Illinois

Bushnell hoped to avoid spending the $650,000 for catalytic converters on the engines at its power plant. Mayor Steve Russell said the city keeps the plant as a back-up and doesn't run it regularly.

However, maintaining the power plant brings in $25,000 monthly payments.

Russell said the city buys electricity from a consortium, the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency. The agency makes those payments for the city's generating capacity. One condition is that the power plant meets EPA regulations. New regulations  require the installation.

Colchester Considers Adding Sewer Surcharge

Apr 3, 2012

Colchester residents might soon see a new charge on their sewer bills. It could be just the first of several.

The city council has given first reading to proposed ordinance to add the $4 monthly fee. The city needs the money because the Illinois EPA is requiring the city to update its sewer and water treatment systems.

Mayor Danny Bice said the city has little choice but to raise more money. The city is looking for financing from federal and state agencies.

Western Illinois University is known for Sherman Tower and its climbing tower. It might soon be known for a water tower. Talks between WIU and Macomb are ongoing.

Mayor Mike Inman said, “We're hoping to partner with the university on branding the water tower with the university's mascot and logo  That, obviously, will be an agreement between us and them but their intention is to underwrite that.”

The project is part of routine maintenance to repaint the tower inside and out this year.

Fire Fees will Go Up May 1st

Mar 28, 2012

Carthage will raise the fees it charges for fire response calls outside the city limits.

The city currently charges $450 per hour for the first hour and $400 for each additional hour.

The new fee will be a straight $600 per hour.

Mayor Jim Nightingale calls the increase “justifiable” and will help the city pay for upkeep on the fire department's vehicles.

He said, “The problem is they (trucks) set. They don't run them a lot and we have to keep them up.” He called that cost “unbelievable.”

The city will spend $58,000 to refurbish one truck.

City Council Questions Property Owner

Mar 27, 2012

The owner of the Pineapple Inn did not come away with support from the Macomb City Council in his effort to change the bed and breakfast into a lodging house.

Gil Johnson, who lives in Peoria, is seeking a special use permit for the change. The council has given the ordinance its first reading. It's scheduled to give the ordinance a second reading at next week's meeting.

At this week's committee of the whole meeting, aldermen voted to recommend denial of the permit on a voice vote. The vote came after fifth-ward alderman Dave Dorsett questioned Johnson.

Carthage is Planning a Big Birthday Bash

Mar 23, 2012

Carthage will celebrate its 175th birthday in conjunction with the annual Fourth of July celebration. The celebration will last the entire week.

Community Development Director Bob Livingston said the community has enthusiastically embraced the celebration. Dozens of volunteer committees are shaping the event. The committees are looking to the past to find a symbol for the celebration.

FEMA Comes up with Money for Warsaw

Mar 22, 2012

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to compensate Warsaw for some of the money it paid to repair its  water treatment plant after it was badly damaged by the 2008 flood.

At the time, the city expected to be reimbursed 100% for the repairs. FEMA later decided the city was due 75% of the repair costs because the county didn't meet its poverty guidelines.

City finances were strained to come up with the $285,000. The city has tried to recoup that money ever since.

County Board Chairman said FEMA has agreed to pay two-thirds of the city's share.

New Dentist Could Re-open Old Office

Mar 19, 2012

Dr. David Jameson's retirement left Bushnell without a dentist. The city has moved to fill the cavity in the community.

Mayor Steve Russell said, “We had a team of people here made up of several interested people that might like to work with us and get the word out there that we were interested in having a dentist in Bushnell.”

Representatives from the Bushnell Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation pitched in. He said Kim Pierce of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce also helped with the search.

Monmouth Prepares for Higher Energy Costs

Mar 19, 2012

Monmouth residents often see a bright flare in the north part of town. It's a burner that keeps excess methane from building up at the city's waste water pre-treatment facility.  Someday, it might produce electricity.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said the 15 year-old burner had to be replaced recently. He said the city has installed one that could be part of an energy-generating system.

Bushnell Mayor Steve Russell said the city is “very frugal” when it comes to street repairs. He said the city has a long-term plan to fix streets, sidewalks and gutters. All it needs is a new source of revenue to make that happen.

The city is putting a half-cent sales tax increase before voters next Tuesday. If approved, the city's sales tax would increase to 7.25%.

Judge Sets Deadline in Watson Case

Mar 13, 2012

A McDonough County Judge has set a deadline for the pre-trial discovery process in the case of Daniel Watson.

Watson is a former Macomb High School teacher and former boys basketball coach. He is charged with one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for an alleged relationship with a female student.

McDonough County won't have a web site right away. However, the board's Human Resources and Planning Committee is laying the groundwork for the project.

Chair Linda Jani said the current budget does not have any money for the project. She said the committee is looking at a number of issues and sees the website as a long-term goal.

She said, “We're trying to get some information together because then if we do get a website  there are legal requirements for what has to be on there.”

Survey Goal is to Boost Economic Activity

Mar 12, 2012

Monmouth is a partner in a new survey that will provide a snapshot of the job skills of the workforce in western Illinois-and the the skills they might need.

Community Development Director Paul Schuytema said the survey has two goals. One is to provide a detailed picture of the area in light of the 2010 census data. He said any large firm looking at locating in the area will be concerned with the regional workforce instead of just that in one city. He said the second goal is to discover skill sets that are lacking in the region.

Policy Will Benefit City Coffers

Mar 9, 2012

Interest rates of under one percent convinced Monmouth's city council to adopt a formal investment policy.

City Administrator Eric Hanson said the did not have a formal investment policy and put all its money into CDs.

The McDonough County courthouse will take the first step toward becoming a “secure courthouse.” Sheriff Rick VanBrooker said the county is a bit behind the times when it comes to security. He said a new video monitoring system will close the gap.

The county is advertising for bids. VanBrooker would like to have a battery of 18 cameras to monitor entrances, hallways, stairwells and the courtrooms.

Cost is a consideration but not the only one.

Pages