Town of NormalNORMAL – Before the regular meeting of the Normal Town Council began Monday in Council Chambers on the fourth floor of Uptown Station, the Town’s police department received an honor for attempting to curb distracting driving. NPD was one of 10 departments statewide to receive the honor, and the second one in central Illinois. The Traffic Safety Commission of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police made the presentation to Chief Rick Bleichner and officers who were part of the project. Normal was one of 10 departments awarded the inaugural honor. It was only one of two in central Illinois to receive it, with Pekin Police being the other.

Gov. Bruce Rauner declared April 24-28 “Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week,” according to Scott Kristiansen, law enforcement liaison for Illinois Department of Transportation. Kristiansen said over 300 police agencies spent that week working to inform and educate motorists on the hazards and dangers associated with distracted driving.

NPD members were recognized “for their important efforts during this important campaign. Kristiansen said writing tickets wasn’t the chief goal, but rather using education, public outreach, community involvement, as well as enforcement. He said the public education component of the program on the part of all 300 communities’ police departments that took part carried the most weight with judges.

Bleichner said NPD took a “kind of a balance of a holistic approach between the education outreach to the community and enforcement.” Part of the outreach NPD did involved community groups, using resource officers at the local high schools, as well as assembling distracted driving details with Illinois State University campus police to help make the public aware.

Kristiansen said the problem of distracted driving is going up, with most offenders being members of the millennial generation, ages 18 to 23. As time has gone by now that these devices are so common, he said, it’s no longer just people in that age range who are guilty of distracted driving.

City Manager Peterson To Retire Next March: The Town announced Monday Normal City Manager Mark Peterson will retire in March, concluding a 30-year career. He began his career in Normal as Assistant City Manager, under then City Manager David Anderson in 1988. In 1998, after Anderson retired, Peterson was promoted to the City Manager’s office.

Prior to working in Normal, Peterson held posts in Missouri and Iowa. Normal Town Council members will hold an initial discussion concerning finding Peterson’s successor in a special executive session on Aug. 11.

Council Approves Sewer Rates And Sanitary Master Plan: Council members unanimously approved a plan which will double residents’ sewer usage rates over the next five years. Council members approved the plan by a 5-0 count, as Mayor Chris Koos and Council Member Scott Preston were not present for the session, which lasted nearly two hours.

Currently, residents pay $10.12 for sewer service which with the hike over the five-year period, will increase it to $15.12. Aldrich stressed “the Town will not be increasing water rates.” The sewer cost increases would begin in October and repeat every April, bringing in $1 million this fiscal year and $1.2 million each of the next four years, with the cash going to handle sewer maintenance and to bolster a financial reserve for future maintenance.

The Town’s sewer fee is part baseline fee and part user charge per every 1,000 gallons of water used. The proposed maintenance fee increase would be by 50 cents and the user charge by 75 cents for every 1,000 gallons used.

Council members received a recap of work that has been done to the system in recent years in a presentation by Scott Desplinter, engineer with consultant Crawford, Murphy, and Tilly, and Aldrich.

Aldrich told Council members three pump stations used by the Town are approaching the 20 years of service mark and need replacement. He added the Town has cleaned 19.9 miles of its sewer system and is proposing cleaning another 62.5 miles of the system, while an additional 97 miles would be cleaned by a company the Town contracts to do the job.

But the planned rate increase does have critics. Former Mayoral candidate Marc Tiritilli and former Town Council candidate Ron Ulmer each addressed Council members objecting to the uptick in rates.

“Is there an intermediate point for this?” Tiritilli asked Council members. Following the meeting, he said he “agrees in principle” to the Town’s plan, but added it seemed odd to pay what it will cost in over a five-year span.

Addressing the Council, Ulmer said he had concerns about the cost of sewer service going from $20 to $45 over the next five years.

McCurdy Reappointed To Connect Transit Board: It was announced Mike McCurdy has been reappointed to the Bloomington-Normal Public Transit Board, which oversees the Town’s public bus transportation system, Connect Transit. The reappointment would give McCurdy another four-year term, expiring June 30, 2021. McCurdy was originally appointed to the Board in 2012, filling the seat vacated by Peterson when the City Manager became an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Board through passage of a Town ordinance when the Board was reorganized.

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

• Approval of minutes of the public hearing held July 17, 2017.

• Approval of the minutes of the regular meeting held July 17, 2017.

• Approval of Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of Aug. 2, 2017

• A motion authorizing execution of a memorandum of understanding between the Town of Normal and Community Unit School District No. 5 regarding the creation of a joint Town of Normal/Unit Five Liaison Committee.

• A resolution authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement with Illinois State University pertaining to fire protection service.

• A resolution authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement with Illinois State University for information sharing.

• A resolution to appropriate $118,000 of the Town’s allotment of Motor Fuel Tax funds for communication and traffic signal upgrades on College Avenue and Mulberry St. from Oak St. to Main St.

• A resolution authorizing the execution of a lease agreement with Union Pacific Railroad Co. for the passenger rail platforms at Uptown Station and an associated budget adjustment.

• A resolution conditionally and partially approving the final plat of the Summit House Subdivision by expedited process (602 Dry Grove St.).

• An ordinance amending a cell tower lease at 1301 Warriner St. to extend the lease term.

• An ordinance to renew and amend the cable television franchise agreement with Comcast.

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