City council: School resource officer program extended to 2024

Rochelle Middle School Resource Officer Jim Jakymiw made a presentation to the Rochelle city council during its meeting and said that the SRO program has gone well since it started three years ago.

Solar agreement with Kennay Farms Distillery approved

ROCHELLE — At its Tuesday meeting, the Rochelle city council unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with the elementary school board to extend the Rochelle Police school resource officer position at Rochelle Middle School. 

The extension will keep the officer at RMS until Sept. 1, 2024. An additional term beyond that date can be mutually agreed upon. 

RMS School Resource Officer Jim Jakymiw made a presentation to the council during the meeting and said that the SRO program has gone well since it started three years ago. 

“I believe the program has been a huge success,” Jakymiw said. “Thank you for this opportunity and this relationship and cooperation between the district and the city.”

The school district has agreed to pay 33 percent of the SRO’s total compensation including salary, overtime, benefits, and pension payments.

The budgeted amount for the city’s portion was listed as $73,161 in the meeting packet.

Solar agreement

The council unanimously approved an agreement with Kennay Farms Distillery for the installation of solar panels on the roof of its Rick House. The city will commit $90,000 over a three-year period for the project that has a total cost of $260,000. 

The first installment of $30,000 will be paid by the city in Dec. 2022 with successful installation and two more $30,000 installments will follow in Dec. 2023 and 2024. The project is not net metered. Any additional power produced will go back onto RMU’s grid at no cost.   

The city’s agenda packet said Rochelle Municipal Utilities, which it owns, will recover its investment amount within “approximately 10 years” with an annual average savings of $9,000 produced by the solar panels. That figure is based on current rates, usage and production of solar power. 

The solar panels have a life expectancy of 25 years and the city expects to receive those savings for the entirety of that time frame. Kennay Farms is responsible for the maintenance and snow removal of the solar panels.

Rezoning

The council unanimously approved an ordinance to rezone 300 Steward Rd. from B-2 commercial highway to I-1 light industry, which could result in a potential warehouse business. Mayor John Bearrows abstained from the vote. 

Jim Planey of Hub City Development, LLC made the zoning change request. The property was annexed into Rochelle in 2010 with a light industry classification but was rezoned in 2018 to commercial highway because the developer felt it created a better market for a project compatible to the Love’s Travel Stop, which is adjacent to the west. Warehouses are not allowed with a special use permit in a commercial highway district, but are in light industry. 

The property is surrounded by commercial highway zoning on the west, agricultural zoning on the south, Illinois Tollway Interstate 88 on the north and residential single family zoning on the east. 

At the Oct. 4 planning and zoning commission meeting, the proposed rezoning was approved 6-0.

Bucket truck

The council unanimously approved an ordinance waiving competitive bidding requirements and awarding Altec Industries Inc. the purchase order of a bucket truck for the RMU electric department for $194,805. 

The truck will replace a 2011 unit and the meeting packet said bucket trucks have a life expectancy of about 10 years. The truck has a 660-day delivery time due to supply shortages and is expected to be delivered in spring 2023. Payment will be due upon delivery.

Feeder replacement

The council unanimously accepted and approved the proposal of Engle Electric for the 120/208V secondary feeder replacement at 1133 N. 7th St. for $71,983. Engle Electric was the sole bidder. 

The Comfort Inn & Suites hotel at the location is the last property to be converted in phase two of the 5kv conversion. 

“This will significantly improve the reliability of the electric service since the current transformer was manufactured 1964,” the meeting packet said. “The new service will be connected to the Twombly substation.”

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