By Steve Robinson | July 20, 2020 - 10:26 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Town Council, The Normalite

NORMAL – At their regularly-scheduled meeting Monday night, done remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Normal Town Council members received a financial snapshot as to how the Town is holding up through the event’s first quarter. The result appears to be Normal is holding its own and may even be doing better than most communities in the area.

Town Financial Director Andrew Huhn provided a recap of what expenses the Town has seen increase while others have been untouched as a result of the pandemic which saw businesses either limit hours or close entirely until given approval through a State-directed reopening plan.

Huhn stated Normal financially found itself, in general, either at or above expected numbers in terms of incoming revenue during the first quarter of the year. In addition, he added, the Town saw savings in the form of fewer expenses related to cultural arts and parks and recreation programs and activities which were postponed or cancelled as a result of the shutdown

He added a number of factors played a role in the Town being able to remain in good financial shape at the early stages of the crisis. Those factors ranged from the Town being able to hang onto savings from cuts in programs and salary to local electric car manufacturer Rivian Automotive’s opting to not accept a $1 million payment from the Town.

Mayor Chris Koos credited City Manager Pam Reece and Huhn for their efforts regarding the Town budget during the crisis, and in addition, asked residents to continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing as a means to keep the Town from having to experience any future shutdowns.

At a Council session in May, Reece and Huhn provided Council members a report concerning how they thought the pandemic could affect the Town’s general fund. Estimates made by Town officials predicted COVID would impact the Town to the tune of $10.4 million. But at Monday’s session, Huhn and Reece explained the Town has seen a drop in revenue of around $7.8 million in revenue to be expected in several tax categories.

Residents were able to see the session either online via Zoom streaming service, or broadcast live on YouTube.

Council Unanimously Approves Amending 2019-20 Operating & Capital Investment Budgets: Council members unanimously approved an ordinance amending both the Town Operating Budget and Investment Budget for fiscal year 2019-20. The Town sought Council approval to amendment to increase revenue for FY2019-20 in the amount of $6,993,298 and a budget amendment which would increase authorized expenditures in the amount of $5,536,177.

Normal’s Town-wide revenue budget saw a net increase in the 2019-20 fiscal year of $6,993,298 boosting that revenue to $137,099,109. Among the reasons for the boost included the Town transferring surplus from the general fund to the Roadway Fund and better than expected revenue results in the General Fund.

The State of Illinois contributed to the Town’s financial health, too, according to Huhn’s report. Also part of his report was that the Town also received an additional $258,000 in Motor Fuel Tax funds from the State’s 19-cent gas tax increase. In terms of other funds from the State, the Town reported there were no significant decreases in monies received.

The Town-wide expenditure budget also saw an increase of $5,536,177, to $134,475,579.

Council Unanimously Approves Expansion Plan Sought By Rivian Automotive: Without discussion, Council members unanimously approved an amended site plan for Rivian Automotive, located at 100 N. Rivian Motorway on Normal’s west side. Among the items counted as part of the electric vehicle manufacturer’s plan were plans to expand the current building with additions which would range in size from 39,000 sq. ft. to 262,000 sq. ft. for a total of 576,000 sq. ft. The company would add landscaping as required by Town code.

Normal Planning Commission held a public hearing for the Rivian project on July 9. No members of the public testified. The Planning Commission voted 6-0 in favor of the plan as submitted.

Council Unanimously Approves Preliminary Plan For Pheasant Run Subdivision: Council members unanimously approved a preliminary subdivision plan for a 102.6-acre subdivision located north and east of the intersection of Raab Road and Linden Street. The majority of the subdivision is zoned R-1B Medium Density Residence District, with a couple of areas zoned R-2 Mixed Residence, known as Pheasant Run subdivision.

The Preliminary Subdivision Plan for the Pheasant Ridge Subdivision was approved by the Town Council in September, 1994 and shows a future roadway connection to the currently undeveloped property northwest of Pheasant Ridge. A preliminary subdivision plan provided to the Town lays out the lots, streets and outlots.

In order for this neighborhood to expand, Normal Planning Commission members needed to reapprove the preliminary plan proposed for it. Normal Planning Commission members did just that during a public hearing for the reapproval on July 9. Two members of the Pheasant Ridge Homeowners’ Association spoke, after which NPC members unanimously approved the plan to send it on to Council members.

Pair Of Nussbaum Trucking Requests Approved: In a single unanimous vote, Council members approved a resolution reapproving the final plat of Nussbaum Transportation’s second subdivision and Nussbaum’s Third Subdivision, located at 19336 North 1425 East Road. In a report to Council members submitted by Town Planner Mercy Davison, it was explained that approving the final plats was conditional, in part, on the developer filing various certificates with the

Town within 90 days. But, one of the required certificates – the drainage certificate – was recently submitted.

Because the original 90-day period for filing for plats has expired, the Town Council needed to reapprove the final plats prior to the Town Clerk recording both with the County.

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

• Approval of the minutes of the public hearing of July 6, 2020 pertaining to the proposed amendment of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Citizen Participation Plan.

• Approval of the minutes of the public hearing of July 6, 2020 pertaining to the proposed revision of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program’s 2020-2024 consolidated plan and program year 2020-2021 action plan.

• Approval of the minutes of the regular Council meeting of July 6, 2020.

• Report to receive and file Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of July 15, 2020.

• A resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement with the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Environmental Reviews.

• A resolution to award the bid for the Oak Street water main replacement project to Bloomington-based George Gildner Inc. at a total cost of $545,600, plus up to a potential $15,000 bonus for early completion.

• A resolution to award the bid for the replacement of a standby emergency generator for the West Booster Station to Wilcox Electric at a total cost of $119,900 and authorizing an associated budget adjustment of $19,900.

• A resolution authorizing a contract with Peoria-based Hoerr Construction Inc. for the 2020 sanitary and storm sewer cleaning and televising contract in the amount of $411,664.40.

• A resolution approving three year continuing service agreements and hourly rates and direct costs for professional engineering and architectural services for 2020-2023 for various Town departments.

• A resolution Authorizing a first addendum to the billing service agreement with AccuMed Billing Inc. for ambulance billing.

• A resolution considering release of executive session minutes from June 19, 2017; And Feb. 18, April 15, and December 16, all 2019.

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