. For more information, call 1-815-968-2205.

from the July 18-24, 2007, issue

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