The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 12, 2013

Council to act on referendum


DANVILLE — Aldermen will make the final decision Tuesday night whether to place a referendum question on the April municipal ballot regarding an electrical aggregation program in the city.

The city council’s Public Works Committee last week recommended approving the question of “Shall the City of Danville have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?” be on the April 9 ballot.

An aggregation program gives the city the authority to enter into a contract for electricity on behalf of residents and small businesses who have not opted out of the program. Those in the program pay a lower rate for electricity, lowering their electric bills.

One resident, Cyril Ostiguy, already is participating in the reduced-cost program. He believes he’ll save a couple hundred dollars a year.

A November referendum for the county was determined to make the program available only to unincorporated areas, not the city. It passed by a 2-to-1 margin in the city.

The city would have the same “opt-out” program as the county’s.

The city can enter into an agreement with a consultant or negotiate with an energy supplier.

Officials with Integrys Energy Services, which is the county’s supplier, said they would offer the same cost per kilowatt hour to city residents as it does to county residents under the program.

The program, if approved in April, would be in effect within 60 days after the election.

Several aldermen also said they didn’t want the city to recapture additional funding through a tax/fee on the energy rate like the county did for funding for the courthouse.

Also Tuesday, council members will consider approving:

--The final plat of the Meijer Danville Subdivision Plat for 3623-3651 N. Vermilion St.

--A rezoning petition requested by Kevin Gombert that the zoning of the property at 12 Corrine St. be changed from R2 single family residential zoning to B3 general business zoning in order to provide additional parking for the existing business of Kevin’s Auto Sales, 540 E. Main St.

--A cash flow loan and budget amendment to capital improvements for Danville Mass Transit due to late state/federal funding.

--Purchasing a wheeled front-end loader for $121,518 from Martin Equipment of Tolono. The motor locked up on the city’s 31-year-old loader. The city did have four loaders in its inventory at one time. Now the city would have three.

The equipment is used for snow, yard waste and other activities with streets and sewers, according to Public Works Director Doug Ahrens.

Ward 7 Alderman Bill Black asked if the city “absolutely has to have this?” Ahrens replied it is needed.

--Purchasing 16 parcels of property along Bowman Avenue to improve Bowman between Crestview, across from Heavenly Square, and Winter avenues. City officials will be negotiating the purchases.

Ahrens said the total cost should be less than $45,000.

“We’re still trying to identify funding,” Ahrens said of the approximately $2.5 million roadway reconstruction project.

If funding is found soon, construction could start in 2014.

What’s next

Danville City Council members will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St.