August in the Champaign City Building

Happy August, everybody. This month is more than just a time for high humidities and Cubs implosions — here's a tiny taste of what you could expect to see in city council coverage during the next few weeks:

  • Liquor license fee increases. The council will decide whether to continue in its second year of a five-year schedule of higher charges for licenses to sell alcohol. I won't rehash the details here since I already wrote about it here.
     
  • Storm water utility fee contract. The city is scheduled to enter into an agreement with Indianapolis-based AMEC Earth and Environmental to build an expenditure, revenue and billing plan for a proposed storm water utility fee. Basically, this group will decide how much property owners will have to pay for a storm water drainage fee. It could be anywhere from tens of dollars for residential properties to hundreds for commercial tracts, based on the size of the properties and impervious surfaces. The fee itself is still a couple years away from implementation.
     
  • Wellness at Prairie Village preliminary plat. The city is on its way to formalizing the plans it has been making with developer Todd Raufeisen for the Curtis Road interchange subdivision that will act as a home to the new Christie Clinic campus in southwest Champaign. There have been a few bumps along the way, most involving the amount and orientation of parking in the subdivision, but nothing outside of typical city-developer negotiations as far as what I've seen at public meetings and talked about with city planners.
     
  • Big Broadband update. Since it was approved, Big Broadband has been the focus of a team of Champaign, Urbana and University of Illinois experts and stakeholders, who are hashing out plans to get network cables in the ground. We'll get an update on where they're at later this month.
     
  • Bristol Park neighborhood plan.  The city’s neighborhood services department has been working closely with residents of the Bristol Place neighborhood to identify where more effort is needed to improve the quality of life in the subdivision. A March ribbon cutting re-opened one-way streets to two-way traffic and symbolically marked the beginning of the Bristol Place redevelopment. A paper plan for the future will be presented to the city council later this month.
     
  • East University Avenue TIF extension.  Last week, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill that would allow the city council to extend the life of the East University Avenue tax increment financing district another 13 years (let me know if you want to know how a TIF works). Since 1986, the city has been collecting extra property taxes from East University Avenue properties, and those property taxes are turned around and reinvested into the area. By law, a TIF expires after 23 years, and the city council approved a 1-year extension last year — that brings us to this year, and another city council vote to keep the TIF open until 2023. That vote won't happen for another few months, but the city council will be getting a presentation on plans for the TIF this month.

So that's my update on what you should look for this month. If you have any questions or comments at all, please feel encouraged to post them below, e-mail me, or send me a message on Twitter.

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