City Council: Bid for railroad park gift shop improvements approved
Camera truck purchase approved
ROCHELLE — At its meeting Monday, the Rochelle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance accepting and approving a proposal from Bruns Construction for improvements to the Rochelle Railroad Park gift shop.
Bruns Construction was the low bid at $167,175. As part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), funds designated to communities were eligible for tourism-related expenditures due to pandemic-related impacts on the industry. As a result, various improvements to the Rochelle Railroad Park gift shop were identified by city staff. The project includes the addition of a handicap ramp entrance, bathroom remodels, addition of a front window and new siding, gutters and soffit.
The city’s 2023 hotel/motel budget includes $135,000 in ARPA funds for the project and $32,175 in hotel/motel cash reserves and an additional $17,000 as a project contingency were approved Monday.
"Bruns is ready to get started pretty quickly, so it could be a winter into spring project." City Director of Community Engagement Jenny Thompson said.
Mayor John Bearrows was absent from the meeting and City Councilwoman Kate Shaw-Dickey served as mayor pro-tempore.
The council unanimously approved the total purchase of $254,145 for a new camera truck and software for the Rochelle Municipal Utilities water reclamation department.
To meet current IEPA regulations, the water reclamation department is required to regularly clean and televise the sanitary sewer system. The existing equipment used to perform the task is approximately 20 years old and needs to be replaced.
The council unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 196 with a term of May 1, 2022 through April 30, 2025.
The previous CBA expired April 30, 2022 and the union ratified the new agreement recently. Most of the provisions from the previous agreement carried over to the new one.
“The major highlights are salary and wages,” City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said. “The other big change is the call out pay. Those were the main sticking points of the contract. I want to commend our negotiation team and the union's negotiation team. I think this represents a great compromise.”
The council unanimously approved an ordinance deleting one class R-2 liquor license for Tecalitlan Mexican Restaurant at 1071 Caron Road and created one class R-2 liquor license for Tecalitlan 7 Mexican Restaurant at the same location.
New owners Josefina Valencia and Angelica Valencia recently purchased the business. Existing liquor licenses can’t be transferred to new owners. A class R-2 liquor license allows for the retail sale of alcoholic liquor for consumption on the premises by restaurants with no bar. Bearrows, the liquor commissioner, reviewed the request previously and had no objection to the transaction.
The council unanimously approved a resolution approving support and commitment of local funds for a grant application for its phase four sewer lining project.
The city would commit $300,000 of its own funds for the project if the grant is received and is requesting $1,022,200 in grant funds.
"We started this in 2016-2017 and we haven't had a basement backup since we've done it,” RMU Utilities Superintendent Adam Lanning said. “It's been a great success."
The council unanimously approved a resolution changing its RMU electric rate for hydroponic businesses. After reviewing its rate structure, RMU leadership decided the rate needed to be adjusted to be more in line with current market pricing.
"The new rate will have an on-peak, off-peak and critical peak rate,” RMU Electric Superintendent Blake Toliver said. “That way in the summer it helps incentivize them to curb their critical peak usage. This takes effect Feb. 1.”
The council unanimously approved an ordinance amending the effective date of its RMU efficiency program. Residents that make upgrades to their homes to reduce energy or water usage are eligible for the program’s benefits. The ordinance Monday will now retroactively include upgrades to homes dating back to after Jan. 1, 2022.