By Steve Robinson | November 16, 2020 - 10:00 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Town Council, The Normalite

NORMAL – The prognosis for Normal’s general fund after nine months of conducting and trying to conduct business in a pandemic was addressed during Nov. 16’s regularly-scheduled Normal Town Council session done remotely. Town Finance Director Andrew Huhn indicated the Town’s operating tactic of “hoping for the best and preparing for the worst” appeared to be working currently in the Town’s favor.

In what Huhn deemed a preview to the Town’s final budget which would be released in February, he explained. Despite sales being down for restaurants with indoor dining, the only month in which the Town showed a loss of local sales tax income was in March, but in the months that followed, the Town took in increases of sales tax ranging from 69 percent in April to 100 percent in September.

Food and beverage tax income increased, as well during the same period versus the same time last year, ranging from 43 percent increase in April this year versus 25 percent taken in last year. This year, there was a 93 percent increase in August in that tax versus a 50 percent intake the same month last year. He said numbers for hotel/motel tax income could indicate some of those businesses could be in the red when taxed income is calculated as a result of the pandemic.

Last spring, as the pandemic was affecting communities, the Town projected a $10.4 million decrease in revenue as a result, Huhn explained. But, he added, as things turned out, the Town has only seen a drop of revenue totaling $$3.6 million, with the Town taking in $66,308,371 in the current fiscal year.

There was a downside to Huhn’s report related to the Town’s general fund for fiscal year 2021-22, he explained. He said there is a drop in projected revenue for the Town in that period. Part of that is due to difficulties restaurants and lodgings have had not being able to or not having guests.

Final Plat For Illinois Art Station Gets Approval Amidst Conversation: By a 6-1 vote, Council members approved a resolution conditionally approving the final plat of the Illinois Art Station subdivision by expedited process (101 E. Vernon Ave., 605-607 S. Linden Ave.). Council Member Stan Nord cast the lone opposing vote. The two properties on South Linden St. will be demolished to aid the expansion of the Art Station.

Koos To Freeze Salary If Re-Elected: Before adjournment, Mayor Chris Koos announced that should he win re-election as mayor to a fifth term, he will freeze his mayoral pay at its current $18,000 level. In December 2018, Council members voted to give the person holding the mayoral position a pay raise to $32,000 effective next spring, and raise Council members’ pay from $4,800 to $6,800, effective May 1, 2023.

Granting the pay raise, he said, “was done in a pre-COVID world, and in a COVID world, now, if I am that mayor on May 1, 2021, I will choose to freeze my salary at the current rate and keep it at that rate until we are in a post-COVID environment and the decision of when we are in a post-COVID environment will not come from me. It will come from you, my fellow Council members.”

Koos is being challenged by Marc Tiritilli for the mayoral post for the second straight election, the last one in April 2017. Tiritilli announced his intention to run for mayor a second time Nov. 15.

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

• Approval of minutes of regular meeting held Nov. 2, 2020.

• Report to receive and file Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of Nov. 11, 2020.

• A motion to approve the Town meeting calendar for the year 2021.

• A resolution conditionally approving the final plat of the Illinois Art Station subdivision by expedited process (101 E. Vernon Ave., 605-607 S. Linden Ave.).

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

• A resolution waiving the formal bidding process and authorizing the purchase and installation of a multi-pump station control panel kit upgrade for the irrigation system at Ironwood Golf Course from Towson, Md.-based Absolute Service, Inc. in the amount of $31,168.

• An ordinance to concurring with a technical correction to the Bloomington-Normal Enterprise Zone Boundary Amendment – the Ferraro expansion.

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