Moderately unexciting city council
meeting tonight. The LCC approved the Class F1 liquor license for the Southern Illinois Irish Festival, then the council approved the various organizations seeking Fair Days (allowing the sale of alcohol at an event) designation.
There was some discussion on the proposal putting the question of electric aggregation
on the ballot this fall, which passed. As I understand it, a yes vote on the referendum will allow the city to enter into a contract for the city's electricity with an electricity aggregator, which may save the city and residents several cents per killowatt used. If the proposal passes, the city would negotiate with an aggregator to secure a favorable rate for residents and small businesses in the city. Once established, from my reading, residents would have to "opt out" of the program or be "opted in" by default.
Two zoning requests came up next, one to rezone property at 401 N. Glenview from Business and Residential to all Planned Business. After some concern, expressed by Don Monty, about extending business zoning into a residential area, the rezoning request passed.
The second one, a request to rezone property on Widdows Lane
from General Agriculture to Rural Residential, sparked much more controversy as several of the residents of Widdows Lane spoke against the rezoning. The applicant wished to rezone the property so as to sell 1 acre for a house, retaining the other 14 acres as agricultural. Several people spoke against the rezoning, fearing that, while the current property owner only wanted to add one house to the parcel, future owners might opt to build additional house, disrupting the atmosphere for which the current residents moved to Widdows Lane and increasing traffic along a road not designed for it. After quite a bit of discussion, council voted to deny the rezoning request.
The council also considered a request from the water and sewer department
to, among other things, increase the security deposit for water and sewer services. The city noted that, while water and sewer rates had risen several times since the 1990s, the amount of the security deposit had remained the same since 1998. The current security deposit of $65 does not cover the average cost of one month's service. Also under consideration were increasing the reconnect fee as the current $20 charge does not cover the costs associated with reconnecting a home. Corine McDaniels, especially, was opposed to increasing the costs as she felt it would create an undue hardship on lower income residents of the community, especially students. Due to some questions about vagueness in wording, the item was withdrawn from consideration and sent back to city staff for more revision.
Council next moved on to a proposal to increase towing fees
associated with cars towed as a result of violations of the law. Proposed administrative fees were $200 for tows associated with misdemeanors and $400 for those associated with a felony. The police department estimated such fees would generate $125,000 per year, which would help replace squad cars and other police equipment. Several council members thought the fees were quite high and citizen comments were split,with one person speaking in favor and one against. Council eventually voted 4-3 ( I think, it was getting late) in favor of adopting the new fees.