UCC issues surrounding lack of funding for Convention and Visitors Bureau continue

Urbana City Council’s three-month long discussion of funding for the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau, or CVB, will go on a little longer. The council voted unanimously on Monday to send an ordinance allocating funding to the bureau back to committee.

The soonest an item for action can be set into law is Oct. 17.

Brandon Bowersox, Ward 4, presented a motion before the council about the funding. He said the motion had three main points: to have the bureau spell out what it does and how funding is reported, analyze what the CVB does for Urbana business and prepare a staff recommendation to see if 40 North arts funding should go through CVB.

“It seems like just writing a check and sending our money does not really solve the bigger issues … about reporting and expectations and … the services CVB provides,” he said.

This funding battle started when Mayor Laurel Prussing made a rare line item veto on the budget over the summer, reducing the bureau’s Urbana funding from $72,000 a year to nothing. A later ordinance reinstated the funding to a baseline of $18,000.

Charlie Smyth, Ward 1, said Bowersox’s first point could be easily integrated into the current motion before the council, but the second and third points would have to wait until the next fiscal year.

The council could not vote on the funding because Eric Jakobsson, Ward 2, and Dennis Roberts, Ward 5, were absent from council, and a budget ordinance needs six votes to pass.

In a proclamation, Prussing declared that Wednesday will be Walk and Roll to School Day in Urbana.

Heather Stevenson, Ward 6, expressed concern about safety, considering the attempted abductions in Champaign last week.

Cynthia Hoyle, transportation planning consultant, assured Stevenson and the council that there were safety precautions in place, including having adults to escort the students. She also said the Regional Planning Commission just reworked their safe walking path for schoolchildren.

“We consider the event next week to be an opportunity to talk about school safety,” she said.

In other businesses, the council unanimously voted to make the Halberstadt House a landmark. It also approved an ordinance to require two stop signs at Wright and Eads streets and an ordinance that allows University police to issue notices to appear for city violations, such as noise complaints.

The council also voted unanimously to pass three resolutions: one allocating a tax fund as “surplus,” another forwarding the Boneyard Creek beautification project and another authorizing a memorandum of understanding for law enforcement with the University’s Board of Trustees.