Ordinances (New and Old) Keep Savanna City Council Busy
By Michael Miller | For The Prairie Advocate News
SAVANNA – The Savanna City Council mulled over several ordinances during their latest meeting at 333 Chicago Avenue in Savanna, as well as a resolution allowing a hog roast and bike show on Madison Street.
The meeting was attended by Council members Bill Grummitt, Bill Robinson, Merle Long, Tony McCombie, Jeff Griswold and Lois Hunsaker, with Peg Haffey absent (and no one yet filling Rob David’s vacant Fourth Ward seat). Also in attendance were Mayor Larry Stebbins, City Attorney Phil Jensen, City Clerk Paul Hartman, Police Chief Michael Moon and Public Works Superintendent John Lindeman, and Treasurer/Comptroller Sheryl Sipe, with Fire Chief Shawn Picolotti absent.
Lindeman addressed an issue concerning two individuals who have submitted bills to the City for work they feel the City should be liable for, one from True Value, and one from a property owner at 708 Third Street with a similar complaint. Mr. Lindeman said that perhaps six times in one month Public Works was called by the Moose because of sewer backups in their basement, and that True Value had called with backup issues of their own shortly after their last call by the Moose. He said that True Value was claiming that when the City was cleaning their sewers some of that material backed up into their line and clogged it up, though the Superintendent said there was no way of ascertaining that for sure. He went on to say that since Public Works had responded promptly to clean up both of these situations he didn’t feel it should be the City’s responsibility and that his department wasn’t able to constantly monitor this type of situation. Since he felt the City had not been negligent, he didn’t feel it should bear responsibility.
The superintendent suggested that the City might want to construct some kind of consistent policy for this type of situation. Ultimately the Council elected to have the Water/Sewer/Refuse/Streets and Alleys Committee review the issue and come up with such a policy.
Ordinances, Ordinances, Ordinances
The Council read by title only and approved an ordinance (#2012) which would waive the reinstatement fee for nonpayment of bills for industrial accounts due to billing cycle issues “or the timing of the corporations’ approval of the bill.” Two more ordinances that would amend the schedule of license fees for transient merchants so that the daily fee would be $50.00, for a period not to exceed 72 hours, the seasonal fee would be $500.00 (covering March 1st to October 31st), and the annual fee would be $1000.00, were both sent back to the Ordinance Committee for further review.
Mayor Stebbins officially declared the seat formerly occupied by Robert David, of Savanna’s Fourth Ward, vacant.
The Council considered a request by Gerry Gendreau to use a portion of Madison Street to host the Big River Chapter Hog Roast and Bike Show, on July 7th of 2012. In discussion, Long cautioned that the police department should be vigilant to ensure that all provisions of the agreement are adhered to. Moon said that if there were any problems, then the Council had the option to simply deny any similar requests in the future. The mayor read aloud the full resolution and added “with committee recommendations for the size of the area and conditions set forth by the committee meeting minutes,” and it was then fully approved by the Council.
Altering Savanna’s TIF District to Help Finance the Sewer Plant Project
Jensen then reviewed, at some length, a memo he’d written detailing what Savanna could do to amend it’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District and the current redevelopment plan. Jensen explained that TIF is “a taxing mechanism that identifies as a point of the implementation of the TIF the assessed valuation of property.” The incremental increase in evaluation and corresponding increase in taxes, is that portion that gets allocated exclusively to the TIF District for purposes identified in the redevelopment plan.
The boundaries of an existing TIF can be amended as well as amended to a development agreement. Mr. Jensen then identified several different steps that the City would need to take in order to amend the current TIF District boundaries.
The attorney explained that expanding Savanna’s TIF District would allow the City to self-finance projects within this new TIF District. A portion of the new sewer plant, for instance, could then be paid for through the use of TIF funds by using the property tax revenue and sales tax generated within the District.
Jensen also listed the costs that the City could pay for TIF receipts, including property acquisition costs, demolition of buildings, site preparations, various repair costs, costs of the construction of public works or improvements, financing costs, the cost of studies, professional service costs, and others.
The attorney also emphasized public participation in this process in his memo, stating that a written redevelopment plan must be available for public review at least 45 days prior to a Public Hearing. This Hearing would “offer the community a chance to raise questions, voice concerns, and learn about the goals and objectives driving the redevelopment effort before the District is created.”
The Finance Committee will review the amendment of the TIF District and if they are in agreement with it, the matter will be brought before the full Council for review at the next regularly scheduled meeting.
McCombie mentioned that she had run the bike trail and was impressed with the way it looked. Stebbins noted progress on seeking out savings for the City’s health insurance package. He also indicated that he and Lindeman had attended a building meeting last week to address taking care of more vacant city buildings. He also attended a seminar hosted by the Carroll County Board that detailed the efforts of a 9-1-1 group from Southern Illinois that was one of the first in the nation to use iFiber as their 9-1-1 source. The mayor said that from what he had learned, “We’re in for some big changes with 9-1-1.” He said that Indiana has a fantastic fiber network, they are just not currently joined to Illinois.
The Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be on July 10th, at 7:30 at City Hall and the public is welcome to attend.