BY JENNIFER BAILEY
A new yard waste site received initial approval from city officials Tuesday night.
The city council’s Public Works Committee approved purchasing farmland for $75,000 from Daniel Schlorff on the east end of Liberty Lane for the city’s new landscape waste recycling facility.
Funding comes from the city’s solid waste fund reserve.
Council members already had approved an extended option to purchase the land through the end of November. The option price was $1,000. The full city council will act on the land purchase next week.
Public Works Director Doug Ahrens said city officials still are waiting on an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency permit approval on the site.
The land purchase is pending the IEPA approval. City officials hope to hear this week or next week on the permit.
Ward 7 Alderman Bill Black said he is satisfied that city officials looked at all possible sites. He added that state law requires solid waste and yard waste be separated.
Also, the city’s lease ends next year for its yard waste site at the Brickyard Landfill.
“We’re stuck. I wish we didn’t have to do this,” Black said, adding that he thinks this is the best site available at this time and at this price.
In other business, the committee briefly discussed the city’s tax levy and leaving the levy amount the same as Ward 4 Alderwoman Sharon McMahon asked. In doing so, the city’s tax rate would increase from $1.97 per $100 of equalized assessed valuation to $2.10 per $100 of equalized assessed valuation.
This would mean about a $17.50 increase in the city portion of a homeowner’s property tax bill on a $60,000 home.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said his philosophy is to keep the city’s property tax rate under $2. To keep the city’s 2012 tax rate the same for another year at $1.97, around $500,000 in city budget cuts will be needed.
Ward 6 Alderman Jon Cooper said, “I don’t think we need to go to the homeowner for any more money at all. It’s just a bad time …”
Cooper also expressed frustration at other taxing bodies possibly seeing increases in their tax rates to keep their tax levy amounts the same, such as the school district and county.
“I don’t know why the others don’t bite the bullet, too,” Cooper said.
Also Tuesday, the committee recommended: