Water bill passes

By Jonathan Jacobson

The Urbana City Council, which has been trying to purchase the local water company Illinois American, made another step in the series of procedures necessary to finalize the procedure Monday night.

They came up with an agreed bill that will change the methods for assessment of the water company.

“It gives the courts the choice of method for evaluation,” Mayor Laurel Prussing said.

This will help the city acquire the company, the mayor said.

The bill the council has been advocating recently passed the local government committee of the Illinois House of Representatives by a margin of 10-1.

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    “This doesn’t mean the battle is over, but I think we’re gonna get a decent piece of legislation,” Prussing said.

    City moves to fight rise in electricity rates

    The council has moved for approval of an intergovernmental agreement with a group of as-yet-unnamed cities to combat efforts by electricity companies AmerenCILCO, AmerenCIPS and AmerenIP to raise their rates.

    Ameren filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission to change electricity distribution rates to increase their revenues, said Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Walden.

    “We need to move as fast as we can,” Prussing said.

    Jim Gitz, the city attorney, believes that if the city doesn’t spend money to fight the electric companies now, it will pay later.

    “I don’t think the city can afford not to intervene,” he said. “We can vindicate this investment if we do it right.”

    Urbana acquires property

    The council annexed three pieces of property Monday, two of which were involuntary acquisitions.

    “The main intent is to provide increased emergency response,” said Matt Wempe, community development staff member.

    One of the properties is a graveyard, located at 801 E. Kerr Ave., with no known owner. No one was able to locate the owner of the property, probably because taxes are not collected on graveyards.

    Rooftop concert space considered

    The council will be hearing opinions about the potential rooftop concert area in downtown Urbana that will be run by Crane Alley and the Canopy Club.

    The meeting will be held on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Historic Lincoln Hotel, 209 S. Broadway Ave.