Second radium removal plant planned

Matt Hansen, engineer, Willett Hofmann and Associates, Inc.

ROCHELLE — The city of Rochelle is moving forward with a second radium removal plant. This facility would be located at Well 12 near Steward and Hayes Roads, which is the city’s newest well in operation.

As required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the city held a public hearing to explain the project’s details and timeline. Matt Hansen, engineer for Willett Hofmann and Associates said the $3.156 million project would be financed through the IEPA with a 20-year loan and a current interest rate of 1.8 percent. The city may qualify for reduced interest and principal forgiveness.

“This project scope is similar to Well 11 and will include a 2,350-square foot building and site work. We will be bringing sewer to the well site,” Hansen said. “The environmental impacts are minimal … no endangered species or wetlands and we must comply with obtaining a permit for crossing the waterway.”

Hansen said a tentative schedule is to advertise for bid on Jan. 26, 2019 with a minimum 45-day bid period; bid opening would be March 13 and awarded at the city council meeting on March 25. Construction could begin as early as June 1 with the facility in operation in March of 2020.

City manager Jeff Fiegenschuh explained in order to proceed with the radium removal plant the city must hold a public hearing and follow up with a 10-day comment period. Comments can be submitted to Adam Lanning, Supt. Water/Water Reclamation, P.O. Box 456, Rochelle.


Other business

City council approved an ordinance adopting the 2018 property tax levy at an increase of two percent. The proposed levy calculations would result in the city collecting $2,603,997 in property taxes. This includes funding the police and fire pensions funds as recommended by the city’s actuarial studies. A home with an estimated market value of $100,000 would see an increase of about $6 for the year; a home with a market value of $150,000 would increase $16. The city’s portion is 10 percent of a property tax bill.

Council approved a three-year proposal for the auditing firm, Sikich, LLP. The firm has provided professional audit services to the city, Rochelle Municipal Utilities, Lighthouse Pointe TIF, and the Police and Fire pension funds since 2010. The last contract with the auditing firm was approved in 2015 for three years.

The city is hoping a moratorium on permit fees for new residential building permits will help promote growth. The savings would average $1,150 per dwelling. This includes around $400 for the building permit depending on square footage, $700 for the sewer connection fee and $50 for the electric connection fee.

City council approved an ordinance amending the trimming of trees or shrubs on private property in an effort to address blight in affected areas as well as address hazards and public safety issues. The amendment includes the city’s authority to issue a citation should a dead tree, shrub or plant exist on an owner’s property.

“This gives staff the opportunity to at least address the problem … it’s not enforcement, it’s education,” Fiegenschuh said. “It does give Michelle and her team the ability to address these problems. There are some areas, whether it is protruding into the right away, into the alley or just a diseased or dead tree the property owner refuses to take care of. This gives us at least the ability to regulate in those areas where we are getting no compliance at all.”

Mayor Chet Olson appointed Dennis Stewart to the Golf Course Advisory Board along with Gary Chiavini and Lyndon Leisher as members at Large to the Planning and Zoning Commission. All three appointees have terms from Nov. 26, 2018 to July 1, 2021.

Councilmen Dan McDermott and Don Burke were absent from the meeting.


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