HOOPESTON — City council members increased garbage and water fees at Tuesday's meeting.
Inside the city limits, the the fees increased to $15 per household. If the household has more than one unit, it will increase by the number of units in that dwelling. Outside the city limits, fees were raised to $20 per dwelling and also multiplied by the number of units in the dwelling.
Council members unanimously approved to have a public question on the November ballot asking voters to approve or disaprove a 1 percent sales tax on retailers and service occupations. The money generated would add an additional $20,000 a month toward tearing down and litigation with owners of abandon properties and repairs to public infrastructure.
The 1 percent increase in sales tax, according to Alderman Randy Carter, would amount to a $1 increase on every $100 spent.
Several downtown business owners spoke about problems plaguing the 100 and 200 blocks of East Main Street.
"Something must be done," said Dustin Tarter, co-owner of City Chef. He added business had been lost due to the events in March when a man was shot to death in the motel across the street as well as other problems around the motel.
Mayor Bill Crusinberry responded, "We are not unique with these problems. Every town has these problems. It prevelant everywhere."
Gary Wilson, co-owner of City Chef stated, "We need to stop the talking and get something done (about the problems.)"
Crusinberry assured the owners options are being discussed but there was not an immediate fix to the problems.
In other council business, unanimous approval was generated for the Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Agreement and the existence and formation of the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System by intergovernmental cooperation among police departments.
Four University of Illinois students were on hand to tape the council session as part of the Journalism Rural Reporting class. Six students and their professor are in town for the week interviewing residents about life in rural towns.
Crusinberry reminded everyone that Memorial Day services would begin at 10 a.m. Monday at Floral HIll Chapel. It would be moved to the Civic Center if it rained.
The next city council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. June 3 in City Hall, 301 W. Main St.