In its final December meeting, Bloomington has much to consider before the end of the year. (WJBC file photo)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - Wirtz Beverage should know if Bloomington will be its new home after Monday’s city council meeting.
According to City Manager David Hales, bringing more jobs and revenue to Bloomington will be a definite plus.
“I think it’s significant,” said Hales. “We would be delighted for Wirtz Beverage to locate its warehouse and Central Illinois office facility over on the west side. We think it would be a great benefit to the city.”
The city will also decide whether a five-year tax abatement is necessary to help Wirtz recoup some of the transition costs. The project would likely cost over $7 million while bringing around 120 jobs to the area.
Hales added that the financial impact for Bloomington in the Wirtz project could even lead to more opportunities in 2013 but wouldn’t say what those might be.
“It would be fantastic if they can continue on,” said Hales.
Energy co-op comes back
Municipal aggregation is back in front of the council this week. The city voted down the original proposal in the spring but will seriously reconsider given recent events.
“I believe that there has been better education and information,” said Hales. “More specifically, I feel the information has better included how the rates are going down for those communities that have banded together.”
Normal and 57 other Central Illinois municipalities signed a 17-month contract last week. Hales said the most important factor in bringing municipal aggregation to Bloomington involves personal education.
“The alderman cannot necessarily advocate, but what we can do is give out factual information,” said Hales. “We also hope there will be some citizens and small business owners that will take on an active advocacy role.”
Hales hopes the city can join an additional coalition starting in April should the resolution pass.
New police range?
The City of Bloomington is deciding on the future of the police range facility in McLean County. The Town of Normal and the McLean County Sheriff’s office hold an intergovernmental agreement with Bloomington for the use of the facility, and the discussion will begin exploration for finding a more accessible location.
“We have a project underway to just continue the long-term financial analysis,” said Hales. “That anaylsis will contain whether we can keep the facility, should we be able to afford the improvement to keep the facility there, not only for us but for Normal and the county.”
The agreement between the three parties has existed since 1994. The renewal would be for one year and would have a 16-thousand dollar impact for the city.
A main concern involves the distance to travel. The facility is fourteen miles east on Illinois Route 9.
“It does take time to not only get there but from an overtime aspect it is expensive,” said Hales. “Police agencies are banding together to establish such a facility closer to where the employees live and work.”
The council will gather in regular session at 7 p.m at the Bloomington City Hall.
Zach Dietmeier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.