Reflecting on the City of Rochelle’s 2021

Jeff Fiegenschuh
Posted 11/2/21

It’s hard to believe that 2021 is almost over. This year has flown by for our team at the City of Rochelle.

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Reflecting on the City of Rochelle’s 2021


It’s hard to believe that 2021 is almost over. This year has flown by for our team at the City of Rochelle.

I am proud of all the hard work we’ve accomplished on behalf of our residents and utility customers. During the year, our team participated in many success stories. We finalized the passage of our zoning codes, we began implementation of a new city/utility-wide enterprise resource planning and asset management package, we worked hard to keep Prairie State Generating campus open until our debt is retired, the city council extended numerous programs that assist our small businesses, we transformed the advanced communications department into a more efficient and economically-viable utility and we are completing large projects including installation and updates to our storm sewer system, a new well house and a new substation south of Interstate 88.

Beginning this November, the city council will begin work on a new strategic plan.  The current plan was adopted in February 2018 and has been widely successful. The council determined five key strategic plan goals to guide their policy decisions. 

Those include economic and business development, financial & management stability, community inclusiveness & engagement and infrastructure effectiveness & improvement.   These five principles have guided all city decisions to great success. I am confident the new plan will be as successful as our current plan.

As many in the community know, the city assumed the Hickory Grove facility in March 2020.  There was much discussion about working to raze the facility in 2020, however the city wanted to look for alternate funding to help offset the costs.

In late 2020, our team applied for a Rebuild Illinois grant in the amount of $350,000. Earlier this year, the city received notice we were indeed going to be a recipient of the grant. Unfortunately, until final approval from the State of Illinois and the grant announcement, no work could be done, or it would not qualify for grant funding. 

This summer that approval and announcement were finalized, allowing the city to proceed. Other issues that have caused a delay include negotiations with the Comfort Inn ownership on an access easement, transfers of property and shared utilities. I am happy to say these issues are now addressed and advertisements for the demolition appeared in the local paper on Oct. 31.

I am hopeful a viable demolition bid will be presented to the city council at our Nov. 29 meeting, with demolition to follow this winter.

Our team is now finalizing the budget presentation to the council. The proposed general fund revenues for fiscal year 2022 are estimated to be $12,117,647. Expenditures for the new fiscal year total approximately $13,072,825 with general fund capital outlays of approximately $394,792.

The projected deficit includes capital projects, along with $615,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds that were received in fiscal year 2021 but will be expended in fiscal year 2022. Projects funded by the remaining 2018 alternate revenue bonds, non-home rule sales tax, utility tax and motor fuel tax are included in the capital improvement fund.

The utilities (electric, water, water reclamation, advanced communications & technology park, golf course, railroad, landfill and airport) proposed budgeted expenses are $57,930,292 of which $14,235,098 is for capital outlays. All other funds, including special, capital improvement, downstate police and fire pensions and internal service total $18,782,067. 

Finally, I want to send a huge shout out to all our city employees for their generosity. This year our employees pledged over $21,000 to the Rochelle Area Community Foundation through our payroll program.  These are dollars that stay in our community and support numerous organizations and causes.

I hope you and yours have a very blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

“Success is not final; failure is not final: It is the courage to continue that counts” -Sir Winston Churchill.

Jeffrey A. Fiegenschuh, MPA, ICMA-CM, is the Rochelle city manager.