Urbana council discusses becoming sanctuary city

Urbana council discusses becoming sanctuary city

URBANA — Alderman Eric Jakobsson started Monday's city council meeting by suggesting the group to discuss sanctuary-city possibilities in the "near future."

In the weeks since Donald Trump was elected, several major cities including Chicago are upholding their sanctuary-city statuses to protect those in the country illegally.

Trump said in a post-election interview on CBS's "60 Minutes" that he will deport 2 million to 3 million immigrants with criminal records. According to NPR, Trump is also planning to strip federal funding from cities that continue to serve as sanctuaries.

Mayor Laurel Prussing agreed that the issue should be discussed and mentioned previous city legislation that allows for refugee protection. Before the council meeting, she said she attended a Urbana Middle School meeting where Latinos expressed concerns about immigration issues.

In addition to Chicago's Rahm Emanuel, the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Philadelphia have promised to maintain sanctuary-city policies.

Prussing then proposed another future council discussion on the way Urbana addresses mental health issues. She recently went to a New York City conference on the topic and signed the city up to join a coalition working on the issue.

"I think we can do better, and it starts with very young children," Prussing said. "When you see the shooting epidemic, which is affecting us, that is because people don't know how to handle problems without violence."

The city is on the heels of fatal shootings Wednesday and Nov. 10.

Alderman Aaron Ammons said drawing a line between mental illness and violence is concerning to him.

"That would say (all of) America has mental health problems ... which could be true," Ammons said.

Jakobsson agreed with Prussing, saying anyone in the criminal-justice system that has a mental illness should leave better than they came. He said the city will have to work with the county to make any criminal-justice reform.

In other business, the council unanimously approved legislation to set the property-tax levy for fiscal year 2016-17 at $8,746,910. Last week, Champaign unanimously sent an "optimistic" 2016 property-tax levy of $21,983,600 to a final vote on Dec. 6.

In addition, the council unanimously approved establishing privately financed Property Assessed Clean Energy spaces. The areas will be conducive to improvements in energy efficiency and renewable energy, according to a memorandum from Public Works director William Gray and Environmental Stainability Manager Scott Tess.

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whatithink wrote on November 22, 2016 at 8:11 am

Ha, it's already a sanctuary city for criminals.  If you can't clean up the community now, why would you invite more people and claim to be a "sanctuary" for anyone?

Homeboy wrote on November 22, 2016 at 10:11 am

Hot investment tip! Sell your house in Urbana while you can still get something out of it. Pretty soon the real estate taxes per year will be more than the house is worth.

sharonpauza@aol.com wrote on December 06, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Great that Urbana wants to care for illegals, but how are they proposing to pay for it???

Urbana is already pretty much broke, and breaking federal law on purpose will likely lose them ALL their federal funding, and possibly even get criminal politicans thrown in jail.  Couple that with very expensive housing/medical care/crime for large numbers of people is a recipe for financial ruin.

An much better alternative IMO would be a "real progressive program" to humanely get illegals back to thier country of origin and simultaneously get paperwork started for them immigrating  for real without anyone breaking the law.

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on November 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

Urbana is also a Nuclear Free Zone  ( with the exception being the small reactor at the Engineering building).


So when the Chi Coms launch a rocket to destroy the US, they ahve to avoid Urbana.


Did I read the NG correctly yesterday that Urbana has 14 billion less in assessed value than Champaign?  Must be Carles fault.

welive wrote on November 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Maybe just maybe the city council has some blame on this?they have not passed anything that will help urbana have spent money on stupid devlopments that are still not done.Jumers Lincoln square,the bone yard walk way,the bike path on 130 that goes nowhere,New signs for downtown,new parking signs for downtown,whats up the the empty lots right next to the city building.

What can you say about a city that has the police staion in the basement,the fire staition,and city offices all in the same building? what a joke every member of the city council are.Arron Ammons,Mike MAdigan.both are a joke.Madigan with his overpriced BBQ and Ammons riding on his wifes coat tail.so One is a former aid to governer Ryan,and the other is a convicted felon that has had his record exponjed.Crooks and


chief21 wrote on November 25, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Sometimes you gotta read a story twice to believe it. Only in Urbana could someone taking up a space on the city council come up with such an idea. Guess it dispels the myth.." We are a nation of Laws". Should be interesting to see the property tax get another jolt when President Trump cuts off the $$$ to the local police department for being a " lawless" city.

kstyle wrote on November 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm

How much money does the Urbana police department receive from the federal government each year?

AltoonaSue wrote on November 25, 2016 at 3:11 pm

"In addition, the council unanimously approved establishing privately financed Property Assessed Clean Energy spaces.

As an aside, I'm pretty sure this is incorrect. According to the memo to the City Council, the request was actually for the council to "support Illinois General Assembly Bill SB0116" which would create “green special services areas."  The council can't approve establishing something that doesn't exist yet.

Diane Marlin wrote on November 27, 2016 at 10:11 am


You're correct.  The Urbana City Council approved a resolution of support for Senate Bill 0116 (Property Assessed Clean Energy-PACE)  which creates a mechanism for commercial and industrial property owners to take out a loan from a private lender for up to 100% of the cost of energy efficiency improvements and retrofits and repay the loan through the property tax bill through a voluntary special assessment for up to 20 years.   Senate Bill 0116 would establish the rules for enacting "green special service areas" to authorize PACE special assessments.  

Basically, the council said we think this is a good way to help businesses fund energy improvements and we'd make reasonable efforts to establish or join these service areas if the General Assembly passes the legislation.  

Diane Marlin

Urbana City Council, Ward 7


kstyle wrote on November 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm