Politics and Government

Politics and Government

Cities to propose significant tax levy increases

The cities of Champaign and Urbana – their tax bases bolstered by new construction, annexations and rising home values – are proposing significant increases in their property tax levies.

Champaign is proposing a property tax levy of $15.9 million, a 17.8 percent increase over last year's levy, on taxes payable next summer.

Disability advocates hitting road against group homes

URBANA – Evoking the civil rights spirit of the 1960s, disability advocates will embark on a "freedom ride" Sunday to push for an end to institutionalization of those with disabilities.

About 30 people with disabilities, senior citizens and their families will make the 700-mile trek around the state, ending Thursday in Springfield, to drum up support for the Community First Act. The legislation would compel the state to spend its money on support services allowing the disabled to live in their communities, rather than institutions or large group homes.

Culver tries to clear up confusion over remarks

CHAMPAIGN – Schools Superintendent Arthur Culver on Wednesday told parents his remarks last month about two "inefficient" Champaign schools don't mean they'll be closed.

South Side School parents attended a meeting of the newly formed facilities committee Wednesday to respond to Culver's Sept. 28 comments.

Cities, county meet to discuss funding of roads; more talks planned

URBANA – Champaign County Board member Greg Knott, R-rural St. Joseph, understands the importance of urban fringe roads.

"As someone who drives from a rural area into Urbana to work, I've benefited from improved fringe roads, Windsor Road specifically," he said.

Task force will look at ways to cut crime

URBANA – An advisory task force will look at how to reduce crime in and around larger apartment buildings, after its approval Monday night by the Urbana City Council.

Alderwoman Lynne Barnes, D-Ward 7, suggested creating the task force, saying she was concerned about an increase in crime in southeast Urbana that began in 2004.

County to switch voting systems

URBANA – Champaign County voters have used the stylus and punch card for the last time.

Champaign County is about to buy a $1.1 million optical-scan system that will let voters know when they have voted for too many candidates – and also will allow for much quicker and highly accurate counting of ballots.

Prussing to propose safety meetings

URBANA – Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing tonight will propose a series of neighborhood meetings to discuss creating an ordinance to improve public safety in or near larger apartment buildings.

An ad hoc task force might also be appointed to help draw up the ordinance.

Peotone man gets police chief post

RANTOUL – Rantoul named Paul Farber of Peotone as the village's new chief of police at a special meeting Friday night.

Farber replaces longtime police Chief Paul Dollins, who retired in September. The village board voted 6-0 to hire Farber.

Savoy seeking long-term truce with C-U MTD

SAVOY – Savoy Mayor Bob McCleary says he would like to see a proposed agreement between the village and the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District approved in November.

But the two sides remain at odds over the length of the agreement.

Updated Burnham plan takes on big-city look

CHAMPAIGN – The urban village that city planners once envisioned for the vacant Burnham City Hospital site is looking decidedly big city these days.

Picture the possibility of two high-rise apartment buildings, up to 18 and 20 stories high, dominating the skyline where the old hospital once stood.