Gerard, Faraci to be sworn in Tuesday

CHAMPAIGN — The city council will meet with two new faces this week: after Mayor-elect Don Gerard and council member-elect Paul Faraci are sworn in, they are scheduled to vote on a lease agreement with Herff Jones and a special permit for a new recycling drop-off center.

The new city council will meet for the first time at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

At-large council members Tom Bruno, Karen Foster and Deborah Frank Feinen will also be sworn in. They were re-elected to their council seats this April in an uncontested race.

The council is scheduled to vote on a lease agreement that would help Herff Jones expand its Market Street plant. The cap and gown manufacturer has been in Champaign since 1926 (known as Collegiate Cap and Gown prior to 1979), and officials call it an important employer.

Under the proposed arrangement, which the council preliminarily supported on April 19, the city would lease a parking lot at 308 N. Market St. to Herff Jones at no cost, as long as the company employs 250 or more. If the number drops below 250, the company would pay $5,400 a year for use of the land.

City officials have said the deal is a creative way to provide expansion incentives for the company after budgeters eliminated a formal economic development incentive program to close spending gaps.

In other business, the council is scheduled to vote on whether to grant a permit that would allow Green Purpose to operate a recycling drop-off facility at 807 Pioneer St., south of where the city-operated drop-off site used to exist.

The permit was set for a vote on April 5, but council members decided they had more questions about the proposal.

They considered it again in an informal session on April 19, when they gave it informal support.

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