Firefighter contract approved, garbage fee increase stalled

News and notes from the Oct. 19 Rockford City Council meeting

By Stuart R. Wahlin

Staff Writer

Rockford City Council unanimously approved a three-year collective bargaining agreement with International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 413 during the Oct. 19 meeting.

The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, and lasts through Dec. 31, 2011. Oct. 13, firefighters ratified their end of the agreement, which includes a wage freeze through 2010, as well as higher insurance deductibles.

Wages for 2011 will remain a subject of negotiation, however, and will be determined through later arbitration.

After narrowly passing a first round of voting the week before, a measure to raise garbage fees was laid over.

If approved, the ordinance would end the city’s $3 monthly garbage fee subsidy, and residential garbage collection fees for residents would increase from $11.20 to $14.20 per month, effective Jan. 1.

Ending the subsidy is expected to save the city $1.8 million annually.

Oct. 13, aldermen voted 8-5 in favor of the increase after a sunset clause was added under a successful motion by Ald. Venita Hervey (D-5), who was the rate hike’s biggest opponent. If approved, the fee increase would expire Dec. 31, 2011, unless aldermen vote to raise it again.

When the ordinance came to the floor for final approval Oct. 19, Hervey moved for a layover, which was seconded by Ald. Doug Mark (R-3). Under the council’s rules, only a motion and a second are required for a layover.

The ordinance will be up for a vote again Oct. 26.


Aldermen approved a resolution to change the name of Perry Creek Parkway to become Spring Creek Road between Perryville and Bell School roads, effective Dec. 1.

The council also approved agreements with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for three road resurfacing projects. Per an agreement for Sandy Hollow Road, the city’s share is $300,000, plus any cost overruns. The city’s cost for an agreement to resurface Alpine Road, West State Street and Central Avenue is $99,597 plus overruns. Longwood Street will be resurfaced with $641,252 in federal stimulus funds, with the city liable for any cost overruns.

Aldermen passed committee reports recommending:

υ Rabine & Sons, of Richmond, be awarded an agreement for snow removal operations and related equipment.

υ Maple Construction, of Ringwood, be awarded a $17,907.50 contract for conduit installation.

υ Plow blade repair parts contracts be awarded to Tinley Park-based Central Parts Warehouse, for $68,160, and to Dixon-based Bonnell Industries, Inc., in the amount of $85,931.

υ Approval of a $2,241.01 claim by Chris McGarry, whose vehicle was damaged by a falling limb from a city-owned tree.

υ An amendment to change the Legislative & Lobbying Committee’s structure from six to five members. Presently, the committee is composed of three aldermen from each caucus. If given final approval, the amendment would cause the committee’s chairmanship and majority to alternate between Democrats and Republicans each year.

υ Agreements for traffic signal service be awarded to Ballard Electric and Engel Electric, of Sterling.

υ A two-year interim financing proposal from National City Bank. The $15 million line of credit is expected to give the cash-strapped city some breathing room in early 2010 until property taxes are received later in June.


Oct. 23 was proclaimed Green Ball Day in honor of the first Green Ball being held at Cliffbreakers, 700 W. Riverside Blvd.


Aldermen John Beck (R-12), Bill Robertson (I-14) and Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) were absent.

From the October 21-27, 2009 issue

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