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Rochelle News-Leader | City council: Northern Illinois Land Bank Authority agreement approved

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ROCHELLE — The Rochelle City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh to execute an intergovernmental agreement with the Northern Illinois Land Bank Authority at its Monday meeting. 

The NILBA assists its members with the acquisition and sale of vacant, dilapidated and non-revenue generating properties. The city wants to work with it to address properties like that in Rochelle.

According to the meeting’s agenda packet: “In recent years, several properties in the city have become vacant, dilapidated and non-revenue generating. These properties contain numerous health and safety violations and contribute to the blight and deterioration of the community.”

Eric Setter of the NILBA Region 1 Planning Council attended the meeting virtually and answered questions from the mayor and council. He said tax-delinquent properties are the ones that are easiest for his program to work with. 

“Or if there’s a property owner who just wants to get rid of it, with land bank board approval it can accept a donation or even purchase a property,” Setter said. “There’s a number of different ways depending on the cooperating nature of the property owner and the characteristics of how blighted it is and what the taxes look like on the property.”

City Community Development Director Michelle Pease said the program can be used as much or as little as the city would like. It could do five properties or zero. The program has no cost to the city and if it desired it could leave it with a 60-day written notice. 

“It seems like  a win-win situation for the community to be involved with,” Council Member Bil Hayes said. “We have people that have the expertise working with us to rid us of the issues we have with blighted areas.”

Fiber

The council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the execution of a dark fiber license agreement with Illinois Fiber Ventures Inc. 

“Illinois Fiber Ventures, Inc. was one of the companies that co-locates inside the Tech Center,” City Director of Advanced Communications Pat Brust said. “They reached out to us to see if we could provide fiber services from the Tech Center to the Swedish American Medical Clinic in Rochelle. They have connectivity to be able to reach some of the other medical centers throughout their infrastructure that IFiber owns. We’re looking to connect to another medical facility.”

The agreement is for a five-year term with an additional five-year option that can be renewed by IFiber prior to the end of the original agreement. The contract will provide income of $4,500 for the first year of the agreement with each subsequent year increasing by three percent annually. The total amount of revenue generated for the city through the initial five-year contract will be $23,891.

Garbage

Mayor John Bearrows said the city’s new garbage program began Monday and went “very smoothly.” He thanked city staff members for their efforts on the project.

All residents within the city limits recently received new tote-style garbage cans and pickup has moved out of alleys. Stickers are available for citizens to utilize their old cans for recycling.

“There’s going to be a couple of bumps in the road and some learning experiences,” Bearrows said. “But for the most part I think it’s a very good program and commend everybody on their hard work and making it to this point.”

Proclamation

Bearrows read a proclamation recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness month in the city.

The proclamation was accepted by Shining Star Children’s Advocacy Center Executive Director Jessica Cash. Her organization is in its 20th year serving Ogle and Lee Counties and works with kids and their families who have been victims of physical and sexual abuse. 

“We appreciate you bringing awareness to this issue in all communities, not just Rochelle,” Cash said. “We work closely with the Rochelle Police Department and appreciate their support and always looking out for the best interest of the kids in the community.”



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