Illinois

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.

Hog Farm Permit will be Delayed

Mar 5, 2012

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is holding up a proposed large-scale hog farm in northeast Hancock County.

Junction Acres would be home to up to 18,000 pigs a year. It would be built near LaCrosse.

The deadline for the permit was March 3rd. The department instead requested the construction plans and the animal waste-handling plan.

Walter Goetsch is the Ag Department's Bureau Chief of Environmental Programs. He said the information is often not part of the original notice of intent to construct.

Warsaw is Still Waiting for FEMA Money from 2008

Mar 5, 2012

The Mississippi River flood of 2008 heavily damaged the water treatment plant in Warsaw.  At the time, FEMA told the city it would cover the the entire cost of getting the plant back online.

Hancock County Board Chairman David Walker said FEMA did not fulfill the promise.  Instead, it paid 75% of the cost.  That left the city to come up with $265,000 to get the plant running again.

Walker said that was a hardship.

He said, “They had to take it out of their own funds.  Every city, every county, every municipality is hurting on the amount of money that they have.”

Employees Air Insurance Concerns

Mar 2, 2012

Bushnell switched health insurance plans last year to lower costs. Instead, it raised the hackles of employees.

The two sides this week. Fifteen employees submitted their complaints and questions in writing.

Their biggest complaint was the deductible. It increased $400 from the old plan to $1,900.

Pages