Area update: McDonald's won't build at Savoy location

SAVOY — McDonald's will not be locating a new store in Savoy at the development on the southwest corner of Dunlap Avenue and Curtis Road.

McDonald's and the developer, Raufeisen Development, have been working together for months to locate the fast-food restaurant within the development. However, McDonald's recently informed village staff that the proposed site is off the board and will not be considered in the future.

In other business, on Sept. 25, the village completed the latest bidding round for the electric energy aggregation program. The winning bidder is the same provider as the current provider, Homefield Energy. The new package is for 24 months and will begin in June 2014, when the current bid package expires.

The bid came in at a base of 4.58 cents per kilowatt-hour, and with the green alternative provided for in the plan of operation and governance, the total cost will be 4.66 cents per kilowatt-hour for residents who do not opt out of the program. This includes 50 percent of the energy coming from a renewable source and 50 percent traditional energy. The current rate is 4.099 cents using 100 percent renewable energy.

JULIA LEATHERWOOD

Read more in the County Star

CATLIN VILLAGE BOARD

Officials hope work will improve drainage

CATLIN — Village officials are hoping that stormwater drainage on the village's northeast side will improve now that a new catch basin has been added on Carrigan Street.

Catlin Village Board member Kevin Kirk said Tuesday that village workers recently completed adding a catch basin near the intersection of Carrigan and Center streets.

"There have been some drainage problems there, and this should help to reduce them," Kirk said.

The village board also set trick-or-treating hours from 5-8 p.m. Oct. 31.

DOUGLAS TOOLE

News-Gazette Correspondent

RANTOUL VILLAGE BOARD

Members want Rantoul to join METCAD

RANTOUL — In a straw vote, the Rantoul Village Board this week agreed at a study session to ask the METCAD policy board to consider adding Rantoul emergency services to the Metropolitan Computer-Aided Dispatch system.

Rantoul's and Ludlow Fire's are the only emergency services in the county not dispatched by METCAD, based in Urbana. Ludlow's fire calls are dispatched by Rantoul.

METCAD Director Ralph Caldwell told the village board the proposal would be taken to the policy board for consideration. He said it has been his goal to add Rantoul for some time. But the village has balked at being added because, as Mayor Chuck Smith said earlier, "everything was self-contained" at the Rantoul dispatch center, and it gave "access to just services in Rantoul."

Smith said previously it made economic sense for Rantoul to maintain its own emergency dispatch service, but a study conducted by the police department finds that is no longer the case.

Under the plan presented to the village board, no staffers would lose their jobs, and the police department would continue to operate 24 hours daily. Dispatchers would be assigned other jobs, including possibly evidence handling work for the police department and file work for the fire department.

DAVE HINTON

Read more in the Rantoul Press

PHILO VILLAGE BOARD

Attorneys say group home legally permitted

PHILO — After seeking advice from a Chicago-based law firm, the village board has conceded that a group home for the developmentally disabled must be permitted to occupy the property at 908 S. Adams St.

The village hired the law office of Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, Ltd., a private law firm from Chicago, to counsel them on the issues surrounding the planned group home. The law firm has served many municipalities on similar issues.

The single-family home at 908 S. Adams St., now owned by Champaign-based Alan G. Ryle Companies, is expected to house up to eight adults with developmental disabilities. This is the first time a group home for disabled persons has located in Philo, leaving trustees questioning how local ordinances should be applied.

According to Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins attorney Lance Malina, the situation is "pretty cut and dry."

Malina said the village only has two options. The first option would be to interpret the local zoning provisions to allow for the group home.

Secondly, if the village did not interpret local ordinances to allow the group home, they would have to permit it anyway to comply with federal requirements, which would pre-empt local ordinances.

Federal requirements outlined in the Federal Housing Act (FHA) prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities and require that reasonable accommodations be made for the disabled.

Malina also said that certain vague interpretations of local ordinances run the risk of being found to discriminate against disabled persons. Also, Malina said an eight-member group home is a standard in the industry and the village must accommodate a standard group home under the FHA.

JULIA LEATHERWOOD

Read more in the County Star

SADORUS VILLAGE BOARD

Water chief sees need for plant improvements

SADORUS — The man who runs Sadorus' water system says it's time for village officials to start thinking about how much money they want to spend to improve it.

Kerry Gifford, general manager at Sangamon Valley Public Water District, which runs the village's water system, said he has been spending more hours on maintenance work at the water plant than he should. Recent problems have included a two- or three-week period during which the water was "low grade."

"I've spent a lot of time down here with the failure controls and valves," Gifford said. "Once you get to this point, every year it gets worse and worse."

The village's water plant was last upgraded in 1989.

Gifford said that the water plant's entire electrical system needs to be upgraded.

CHRISTINE WALSH

Read more in the County Star

RANTOUL TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL BOARD

New insurance policy saves nearly $350,000

RANTOUL — The board has chosen a new insurance policy that will save the district close to $350,000.

Rantoul Township High School will go with a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan that is a $174,707 savings from what was spent medically last year.

Superintendent Scott Amerio said with the savings and what he had budgeted for Health Alliance's 26 percent increase, the education fund should see about a $350,000 reduction in that deficit.

The education fund approved in September was $579,198 in the red.

BOB BAJEK

Read more in the Rantoul Press

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