Garbage fee increase to expire with firefighter labor agreement
• News and notes from the Oct. 13 Rockford City Council meeting
By Stuart R. Wahlin
After a one-week layover, the Rockford City Council voted 8-5 Oct. 13 in favor of a garbage fee increase meant to free up money for the city and save jobs.
The administration has warned dozens of layoffs would result if the fee is not raised.
If given final approval by aldermen Oct. 19, the garbage collection charge for residents will increase from $11.20 per month to $14.20, effective Jan. 1.
Until now, the city has picked up the $3 difference, but expects to save about $1.8 million annually by discontinuing the subsidy. That $1.8 million, city leaders say, will avert layoffs of public safety personnel.
The rate hike may only be temporary, however. After an amendment by Ald. Venita Hervey (D-5), the rate increase would expire in two years—when a proposed agreement with city firefighters would also run out.
Aldermen will now consider approval of a tentative agreement ratified by the city’s firefighter union. The deal includes a two-year wage freeze, and Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) said he hopes similar agreements will be reached with the police and municipal employee unions.
Aldermen Joe Sosnowski (R-1), Carl Wasco (D-4), Lenny Jacobson (D-6), Frank Beach (R-10) and Linda McNeely (D-13) voted “no.”
The council gave its final approval for a 3-percentage-point water fee increase, effective Dec. 1. The increase is a result of the city’s ongoing $75 million water system upgrades. Aldermen Jacobson and McNeely voted “no.”
Aldermen also approved a $33,668.82 Community Development Block Grant agreement with Crusaders Central Clinic Association for relocation of utility poles and lines at Crusader Clinic’s facility at 1100 Broadway.
Aldermen passed committee reports recommending:
• Schlichting & Sons be awarded a $110,686 bid for a water-main at Illini Court and Santa Monica Drive.
• Northern Illinois Service be awarded a $246,353.45 bid for a water-main at Harvard Avenue.
• Sjostrom & Sons be awarded up to $334,000 for water operations lab and office remodeling.
• Scandroli Construction be awarded up to $2,511,780 for water treatment improvements as part of the city’s ongoing water system rehabilitation.
• Loves Park-based William Charles Construction, formerly Rockford Blacktop, be awarded a $67,356.60 bid for re-striping and repairs along Kishwaukee Street.
• McMahon Associates, Inc., be awarded up to $97,000 for construction field services for the zone control valve project related to the water system rehabilitation.
• MWH Americas, Inc., of Broomfield, Colo., be awarded up to $242,818 for construction management and startup services related to the water system rehabilitation’s zone control valve project.
• AJ Morley and ADV Enterprise be awarded contracts for snow removal at a rate of approximately $46 per hour.
The week of Oct. 12 was proclaimed Orchid-Third-College-Union Neighborhood Association Week.
Oct. 18 was proclaimed Crop Hunger Walk Day.
The week of Oct. 13 was proclaimed Matt Polnow Week to honor the letter carrier who rescued a disabled woman from a burning vehicle involved in a traffic accident.
Oct. 17 was proclaimed Goodwill Share a Smile Day.
Ald. Bill Robertson (I-14) was absent as he recovers from surgery.
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