NORMAL – During a special session held remotely Monday, Normal Town Council members voted unanimously to spend $1.27 million in motor fuel tax dollars to provide improvements to a stretch of road near Rivian Automotive’s plant located on the Town’s west end. The continuing Coronavirus crisis was the reason for the session being done remotely. Prior to the Council session, a public hearing was held during which no members of the public addressed the matter. The boundaries for the work to be done are on College Ave. stretching as far west as Rivian Motorway, and stretching as far east as White Oak Road.

The road, which is nearly 35 years old, is experiencing cracks and has been part of a scheduled Capital Investment Project by the Town, Otto said. He added preliminary layout and other beginning assignments for improving the road will be part of a phase one engineering project for which the Town will spend $600,000.

West College Avenue from Rivian Motorway to White Oak Road is an arterial street which provides access to commercial, industrial, and residential properties. Rivian Automotive’s Town of Normal manufacturing facility is accessed by that road. The road is also experiencing rapid concrete joint decay at the curb, gutter, and pavement panel areas. The goal of the proposed project is to rehabilitate and improve the corridor while accounting for impacts to businesses and property access.

Planning for work on the road would begin with a planning phase which could start in early fall. Construction could begin by the start of summer 2022.

In a report prepared for Council members by Town Engineer Ryan Otto explained the project will cost around $9.35 million to completely, and in addition to the Town’s share of the expense, the project would be paid using $3,080,000 in Federal Surface Transportation Funds, and another $5 million in grant Funding requested by the Town from the State through its Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. This project was part of the Town’s current Capital Investment Plan.

The Town is proposing applying for project funding through the State’s Rebuild Illinois Public Infrastructure grant program. That program is overseen by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The State has allocated $25 million to the competitive Public Infrastructure component of the Restore Illinois program. There is a grant ceiling of $5 million per project has been established.

Town Staff worked with Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the McLean County Regional Planning Commission (MCRPC) to secure federal surface transportation funding for the preliminary and design engineering for the project, Otto’s report to Council noted.

Work is slated to start this fall with a planning phase followed by environmental and designed engineering phases, all of which should be completed by summer of 2022. Construction on the road will begin after that.

Roadway improvements and rehabilitation, intersection evaluation and design, multi-use trail extensions, and drainage improvements are all included in the project to improve the street.

At the start of the meeting, Normal resident Patrick Dullard addressed Council members, speaking in support of the resolution favoring spending the funds. “Normal takes pride in taking care of their streets,” Dullard said.

Also speaking in support for the project was Patrick Hoban, chief executive officer of Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council. Hoban told Council members the community’s does such work as a means of investing in infrastructure which in turn encourages companies to invest in themselves which causes more jobs to be created. In turn, patrons visit the companies which brings in more tax dollars which can continue to be used to improve the infrastructure.

By Steve Robinson | June 15, 2020 - 10:15 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Town Council, The Normalite

NORMAL – As a result of a unanimous vote by Normal Town Council members during their regularly-scheduled meeting Monday, Town residents who were most likely preparing for an increase in their water bills starting July 1 now won’t see that increase go into effect until Oct. 1. With a unanimous 7-0 vote, Council members, meeting remotely as a result of the current Coronavirus situation, approved delaying a proposed 2 percent increase in water rates. A proposed increase in sewer and garbage fees slated for that same date will still go into effect.

The Town had originally planned to increase the fees in April but postponed that until July as a result of any financial difficulties it would cause residents as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and postponing the increase from April to July has an impact on monies the Town would see coming in, City Manager Pam Reece explained to Council members during a session done remotely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delaying the taking in of fees between April and July caused the Town to lose taking in water revenues totaling $258,000, Reece explained. She said the Town’s water, sewer, and general funds were all impacted by that delay as a result.

Town Staff reported an estimated shortage in dollars coming in to the sewer fund of $76,000 and another shortage to the Town general fund of $134,000 as a result of postponing increasing proposed rate increases.

She added that since fiscal year 2015-16, the Town has invested over $18 million in its water fund for such expenditures as water main replacement, improvements to the Town’s water treatment plant, and acquiring new fire hydrants. “What we generate in revenue, we reinvest into the system,” she said.

Council Member Stan Nord told Reece he could not see the need to increase the fees on citizens who may be out of work due to the nation’s current financial situation brought on by businesses closing or cutting back on hours or staff as a result of the pandemic. Of the proposed increase, Nord told Reece, “I just think this is the wrong time and I do not see the need for it.”

Nord’s Comments Related To One Group’s Plans For One Normal Plaza Turn Into Heated Council Discussion: Nord informed Council members he had been contacted by a citizens group wishing to contribute opinions concerning the One Normal Plaza development. The Council is mulling a zoning change for that area brought about by a citizen’s request to establish a craft brewery.

Nord said Town officials and Council members discouraged interacting with the citizens’ group. He said he advised members of the group to reach out to Council members and Town staff before the item is placed on an agenda for a future Council session. He accused the Town and Council of giving the citizens’ group “unequal treatment,” adding the members of the group “should not be expected to know the inner workings of government, or who the right person is to be giving information.”

Nord’s comments touched off a reply from Council Member Chemberly Cummings, who resides in the area discussed. When asked, Cummings said, she will make time, including during working hours to meet with constituents, telling Nord he wasn’t the only member who meets with constituents. She told Nord she was “highly offended” by his comments.

Council Member Kathleen Lorenz said Nord’s comments “do nothing but cause division, with subjectivity and opinion, and very slim on fact.” She added she was not asked to attend the session, either. A former member of Normal Planning Commission, Lorenz added she respects the process NPC uses. She added Reece “does not create barriers in communication, and any accusations that would suggest that she would be a barrier in any way to Council members in communicating with citizens is categorically wrong. Categorically wrong.”

Technical Services Agreement With Planning Commission Approved: Council members unanimously approved execution of an agreement for technical services with the McLean County Planning Commission. The agreement between the two parties will run from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 at a cost to the Town of $54,000.

Among the services MCRPC will provide to the Town include: Assistance with periodic updates of plans and ordinances that pertain to planning and development; And maintenance of a website to post statistical data, plans and studies, and other planning-related information to serve as a resource for local governments and the public. Such information would include the creation of a new Comprehensive Plan for Normal, zoning ordinances, and subdivision regulations as needed.

Final Plat For Garling Heights Subdivision Gets Conditional Approval: Council members unanimously approved the final plat for a resubdivision in the Garling Heights subdivision. Heartland Bank owns the 3 lots at the southwest corner of Ft. Jesse and Susan Drive and sought approval from the Town to resubdivide all three lots in a manner that would leave the bank’s building improvements on one lot leaving a second lot undeveloped which could be sold for development.

As a result of Council’s approval, the resubdivision will create a new lot that which can be readied for commercial development.

Agreement With Ecology Action Center Approved: Council members unanimously approved entering into an agreement with the Ecology Action Center with other local governing bodies for collection of household hazardous waste. Town funding for participating in this endeavor will cost the Town $25,000, and barring there being any other Town expenses associated with HHW, this agreement will result in an annual budget savings of $6,400. The Town joins the City of Bloomington and McLean County in participating in the program.

Per an agreement between the parties back in 2014, the Town Council authorized an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Bloomington, McLean County and the Ecology Action Center to administer and implement the HHW Program. This program, which is coordinated by the EAC, provides a biennial HHW collection event. Three collection events for the residents of McLean County have been held under this program in 2015, 2017 and the most recently last September.

Also as part of the 2014 agreement, costs for the program were split by the City, Town and County based on population. That meant the City’s contribution totaled 45 percent, or $31,500, the Town’s share totaled 31 percent, or $21,700, and the County’s share totaled 24 percent, or $16,800.

Renewal Of Microsoft Office Approved: Council members unanimously approved waiving of bids and authorizing renewing the Town’s subscription of Microsoft Office 365 computer program going through the State Joint Purchasing Program from CDW-Government, or CDW-G. The Town budgeted for a three-year contract for the purchase, at a cost of $69,345, $70,732, and $72,146 for year 1, year 2, and year 3 respectively, using additional funds provided by a Normal Public Library account at a cost of $5,150 per year.

Town Receives Grant For Tree Inventory: Council members unanimously approved an ordinance amending Town Code concerning trees and shrubs. The Town recently received a $15,000 grant from, which is working to meet a deadline to take stock of the location, species, size, condition, primary maintenance requirements and other tree management data. The tree inventory of the Town’s urban forest is currently being conducted by Kent, Ohio-based Davey Resource Group and will be completed later this month.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources through the Urban and Community Forestry program of the US Forest Service to fund the tree inventory. Council member unanimously passed an ordinance required of the tree ordinance amendment in order to fulfill a reimbursement request.

Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:

• Approval of the Minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of June 1, 2020.

• Report to Receive and File Town of Normal Expenditures for Payment as of June 10, 2020.

NORMAL – The furor over the death of a Minneapolis, Minn. black man while in police custody on May 25 has engulfed the country in riots over the past couple of weeks. As it turned out, the Twin Cities has not been spared from this situation, with looters vandalizing and removing merchandise on Sunday from, among other businesses, Target at the Shoppes At College Hills Mall. On Monday, during public comments, both the head of the Town’s Human Relations Commission and Council Member Chemberly Cummings addressed an incident in which a black man in Minnesota died in police custody.

During public comments, Janessa Williams, Chair of Normal’s Human Relations Commission, said such events as have happened in Minneapolis are things “we cannot be naïve enough to believe cannot occur in our town.” She added the recent deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breanna Taylor in Louisville “are the latest reminder of America’s original sin against black people in America.”

Williams said the deaths were “the current impetus for people taking to the streets to protest such atrocious behaviors which continue to happen far too often. We cannot become numb to the murders of black people who have not been convicted of an offense other than being black in America by police officers who continue to perpetuate these murders.”

In comments before the close of the meeting, Cummings addressed the local rioting saying the rioting, “proves we are not immunized or inoculated from the infection of racism, nor residual and collateral damage that arises from it.”

Sale Of Town Property Approved: By a 6-1 count, Council members approved sale of property the Town has owned to a private citizen located at 1404 Fort Jesse Rd. Council Member Stan Nord voted in opposition to the sale, in part because the purchaser is the spouse of a Town employee. The buyer will pay the Town $25,000 for the property plus 2019 property tax on the property totaling $2,116.96.

The Town received the title to 1404 Ft. Jesse Road as part of a settlement with the developers of the Office Park. After receiving the property, the Town listed it with a commercial real-estate agent. The property was on the market for two years until 2017. By December that year, the Town entered into a redevelopment agreement with a developer who was going to build an auto body repair shop on the property. According to a report provided Council members by Town Corporation Counsel Brian Day, under that agreement, the Town sold the property to the developer for $30,000 in exchange for the construction of the project. That agreement provided that the developer would sell the Town the property back if he was unable to perform under the agreement. The developer had a business setback, and the property was returned to the Town.

“We don’t seem to get this piece of property sold and keep it sold,” Council Member Kevin McCarthy said. “It’s not generating us anything and it’s taking up taxpayer dollars. Either we sell it and we take what we take in on property tax or we let go of this issue until there is some specific plan going on in that area.” He added it didn’t make sense for Town Staff’s time to continue being spent on the matter.

“The decision tonight is someone has made an offer and do we keep it or accept that offer,” Mayor Chris Koos added.

Nord said the Town had “an obligation to try and get the most value we can for this taxpayer asset,” adding he was contacted by a Town resident who did not know the property was for sale because no sign was posted indicating it on the property. Further, he said he was concerned because the potential buyer of the property is married to a Town employee, which, he said, “brings a lot of questions to this sale.” He suggested he would like to see the property listed with a realtor to avoid potential speculation on the part of the general public. He said he was of the understanding no sign was on the property indicating the property was for sale.

Mayor Chris Koos was quick to object to one of Nord’s points on the subject, stating, “I will take exception with the fact that a spouse of a Town employee somehow should be denied the opportunity to bid on property.”

In voting to approve the sale to go through, Koos prefaced his vote by adding, “I’ll agree with Mr. Nord that the property is selling at a very low price and it would be nice to get a fair price for it, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.”

Council Approves Amending Town’s COVID-19 Emergency Declaration: Thanks to a unanimous vote by Council members, it will be possible to dine outdoors again in Normal. Council members unanimously approved amending the emergency declaration ordinance passed by Council members March 23 which granted Koos and City Manager Pam Reece power to make decisions that may be outside the typical scope of the Municipal Code.

In order to assist local businesses in adapting to Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan Phase 3 progression related to COVID-19, Town staff has been working closely with restaurants to establish guidelines for outdoor seating which would go into effect May 29. In order to accommodate outdoor food service, including alcohol sales so that restaurants can meet that start date, Town staff issued guidelines that require formal authorization by Council, allowing the Mayor, who also serves as Town Liquor Commissioner, and City Manager to make decisions to address business operations.

The ordinance passed in March allows the Town to quickly respond to changing circumstances associated with COVID-19. Reece told Council members once Phase 3 is complete, Phase 4 of the State’s reopening plan for restaurants, which will include indoor dining, is slated to begin at the end of this month.

Council Approves Agreement For Emergency Medical Service To Hudson: Council members unanimously approved a resolution for authorizing an intergovernmental agreement between the Town and Hudson Fire Protection District, which would allow Normal Fire Department to provide emergency medical services for the Hudson Fire Protection District. HFPD provides emergency medical service to the Village of Hudson and the surrounding area. In a memo to Normal Town Council members, Normal Fire Chief Mick Humer explained many rural service providers such as HFPD is impacted by increasing minimum wage rates and turnover associated with staff gaining employment in larger departments.

Under the proposed agreement, the HFPD will pay the Town $225,000 for services in the first year, with a 3 percent increase in both the contract’s second and third years. The Town will agree to provide EMS service 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

If an agreement between the parties is worked out, this would be the second smaller community NFD EMT units would respond to, as Towanda began receiving such service in 2014. HFPD responds to calls covering roughly 50 square miles, including the Village of Hudson, Humer told Council members. Their territory includes Lake Bloomington, Lake Evergreen, and surrounding areas, Humer explained.

In 2019, Humer said, there were between 140-150 calls for assistance made to HFPD, of which NFD lent assistance 47 times with “paramedic-level transport.” He said if the patient required IV’s or medication, NFD was able to assist, in addition to getting the patient to a hospital.

“We’re only talking about 100 more calls per year,” if this is agreed to, Humer told Council members at a work session last month. He added Hudson receives money courtesy of a tax levy for emergency medical services of roughly $300,000.

Council Approves Contract With Company Serving As Political Advocate: Council members unanimously approved a six-month contract with Turing Strategies, LLC, a company which, according to a memo written to Council members by Reece, will “seek out available funding opportunities for capital projects, engage with state agencies and stay abreast of legislative issues impacting the municipality.” The Town will spend a total of $24,000 on the contract for the period covered.

Council Approves Contract With Phoenix Investors: Council members unanimously approved executing a development agreement for the North Normal Warehouse Development area with Phoenix Investors for property located at the southeast corner of the intersection of N. Main Street and Kerrick Road. The 68.9 acre site contains an unfinished 500,000 sq. ft. warehouse and distribution building that started construction in November of 2007 and stopped in October 2008 prior to completion.

According to a report prepared for Council members by Assistant City Manager Eric Hanson, in an attempt to support completion of the project, improving the existing warehouse for use, the Town approved a Tax Increment Financing area in 2013 with an expiration of 2036. When adopted in 2013, it was expected the project would require an investment of approximately $10 million to complete the warehouse. Hanson indicated in his report that “Since no activity has occurred in the 2013-adopted TIF, the TIF will expire in December 2020 unless TIF-eligible investment occurs prior to that date.”

Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:

• Approval of the Minutes of the Public Hearing of May 18, 2020.

• Approval of the Minutes of the Public Hearing of May 18, 2020.

• Approval of the Minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of May 18, 2020.

• Report to Receive and File Town of Normal Expenditures for Payment as of May 27, 2020.

By Steve Robinson | May 19, 2020 - 10:22 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Town Council, The Normalite

NORMAL – Two public hearings were held prior to Monday’s regularly-scheduled Normal Town Council session Monday, done remotely as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The first hearing was related to a proposed amendment to Town’s Community Development Block Grant plan. The second hearing related to a proposed revision of CDBG’s Consolidation Plans for a period from 2020-2024.

After nearly a year’s worth of consulting with the members of the community, Town Council approved the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan as well as incorporated 2020-2021 Action Plan for filing with the Federal Housing and Urban Development in January. As part of the recently passed Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Town has been notified by HUD that it will be receiving a special, additional allocation of CDBG funds, referred to as CDBG-CV (Coronavirus), for Program Year 2020-21. These funds are to be solely used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 locally.

The Town’s CDBG-CV allocation is in the amount of $246,067. With the addition of these new CDBG-CV funds, the Town’s total CDBG allocation for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 will be $664,358. Federal regulations required the Town to publish the Consolidated Plan, any revisions to it, and conduct at least one public hearing on the plan’s contents.

Only one person spoke at the hearing, Normal resident Ron Ulmer. Ulmer explained he saw a crevasse between what was required of the Town to meet Federal regulations, such as holding a hearing to get citizen input and what Ulmer saw as what the Town wants to do with the funds.

“The Town of Normal is required by law to solicit public input,” Ulmer stated. “The Town does not want to hear from taxpayers, and either ignores input unless the taxpayers support what the Town have already decided what they want to do.” He also took issue with an article in The Pantagraph which said the Town was working with the City of Bloomington on the matter. The City of Bloomington received $329,000 in Federal funds for dealing with the virus. Ulmer wanted to know why Normal was dealing with Bloomington “before requesting citizen input?”

No citizens spoke at the second hearing.

Cost Of Burying Utilities In Uptown Unearths Discussion: With some exceptions, utilities in Uptown Normal are primarily underground. Council members voted 6-1 to approve an ordinance authorizing putting underground certain utilities along East Beaufort St. in Uptown, specifically in the alley located adjacent to the railroad tracks from Uptown Circle to Linden Ave. The ordinance also approves to award a bid to Bloomington-based Anderson Electric who submitted a base bid of $182,675. Anderson Electric was one of three contractors who submitted bids on the project. Council Member Stan Nord cast the lone opposing vote.

In August, Council approved a brewpub on the former site of a key shop at 127 E. Beaufort St. to be operated by brothers Ryan and Steven Fiala. In February, the project developer contacted the Town after discovering costs associated with electric power service were higher than anticipated, including needed installation of a new transformer and underground electric lines.

Town staff investigated the issue and learned that the building footprint was directly under the existing overhead power lines. Because of the conflict with the overhead power lines and the power requirements for the new building, the power provider, Ameren Illinois, requires overhead power lines be buried underground, and existing poles be removed. The existing overhead powerlines are owned by Ameren and stretch from Linden Street along the north side of the alley to behind the building which combines Emack and Bolio’s Ice Cream Shop and Firehouse Pizza.

In discussing whether to pass the ordinance, Council Member Kathleen Lorenz said the project to put the utility underground “is no different than any other projects that have already happened in Uptown. The money is available and eligible for the Tax Increment Financing fund, and some money will actually be reimbursed to the TIF Fund as a result of this project.

The overall project cost estimate of $249,300 in the TIF fund will be partially recouped by an estimated $91,000 growth in earned assessed valuation, which returns to the TIF fund, and $26,509 from the Fiala Brothers’ developer.

Nord said while he “didn’t necessary take issue with utilities going underground,” he took issue with the Town “doing more with money at a time when money is so tight. At some point, to give incentives to get businesses to come into Uptown becomes too expensive.”

Without the measure passing, City Manager Pam Reece said in response to Nord’s comment, it was likely the project would not be completed “because a transformer can’t just simply upgrade a transformer.”

Parking Restrictions For Subdivisions Near Normal West High Eased: Council members unanimously approved amending parking restrictions for two residential subdivisions near Normal Community West High School. Residents living in the Park West and Greystone Fields subdivisions near the school had contacted and were surveyed by the Town concerning easing parking restrictions in the area. In a report to Council members prepared by Assistant City Manager Eric Hanson, it was explained that while current restrictions concerning parking during the school year are appropriate and have worked since those subdivisions came into existence in 2001, neighbors would benefit from having more parking in front of their homes on weekends and during school break periods.

Enterprise Zone Boundary Modification Approved: Council Members unanimously approved an ordinance approving a modification to the Bloomington-Normal Enterprise Zone as requested by chocolate manufacturer Ferraro, located on Bloomington’s southwest end. The company sits on approximately 54.24 acres of property located at 2501 Beich Road in Bloomington and a .716 acres connecting strip. Amending the Enterprise Zone, to include Ferrero, will, according to the report provided to Council members by Hanson, will permit the company to receive sales tax exemption on the purchase of building materials for an expansion project. The proposed expansion, Hanson explained, is contiguous to the Enterprise Zone and is located within the City of Bloomington. Since Ferrero is not located within the corporate limits of Normal, the Town has no incentives to offer the company, but in supporting the expansion of the Enterprise Zone boundary to include that area is vital for the growth of Ferrero and complies with theEnterprise Zone Act and the intergovernmental agreement.

Street Resurfacing Project Awarded To Rowe Construction: Council members unanimously approved accepting a bid for and awarding a contract to Bloomington-based Rowe Construction in amount of $1,535,647.15 for work to be done on the Town’s 2020 Motor Fuel Tax street resurfacing project.

On April 6, 2020, Council authorized a contract with Rowe Construction for resurfacing of non-MFT projects. That contract included resurfacing all or portions of University St., Marquette Dr., Timothy Ct., Hanlin Ct., Victor Place, Karin Dr., Kingswood Dr., Walton Place, Hundman Dr., and College Park Ct.

Street segments to be resurfaced as part of this proposed MFT project remain the same as those presented to Council in January and March, when Council authorized the MFT resolutions associated with this project: Hovey Avenue – White Oak Rd. to Cottage Ave. (newer concrete pavement sections will be omitted); Parkside Road – Erin Dr. to College Ave., and Fort Jesse Rd. from Landmark Dr. to Greenbriar Dr.

Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:

• Approval of the minutes of the Special Meeting of May 4, 2020

• Approval of the minutes of the regular Council Meeting of May 4, 2020

• Report to receive and file Town of Normal Expenditures for payment as of May 13, 2020

NORMAL – Although we are all uncertain when we will be able to get out and enjoy beautiful weather and our favorite recreational activities as a result of the pandemic, Normal Town Council members, at their May 4 meeting, done remotely, voted unanimously to approve spending money on the publication of the annual Fall/Winter/Spring event catalog.

Council members voted unanimously for the Town to award a bid to Milwaukee-based American Litho in the amount of $31,975 for publication of the next Fall/Winter/Spring and Summer catalogs. The Town’s Parks and Recreation Department pays for publication of three activity catalogs annually — The Parks & Recreation Department publishes three activity guides which feature Town programs, events and facilities annually. One publication covers the fall program cycle (August-December), a second for winter and spring activities (December-May), and the third highlights summer programming (May-August).

Council Member Stan Nord asked what plans the Town had for if the catalogs come out but programs are delayed or cancelled as a result of the current pandemic. Doug Damery, director of the Town’s Parks And Recreation Department, told Council members his department should “have a better handle on what changes to anticipate” related to fall programs, and better prepare to make modifications.” He added how summer goes will be a barometer for the department to determine how programming from the department goes going forward.

Damery added the deadline for printing of the fall guide has been pushed back by two weeks to help his department to give his department a better glance at how fall programming can be mapped out. He said the deadline his department is looking at in that case is mid-July.

Damery explained his department is currently “dealing with modifications in changes in programming” since the current summer catalog came out in March, and has had supervisors in his department make direct contact with anyone who signed up and paid for summer activities. He added changes concerning events related to summer programs are updated as they are known.

Town Renews Participating In Insurance Co-Op: Council members voted unanimously to renew the Town’s membership in Municipal Insurance Cooperative Agency (MICA), with the annual renewal beginning May 1. MICA is a group of 22 Illinois public entities, primarily municipalities, created in 1984 to provide its members with insurance coverage on a partially self-funded basis. Normal joined MICA in 1985 and is currently its second largest entity behind the City of Des Plaines.

Council Approves Contract For Elevator Service: Council members unanimously approved a three-year contract for elevator maintenance with Peoria-based KONE, Inc. at an annual cost of $27,480. KONE, Inc. was one of three companies to bid on the contract and submitted the lowest bid for the contract. The other bidders were based in Peoria and St. Louis, but the proposal from the second Peoria-based company was found to be incomplete.

Council Approves Contract For Belt Ave. Bridge Resurfacing: Council members unanimously approved a contract for $46,529.42 for resurfacing work needing to be completed on the Belt Ave. Bridge. The contract was awarded to Bloomington-based Rowe Construction, Inc., the lone bidder for the project. Last July, Normal-based The Farnworth Group and Town of Normal Engineering Department employees completed an inspection required to meet National Bridge Inspection Standards for the bridge.

According to a report to Town Council members prepared by Town Engineer Ryan Otto, during the inspection, deterioration of the wearing surface was discovered, as were signs of water leaking through the wearing surface and coming through the joints between the bridge’s deck beams. As a result of those discoveries, repairs were deemed necessary. Work included under this contract includes removal and replacement the existing hot-mix asphalt wearing surface.

Installation Of Sanitary Sewer Lining Approved: Council members unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a contract to Peoria-based Hoerr Construction, Inc. for installation of roughly 8,400 lineal feet of pipe along with two large sewer point repairs. This project was approved in the Town’s Capital Investment Program (CIP). Hoerr Construction, Inc. was one of three companies to submit a bid for the project, submitting the lowest of the bids at $452,149.80. Among the street intersections where work will be done are: Bradford Lane and Alden Dr.; Warren St. and Bakewell Ave.; Norwood Ave. and Dial Ct.; Concord Dr. and Arlington Dr.; Russell St. and Riordan St.; Fairchild Ave. and Coolidge St.; Bryan Dr.; Eastview Dr. and College Ave.; Livingston Dr. and Morgan St.; Franklin Ave. and Fell Ave. (along Sugar Creek), Cherry St. and Linden St.; Towanda Ave. and Blair Dr. (along Sugar Creek); and Columbia Dr. and Courtland Ave.

Plat Conditionally Approved For Iden Subdivision: Council also gave unanimous approval to conditionally approving a plat for the Iden Subdivision by expedited process. This included vacating an easement and accepting an easement dedication for property located at 105-111 W. Locust. The Town sought approval of the Iden Subdivision feeling it was necessary for the redevelopment of three aging, multifamily properties.

EMT Service By NFD Coming To Hudson?: Could Normal Fire Department emergency medical technicians be coming to the aid of someone in Hudson needing to get to a Twin City hospital? That could happen under discussions between Normal Fire Department and Hudson Fire Protection District (HFPD). NFD Chief Mick Humer told Council members during a work session prior to the May 4 Council session NFD officials had discussions with Hudson Fire officials last summer which began mentioning the possibility of NFD entering into a contract with Hudson Fire Protection District to respond to emergency calls within the district.

If an agreement between the parties is worked out, this would be the second smaller community NFD EMT units would respond to, as Towanda began receiving such service in 2014. HFPD responds to calls covering roughly 50 square miles, including the Village of Hudson, Humer told Council members. Their territory includes Lake Bloomington, Lake Evergreen, and surrounding areas, Humer explained.

In 2019, Humer said, there were between 140-150 calls for assistance made to HFPD, of which NFD lent assistance 47 times assisting with “paramedic-level transport,” Humer explained. He said if the patient required IV’s or medication, NFD was able to assist, in addition to getting the patient to a hospital.

“We’re only talking about 100 more calls per year,” if this is agreed to, Humer said. He added Hudson receives money courtesy of a tax levy for emergency medical services of roughly $300,000. He said Hudson would need to use some of those dollars for training new EMTs, equipment, and manpower. He said depending on which part of Hudson or the county a call comes from, it could take anywhere between 12 to 18 minutes to respond. NFD Station #3, located on Raab Rd., would get to Hudson in 12 minutes, He added.

NFD and HFPD “are still in the process of negotiating the contract, and we’re very close,” Humer told Council members, with cost being the current sticking point between the two sides. He added patients would be billed for transportation to the hospital, adding HFPD billed patients for trips to hospitals for close to $65,000 total. Of that total, roughly $42,000 was recovered through private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.

For NFD, the additional service would not involve an increase in manpower, Humer said. He added ambulance calls for Normal residents will feel no difference in response times with other NFD stations in town able to respond should there be a call to Towanda.

Normal City Manager Pam Reece told Council members the Town would propose to HFPD an initial three-year agreement. She added NFD receives over 5,000 calls for EMT service annually. “If Hudson has 140 to 150 calls a year, the number of new calls for us to respond to would be about 100. That sounds like a lot of calls, but when you’re doing over 5,000, it’s basically not a significant impact to our calls for service.”

Humer added that when a contract is finalized, a clause which would see the fee Hudson pays for the service would go up three percent annually during the life of the contract. Reece said the Town “is proposing a relatively short term agreement which gives us chance to see how this works.”

Reece added the Town would make sure Hudson maintained its first responder program. Once an agreement between NFD and HFPD is worked out, it will be sent to Normal Council members for a vote.

In discussion which followed, Council Member Kevin McCarthy verified with Humer whether he was not anticipating any staff changes as a result of what was proposed to which Humer and Reece confirmed. Council Member Stan Nord added he would like a mechanism be put in place by NFD in case a retirement community were to be place in the Hudson area, so that additional calls from there could be handled.

Liquor Commission Approves New Owner For Marie’s Place: Prior to the Council session, Council members, in their capacity as Normal Local Liquor Commission unanimously approved licenses for three establishments, identified as Marie’s Place. Two of those locations, in Landmark Plaza, 1520 E. College Ave., and at Patriot Center, 115 Susan Dr., were applied for by MC ONE INVESTMENTS LLC, d/b/a Marie’s Place. Liquor Commissioners unanimously approved Class C Licenses (Beer and Wine Only) and a Video Gaming License for each establishment. Each establishment has six gaming terminals

A third license renewal was unanimously approved for 35 YEARS, LLC UNIVERSITY PARK, d/b/a Marie’s Place. That location’s owner applied for and was granted a Class C License (Beer and Wine Only) and a Video Gaming License for 6 terminals at 1702 W. College Avenue.

Marie’s Place owners had found itself on Town radar, partly for violating its license by not offering food at one of its locations. That resulted in owners and the Town going before an administrative officer in a hearing to resolve the matter in mid-March. The administrative officer recommended to the Town that the owners should be fined. At a NLCC meeting last month, a number of votes were taken concerning licensing of the business, in part, because the ownership to two of the businesses which was approved Monday. Liquor Licenses run from April 1-March 30.

NLCC members also unanimously approved minutes from their April 20 session.