URBANA – Mayor Laurel Prussing still hasn't signed the ordinance banning smoking in most public places in Urbana, and she may bring the issue back to the city council because she is unhappy about different effective dates for restaurants and bars.
A supporter of smoke-free legislation, Prussing was on vacation in Massachusetts when the Urbana council voted 6-1 on June 5 to approve the public smoking ban.
CHAMPAIGN – Mayor Jerry Schweighart, who adamantly opposed a smoking ban in Champaign, is now talking compromise.
Schweighart, in a June 15 letter to the city council, offered up a variety of possible compromises, all of which would weaken the comprehensive smoking ban passed by the council in a 5-4 vote on May 16.
CHAMPAIGN – City of Champaign Township voters will be asked in November to approve more than doubling the township's overall property tax rate.
The additional money is needed, township officials say, to help the township deal with an increased number of poor people seeking general assistance and to bolster dwindling cash reserves.
URBANA – There's still no date for the county's new nursing home to open, but two contractors have been given a deadline to answer for the delays.
The Champaign County Board's facilities committee voted unanimously Tuesday evening to give the Farnsworth Group and PKD Inc. until June 21 to provide solutions for problems with the new facility's heating and cooling systems.
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign City Council has decided not to allow its members to take part in meetings from the comfort of their homes or from a vacation.
The city council Tuesday night rejected a proposal to permit council members to cast votes electronically at city council meetings even when they are not at the meeting.
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign City Council is considering a change to its rules that may violate state law, according to a lawyer for the Illinois attorney general's office and a prominent media law attorney.
One amendment to the council rules proposed at Tuesday's study session allows for the council to vote on an item that has been postponed from an earlier meeting even if it does not appear on the agenda.
CHAMPAIGN – Champaign City Council members could vote next week to put a tax increase question on the November ballot.
City of Champaign Township Supervisor Linda Abernathy is asking for the township tax rate to increase from 3.68 cents per $100 of equalized assessed house value, largely to cope with increased general assistance to the needy.
URBANA – The county board's policy and personnel committee Wednesday approved Champaign County Board Chair Barbara Wysocki's nominations of incumbent Vicki Stewart and newcomer Ron Peters to seats on the MTD board.
The eight board members voted unanimously for Peters, who replaces longtime Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District board member George Friedman. Stewart's appointment was approved 5-3, largely a split on party lines. The Democratic committee members, Tom Betz, Steve Beckett, Tony Fabri and Jennifer Putman, as well as Republican Deb Feinen, voted to retain Stewart. Republicans Greg Knott, Steve Moser and Jonathan Schroeder voted against Stewart, Wysocki said.
WASHINGTON – Whether they know it or not, Americans are already subsidizing the cost of health care for the poor through their insurance premiums and medical bills, says David Gill, a Democrat running in the 15th Congressional District.
Change the health care system his way, he promises, and quality care will be available for everybody at a much lower overall cost.
The cities of Urbana and Champaign have been awarded $886,000 in state grants to build a new bicycle path along High Cross Road in Urbana and to landscape the planned Curtis Road interchange with Interstate 57.
The grant awards, part of the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, were announced Friday by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, with $60 million in grant awards for more than 100 projects announced.