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  • Kent Casson

Water rate hike proposed in Chenoa

(Mayor David Shane talks with the Chenoa City Council about water on Tuesday)

In an effort to get a handle on the current water situation in Chenoa, Mayor David Shane is proposing raising water rates by $30 per account, per month.

“We have to do something or it’s never going to get solved,” Shane told members of the Chenoa City Council and the public Tuesday night.

Shane said rather than asking for more money every year, he is asking for it up front now so the city has money down the road. The increase is to fund two phases of a project, estimated to be $4.2 million of work for two phases and also to help fill a budgeted shortfall.

This is strictly a proposal and no vote was taken at Tuesday’s council meeting, although the mayor would like to see this rate start sooner rather than later after getting more input from residents. The next step is a public meeting involving Farnsworth.

“I want input from the community,” Shane added.

The city must show it can pay 100 percent of the water project in case the principal is not forgiven through a principal forgiveness loan.

“Information coming from the governor’s office to the EPA put us at the top of the list,” explained Shane.

If all goes as planned, digging could be happening next year at this time for the water improvement project.

“At some point, we have to rip the band-aid off and I don’t like it,” stated Commissioner Zack Lopeman. “What are we going to do?”

Lopeman said this would be the hardest yes vote he has ever made but does not want to keep "kicking the can."

"If previous councils had started this it might have been a lot less cost, if we wait for the future it could be a whole lot more," notes Lopeman.

In another matter, the Chenoa City Council discussed, but did not vote on, a Zoning Board recommendation to allow metal-sided buildings. Some have asked for this change in town but there was some back-and-forth discussion among council members, the public and the mayor. Shane wants a definition of what the ordinance means and Attorney Steve Mann suggested sending it back to zoning.

“Let us look into it,” Shane said.

A contract for police services between Chenoa and Gridley was authorized. They are sticking with $85,000 a year and the Village of Gridley has already signed the contract.

John Cerda was appointed to serve on the Chenoa Economic Development Committee. This fills all of the seats on the EDC.

Council members learned the swimming pool could be operational in a little over a week as someone is coming to fix a leak. There is a big hole in the concrete liner near the deep end. Previously, the wrong parts were sent for the project. Concrete work should finish this week.

“It’s going to need a new liner,” stated Shane.

During public comment, local resident Nancy Todd described an Open Space Lands Acquisition & Development (OSLAD) Grant which is available from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Dwight received the grant last year. Costs involved before getting the grant are not reimbursed and it is a 12 to 24 month process.

Todd said this helps everyone think about the long-term future of the swimming pool and Chenoa could be eligible for more money since it is considered an economically distressed area. Todd is talking with EDC about funding and would like the support of the Silliman Trust Committee. Mayor Shane reminded Todd the city is working on a comprehensive plan.

During commissioner comments, Lopeman reported the city has been working on storm tiles the past couple of weeks and picking up brush.


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