Mayor offers flood update at Aug. 20 City Council meeting

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118780665716875.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Altough more than $6 million is currently allocated in the capital improvements program, aldermen may be forced to allocate more for storm water management in upcoming budget talks.‘);

News and notes from Aug. 20 Rockford City Council meeting

Reiterating many of the points from his Aug. 15 press conference, Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) again thanked the community and his staff, while extending sympathy to victims of the Aug. 7 flooding.

The mayor credited the community for making possible emergency repairs to Alpine Dam via approval of a 1 percentage point sales tax referendum in April. As a result, $6,070,000 was allocated for storm water management and drainage improvements. Because of recent events, Morrissey alluded even more money could be set aside during upcoming budget talks.

Morrissey and Rep. Don Manzullo (R-16) toured the dam site Aug. 19 as rains had steadily fallen throughout the weekend. The mayor, along with City Administrator Jim Ryan and Brian Eber from Public Works, showed Manzullo points of concern at the dam. While the city does not have the luxury of waiting for federal dollars, emergency repairs will move ahead in hopes reimbursement will come later.

Morrissey reported an exit meeting earlier in the day with members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), who had been inspecting damaged homes and businesses for a week prior.

After receiving a FEMA grant this month, the Winnebago County Board will soon select a consultant for a Countywide Hazard Mitigation Plan, which Morrissey said will aid in opening doors to more government funding.

“If we’re putting literally millions of dollars out there,” Morrissey explained, “we have a chance for those dollars to match federal and state funds for us to be reimbursed down the road.”

Ald. Jeff Holt (D-11), whose ward sustained significant flood damage twice in the past year, reported many of his constituents are unsure of whether their distressed homes should be repaired. The City Council will soon be forced to consider buying properties in the affected floodplains.

Morrissey pointed out, “We want to make sure that we’re not just putting more money into homes that, really in the long run, should be acquired, should be moved if they’re in harm’s way.”

Morrissey expects Requests for Proposals (RFP) will be going out within the week for a Citywide Stormwater Management Master Plan.

Capital Program Manager Patrick Zuroske, who expects the plan to cost around $350,000, said the last citywide drainage analysis was conducted in 1981.

The mayor said creek cleanup efforts are ongoing, but have been hindered by continued rains.

Committee reports passed

Aldermen approved a Finance and Personnel Committee report recommending TCI Concrete be awarded a $72,770 contract for patching of local roads, funded by sales tax revenue.

The council gave its nod for an annual allocation in the mount of $25,000 to the Minority and Women Construction Management and Training Program.

Creation of a tax incentive program was approved for qualified residential housing assistance in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) areas.

Ordinances approved

Aldermen approved a $200,000 redevelopment agreement with Captain’s Cabin, Inc. for rehabilitation of the Alpine Inn, 4406 E. State St. The $200,000 comes from the State and Alpine TIF District.

A development agreement with Zion Development Corporation was also approved. $50,000 will be made available to Zion from Seventh Street TIF funds for interior remodeling of the former Pickerman’s Deli at 528 Seventh St.

Public participation

Reggie Taylor spoke in favor of a $25,000 annual allocation to the Minority and Women Construction Management Training Program, which aldermen approved later in the evening. Taylor is a former member of the Winnebago County Board and is employed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Allen Penticoff praised the City Council’s newly-amended noise ordinance, which allows police to impound vehicles whose sound systems are heard from 75 feet away. Although commending city leaders for a step in the right direction, Penticoff said the new law doesn’t go far enough.

“While car stereos are definitely a nuisance, they are nothing compared to the noise generated by the un-muffled motorcycles that roar through our city,” Penticoff argued, suggesting police should simply enforce legislation already on the books.

Penticoff, who said he has motorcycles of his own, was quick to point out most motorcyclists abide by a law requiring cycles to retain their factory exhaust systems, which limit noise. While commonly enforced for cars and trucks, Penticoff indicated, motorcycles not in compliance with muffler laws are often overlooked.


Aldermen Victory Bell (D-5) and Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) were not present.

from the Aug. 22-28, 2007, issue

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