Sidewalk-snow-removal plan up for preliminary vote in Urbana

URBANA — Just in advance of the winter season, officials this week will begin deliberations over a proposed sidewalk-snow-removal ordinance that Mayor Laurel Prussing introduced to the council this month.

The council will get its first look at a draft of the ordinance, but Prussing has been discussing the plan with a task force all year. As expected, the ordinance would apply only to properties in the city's downtown business and university districts.

The draft ordinance would require property owners clear a 4-foot path within 24 hours after the city's public works director has declared that two or more inches of snow has accumulated.

The council could take a preliminary vote on the proposal when it meets at 7 p.m. today in the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.

Prussing has said she would like to roll out the ordinance, which is similar to one in place in Champaign, for only the two business districts this year. In the future, she may push to expand the affected areas, she has said.

In other business, the council will consider entering into an agreement with other central Illinois communities to wage a legal battle over the Clinton Landfill's plan to store chemical waste at its facility.

Officials from Champaign, Savoy, Champaign County and other central Illinois municipalities worry the chemical waste could contaminate the Mahomet Aquifer, which sits directly below the landfill and provides drinking water for much of central Illinois. Landfill officials have said the safeguards in place to contain the waste go beyond EPA requirements.

City officials believe EPA approval of the landfill's proposal is likely, but if the council approves of the intergovernmental agreement, officials would be prepared to spend up to $2,000 in legal fees.

The city of Champaign is acting as the lead on the cooperative agreement to wage a legal battle. Under the contract, the consortium of governments could spend up to $12,000 on the "first phase" of the fight against the landfill's plan.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on November 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Better to just give the $12,000.00 to the local legislators.  They covered Ameren for less.  Pay them to stop the landfill.  It is cheaper in the long run.  If we all just paid $1 each, we could raise enough money to get them to end the legislative scholarships also.  Are they getting any "campaign donations" from the landfill company?