By Steve Robinson | December 3, 2018 - 10:46 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Town Council, The Normalite

NORMAL – Normal Town Council members voted unanimously to approve a resolution authorizing the Town’s Community Development Block Grant Citizen Participation Plan be filed with the Federal government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD.

Council members voted to give approval to the CDBG Citizen Participation Plan in December 2012, and the plan has received updates over time since then, according to a report submitted to Council members by Town Associate Planner Taylor Long.

The Citizen Participation Plan has outlined within it, according to Long’s report: A cooperative, intergovernmental approach to addressing housing issues in the area; and instructions to guide the public’s submitting of comments and standards for the Town’s and City of Bloomington’s responses to those public submissions.

A 15-day public comment period was in effect for citizens to sign up to speak at a hearing held prior to the vote. That hearing took place prior to the regular Town Council session Monday night in Council Chambers on the fourth floor of Uptown Station. Taylor Long, Associate Town Planner, told Council members what the Town hears at these public hearings will help in determining how the money will be spent.

At Monday’s session, Council members got a sampling of what might come when the public is given the chance to address the plan. John Wolter told Council members a recreational area would be appreciated for consideration for that end of Town.

Former Normal Town Council Candidate Ron Ulmer suggested the Town look to help convert struggling hotel properties into affordable housing. He said the abandoned student housing complex on Shelbourne Dr. would be an example of property the Town could try to make into affordable housing. He points out that housing complex has sat vacant for three years.

Ulmer also said he would like to see area school libraries stay open to help kids keep their skills up to date for when they go back to class in the fall.

City Manager Pam Reece told Council members the Town wants interested citizens to become involved in the process of helping determine ways the CDBG funding could be spent. “We want the public’s help when it comes time to determine our priorities and needs on where it’s most appropriate to spend those CDBG dollars.”

Property Tax Levy For 2018 Approved: By unanimous vote without discussion, Council members approved an ordinance authorizing the 2018 property tax levy. The 2018 levy totals $12,958,494 for the second straight year. That amount is unchanged from last year. It’s an increase of $783,694 from the 2016 levy, an increase of 6.44 percent. A public hearing was required to be held prior to the vote because the increase in the property tax was over five percent.

General fund operations and Normal Public Library operations funding were the only two of the levy’s six components that have no dollar increases mentioned. They are the only funds that have local control, as well.

The other four components do have increases and break down this way: The police pension contribution was increased by 7.92 percent, or $181,991, to $2,478,591, and Fire pension contribution was increased by 7.45 percent, or $155,190, to $2,239,390. However, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund contribution was decreased by 18.59 percent, to $1,401,811, a change of $320,119 less than last year. The Town’s annual Medicare/Social Security contribution also registered a decrease versus last year’s figures, as well. That Town contribution for 2018 was $1,334,902, a decrease of $17,062, or 1.26 percent. The Town, by State law, must maintain contributions to these four funds.

Normal Town Council controls only roughly 17 percent of a resident’s tax bill with 11.9 percent of that figure going to the Town and 5.1 percent going to Normal Public Library.

Tax Abatement Ordinances Approved: Council members unanimously approved 11 ordinances required to abate $6,148,053 in property taxes from Special Service Area Bonds issued in 2004; 2009 bonds issued in July 1009 to refund a 2003 bond; 2009(A) bonds issued in July 2009 (Build America Bonds); 2010(A) bonds issued 2010 (Recovery Zone Bonds): 2012 bonds issued September 2012 to refund 2004 bonds; 2013 bonds issued November 2013 to refund 2005 bonds; 2014 bonds issued November 2014; 2016(A) bonds issued March 2016 to refund 2006 bonds; 2016(B) bonds issued March 2016; 2017(A) bonds issued March 2017 to refund 2007 bonds; 2017(B) bonds issued March 2017 to refund 2007 bonds; and 2018 bonds issued March 2018 to refund 2008 bonds.

State law requires McLean County to levy property taxes for payment of those bonds. Municipalities are allowed to abate bonds provided there is enough funding on hand to pay principal and interest amounts. Rather than tax citizens to raise the funds for this purpose, the Town budgets money from other sources such as its general, sewer, and water funds to handle meeting that obligation.

Omnibus Items Approved: Council members also used an omnibus vote to approve the following agenda items:

• Approval of minutes of the regular meeting of Nov. 19, 2018.

• Approval of Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of Nov. 28, 2018.

• A resolution extending a license agreement with Peoria Charter Coach Co. for access to Uptown Station as a transportation provider.

• A resolution authorizing the execution of an intergovernmental agreement for the police shooting range facility with the City of Bloomington.

• An ordinance modifying Division 1 of Chapter 5 of the Town of Normal Municipal Code (Police Dept.) to authorize fingerprint services.

• A resolution waiving the formal bidding procurement process and authorizing a three-year service agreement with Evoqua Water Technologies LLC and installation of odor control and corrosion protection measures at the Northbridge Pump Station and authorizing an associated budget adjustment.

• A motion to approve the year 2019 meeting calendar.

• A motion to authorize an amendment to the fiscal year 2018-19 Illinois Employer Social Security and Medicare budget for the general fund.

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