City council: 2022 tax levy approved

At its monthly meeting Monday, the Rochelle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance levying taxes for 2022.

Power purchase to be made

ROCHELLE — At its monthly meeting Monday, the Rochelle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance levying taxes for 2022. 

Last year, the city’s equalized assessed valuation (EAV) was $268,100,764 and its property tax rate was 1.043070 per $100 of EAV. The city collected $2,796,478.63 in property taxes. For 2022, Ogle County has estimated the city’s EAV at $281,938,536, which is an increase of over $13 million. The proposed levy calculation option would result in the city collecting $2,847,771.51 in property taxes, an increase of two percent.

Based on the estimated EAV, the tax rate would decrease .032292 per $100 EAV at two percent. The proposed 2022 levy includes funding the police and fire pension funds as recommended by the police and fire pension boards’ actuarial studies.

Power

The council unanimously approved an ordinance waiving competitive bidding for a power purchase agreement. 

The city and Rochelle Municipal Utilities identified a power need for next month and the early months of 2023. Due to current “long-term pricing uncertainties,” a short-term contract was recommended and the city’s marketing firm will secure bids for it and after Monday's approval City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh will be able to act quickly to secure the power purchase. The total cost of the power purchase is expected to be $898,250.

"We're trying to hedge ourselves against the market," Fiegenschuh said. "Any time we use more than 45 megawatts we're out in the market. If you don't have a price guarantee, then we're paying whatever the market price is. The prices have gone down, so we want to be able to strike."

Speed limit

The council unanimously approved an ordinance allowing it to change the speed limit on Sunnymeade Drive from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour.

The street is narrower and has parking on both sides and some drivers have used it as a “cut through route” between Illinois Route 251 and Illinois Route 38. City staff have received “several” safety concerns from Sunnymeade Drive residents due to speeding and distracted motorists.

Steward Road

The board unanimously approved an ordinance that will prohibit parking on Steward Road between Illinois Route 251 and South Main Street and increase the fine from $10 to $250 for vehicles that park there that weigh over 8,000 pounds.

City officials said Monday that there have been issues with semi trucks parking on the street in the area near the Love’s Travel Stop and that there have been “several safety concerns” received due to the issue and trucks parking there has caused visibility issues for traffic in the area.

Vehicle

The council unanimously approved a lease agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management for a 2023 Ford F-150 truck for the RMU electric department at a monthly rate of $982.12. The truck will be delivered mid-2023 with a lease term of 60 months. The city has been using the fleet lease program to reduce upfront investment, repair costs and down time.

Incentives

The council unanimously approved amendments to its energy efficiency program for RMU customers. Under the program, customers can make improvements to their homes or apartments to reduce energy or water usage and lower peak demand for the utility and receive incentives in the form of a credit on their RMU bills. The Monday amendments expanded the program.

Trees

The council unanimously approved an amendment to its tree and shrub ordinance to apply to all community trees and it will now meet Tree City USA standards. The city will now qualify for a Tree City USA designation which would make it eligible for benefits. The approval Monday expanded the tree ordinance to include a purpose, definitions, designate authority over public trees and set a standard for the planting and maintenance of trees.

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