City Council approves landfill, boundary agreements with Creston

Creston Village Attorney Dave Tess approaches the Rochelle City Council during its meeting at Rochelle City Hall on Monday. Council members voted to approve multiple agreements with the Village of Creston that would set boundary lines and close the Rochelle Landfill on or before Dec. 31, 2040. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Ordinance allowing up to $18 million in electric bonds also approved

ROCHELLE — Rochelle City Council members approved multiple agreements with the Village of Creston on Monday. The agreements, which were also approved during the Creston village board meeting last week, would result in the Rochelle Landfill closing on or near Dec. 31, 2040.

The agreement is conditioned upon the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency granting a final and non-appealable order to eliminate the need to exhume Cell 1 of the landfill. Both the City of Rochelle and the Village of Creston engaged an expert to review the need for exhumation and found there is currently no leakage from the landfill and exhumation would not be needed.

“I’m so proud of the way this whole thing has come together,” Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows said. “This required cooperation from a lot of people and they should all be commended. We have to work together. Whether we live in Creston or Rochelle, we’re all a part of one community… I think this is a great representation of communities working together.”

If the need to exhume is eliminated, Rochelle will not have to expend $850,000 for its portion of the exhumation costs. The agreement would also eliminate the city’s responsibility to pay $750,000 towards the Mulford Road improvements. Lastly, the operator will make a payment of $1.46 million to the city and a donation of $40,000 to the Rochelle Area Community Foundation.

The second of three agreements approved at the Rochelle City Council meeting Monday evening involves an intergovernmental agreement between the two municipalities that ensures that both take the necessary steps to bring the landfill deal to fruition. The third agreement involves jurisdictional boundary lines. Under the third agreement, Rochelle will have the land west of Mulford Road and Creston will have land east of Mulford Road. The section of land between Interstate 39 and Mulford Road will become a shared revenue district.

“We’ve spent the last year negotiating this and I was approached before the pandemic began,” City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said. “I think it’s a good agreement for both communities and we want to be a partner with Creston going forward… We have boundary agreements with Steward and Hillcrest, so I think it makes sense for us to have a boundary agreement with Creston also.”

For the recently-built Pilot Travel Center at 1201 E. Illinois Route 38, Rochelle will pay Creston $500,000 after the city has been reimbursed for the amount of its infrastructure costs from all revenue derived from the plaza no later than five years after the agreement.
Creston will get 25 percent of the tax revenues going forward in the shared revenue district. Rochelle City Council members approved the initial agreement with a 6-1 vote, with Councilman Bil Hayes dissenting.

Electric bonds

Rochelle City Council members approved an ordinance authorizing the issuance of an amount not to exceed $18 million in Electric Revenue Bonds or General Obligation Bonds to fund infrastructural improvements to the city’s electric system. Fiegenschuh said the city plans to use the bond funding to begin several infrastructure projects over the next few years including a new substation on the west side of the city, rebuilding older power lines and street light conversions.

“Our electric utility continues to grow,” Fiegenschuh said. “We’ve had significant load growth and without constructing a substation on the west side of town, we won’t be able to provide power out there in the near future. We’re sitting well financially, there are a lot of projects we could fund with this and with interest rates where they are, it doesn’t make sense to deplete our reserves.”

Jackpot

Rochelle City Council members approved a redevelopment agreement with 1600 Ritchie Court LLC, also known as Project Jackpot, which plans to redevelop the east Nippon Sharyo building to serve its manufacturing needs. Several upgrades will need to be made including a larger electric feeder cable, new manufacturing equipment and an upgraded substation.

Fiegenschuh said Rochelle Municipal Utilities will install two 34.5 kilovolt transformers, which will serve Project Jackpot and other electric customers on the south side of Rochelle. The substation upgrade and reimbursements to Project Jackpot will cost $5.1 million and will be recovered over the term of the redevelopment agreement. Fiegenschuh said Project Jackpot will have to purchase its electricity exclusively through RMU for a period of up to eight years.

Other items

Rochelle City Council members approved an ordinance continuing the suspension of late fees through August 2022. The city first began waiving late fees in March 2020 due to COVID-19.

Council members also approved an agreement with Cultivate Geospatial Solutions LLC for GIS Locating Services as well as the creation of a GIS manager position with the city. The position will pay an $80,000 salary and the three-year contract with Cultivate Geospatial Solutions LLC will cost $150,000 annually.

Council members approved the preliminary and final plat of subdivision for 101 Cherry Ave. as well as 144 4th Ave. and an ordinance granting variance related to setbacks.

Council members concluded the meeting with an approval of a redevelopment agreement with Glenwood Equities LLC for potentially two retail locations on East Flagg Road west of Illinois Route 251 in Rochelle. The development will require an upgrade to the sewer, water and electrical services. The cost of the agreement will not exceed $180,000.

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