By Steve Robinson | November 4, 2019 - 10:55 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Town Council, The Normalite

NORMAL – How much Normal residents paid in property taxes in 2018 should be familiar to taxpayers this year when the bill comes due again soon, thanks to how Normal Town Council members voted during their regularly-scheduled meeting Monday. Council members unanimously approved not increasing property tax paid for one year by citizens.

City Manager Pam Reece explained to Council members what was prompting the notion of increasing property taxes was an increase in interest rates for Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. The Town had voted a few years back to try to fund its share of that fund at 100 percent by the year 2040 while many other communities in the State were given the option by the fund to try to provide 90 percent funding.

As proposed, the 2019 tax levy would increase 4.95 percent above last year’s levy, making this year’s levy $13,600,295, an increase of $641,801.

During a discussion of how to proceed, Council members agreed to the one-year break from increased payments to fully fund the town’s police and fire pensions by 2040.

The decision was welcome enough for one of seven speakers who addressed Council members before their discussion on the matter to quietly applaud after Council members voted for the tax increase hiatus. That speaker, Craig Stimpert, addressed Council members before the discussion, saying, “Here we are again because the Council to raise taxes to meet the Police and Fire retirees pension option.” He added voting for tax increases, as Council members did in 2018 at this time “wasn’t making Normal, Illinois an affordable place to live” and suggested the Town find a new funding formula for the pensions.

Community Development Block Grant Survey Reviewed: Council members also heard a report concerning Community Development Block Grant fund planning from Taylor Long, associate planner for the Town. He explained a total of 430 Normal residents completed a CDBG survey concerning community needs. Respondents to the survey cited a number of items they wanted addressed using grant funds. Among those were: accessibility improvements and sidewalk improvements; water and sewer improvements; demolition of blighted structures; bus facility improvements; and facilities for the homeless.

Council members will hear a draft consolidation plan and 2021 action plan at their Dec. 2 meeting followed by a public comment session Dec. 17 on the draft of the action plan. That will take place at Normal Public Library starting at 5:30p.m. Town Council members will vote on final proposals for both plans at their second meeting in January. The plans would then go to Housing and Urban Development for final approval.

Discovery Museum Board, Planning Commission Appointees Announced: Two residents will join the Children’s Discovery Museum Board, as announced by Mayor Pro Tem Kevin McCarthy during the session. Samuel Gray has been appointed to the Board, as has Tejas Jani. Gray is an attorney in State Farm’s Legal Department. He and his family came to Bloomington-Normal from Boston in 2017. Gray is filling a vacancy on the Board and his term expires June 30, 2020.

Jani is also a State Farm employee who has been part of the community for six years involving himself with a number of non-profit groups and now will become a member of Normal Planning Commission. The term Jani will serve expires on the Commission expires March 31, 2021.

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

• Approval of the minutes of the regular meeting held Oct. 21, 2019.

• Report to receive and file Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of Oct. 30, 2019.

• A resolution reapproving the final plat of Lot 1 of resubdivision of Lot 2 in the first addition to North-Land Commercial Subdivision and Lot 7 in the fifth addition to North-Land Commercial Subdivision (Menards, 900 Greenbriar Dr.).

• A resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a service agreement with Blackbaud/Altru for January 2020 through December 2022 in the total amount of $35,640.

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