Urbana searches for cheaper electricity

By Jenette Sturges

The Urbana City Council announced Monday its intentions to curb the effect of electricity rate hikes.

The council voted informally to invest somewhere between $3,300 and $3,600 to join the Chamber of Commerce Coop, a purchasing group that would accept bids from 12 different electricity suppliers in the state of Illinois. These funds will be allocated from the mayor’s discretionary funds.

“We know for sure that the coop rate will be less than the default rate,” said Bruce Walden, chief administrative officer, referring to purchasing electricity directly from Ameren, a company serving residents in Illinois and Missouri.

The city council also heard a presentation for the draft of the Route 130/High Cross Road Corridor Plan, developed by the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission to relieve congestion in the area. The more than 400-page plan contained feedback and suggestions from community members. It also called for general roadway improvements, additional lanes on High Cross Road between East Curtis Road and University Avenue, two new bridges and the construction of bicycle-pedestrian paths.

To move ahead with the project, the city will have to complete additional planning and send a proposal to the Illinois Department of Transportation for funding.

Also discussed were new building and fire safety codes, including the possibility of earlier deadlines for landlords to address renters’ complaints, but a vote was tabled until a later session.