ROCHELLE — A program aimed at helping local businesses affected by COVID-19 as well as local RMU customers was extended by Rochelle City Council members Tuesday night.
Council members voted 6-0 to extend the Shop Local RMU Credit Program.
“The proposed extension for the Shop Local RMU Credit Program is designed to be an economic tool by the City of Rochelle to encourage residents to patronize local businesses who were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic,” community development director for the City of Rochelle Michelle Pease explained. “Participating in the program provides a $60 reimbursement in the form of a credit on a future RMU bill for qualifying purchases at retail/service shop and restaurant establishments located within the RMU Service Territory.”
The program extension will allow for qualifying purchases made at qualifying businesses, Aug. 15 through Dec. 31, 2021. A minimum of $300 must be spent at a qualifying retail/service shop and/or local restaurants deemed non-essential by gubernatorial executive order and a form available on the city’s website must be filled out and submitted along with qualifying receipts in order to receive the RMU credit.
To-date approximately 30 reimbursement forms have been received.
“Don’t let the word form scare you because it’s a very simple, I did it myself,” Mayor John Bearrows said. “I bought some stuff and sent it through. It’s a great program… between that and some of the Cash Mobs that we’ve done, it’s a lot of fun. You buy the things that you normally would do anyway and you get a chance to get something back. That’s another thing that’s important about us having our own utility.”
An easement agreement to install a deck and stairway at a local business was also approved Tuesday night.
Teresa Petry of Acres Bistro submitted the request to amend the previous agreement in order to increase the outdoor seating area by 15.5 square feet. The request would allow for accommodation of American with Disabilities Act requirements as well as COVID distancing requirements.
The deck and stairway will be constructed to the south side of the building located at 407 Lincoln Highway into the Page Park area. Page Park is city owned property.
The deck and stairway will allow access to the bistro that will be opening in 2020. According to site plans, the deck will not impede the pedestrian traffic through Page Park.
Council members voted 5-1 to approve the agreement.