Urbana public works offers aid to Gifford, Council passes two ordinances

By Eli Murray

At the Urbana City Council meeting Tuesday, the council concluded with the approval of two ordinances.

The first of the ordinances introduced changes to the way Urbana addresses and enforces handicap parking. Under the new ordinance, all mentions of “handicap” in the law were changed to say “persons with disabilities.” The ordinance also made the conditions under which persons with disabilities could obtain free parking more stringent. Under the new law, persons with disabilities will have to apply for a meter-exempt decal from the Secretary of State to remain exempt from paying parking fees.

The second ordinance passed set a levy amount of $7.3 million for property taxes in fiscal year 2013. The levy amount is set as a precursor to the city defining the levy rate, meaning that Urbana may charge a rate of up to 1.4 percent. Last year, the levy rate came in at 1.355 percent, under which a home with an estimated value of $150,000 would owe $596 in property taxes to the city.

In addition to passing the ordinances, the council heard from Bill Gray, the director of Public Works, about sending resources to Gifford, Ill., in the wake of the Nov. 17 tornadoes. Urbana is prepared to send a backhoe and three dump trucks in an effort to help clean debris left over from the storm. Gray said the equipment will be on loan for the remainder of the week, collecting housing materials and foliage that is littered throughout the village.

Eli can be reached at [email protected]