By Bob Balgemann


City council has approved a resolution of opposition to Great Lakes Basin Transportation’s proposal to build part of a 278-mile rail line through the Capron and Garden Prairie areas of Boone County.

Aldermen took that action in a unanimous vote at their Monday, June 6 meeting. They also authorized Mayor Mike Chamberlain to write a letter of opposition that was “consistent with this resolution.”

Sitting as the committee of the whole Monday, May 23, aldermen took the first step toward joining the county board and numerous residents in forwarding their opposition to the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) in Washington, D.C.

After an environmental study is done, the board will decide the fate of the project.

Elected officials in the county have no say in the project other than to provide the STB with their viewpoints.

The deadline for the board to receive comments was originally Wednesday, June 15. However, the comment period has been extended a month to Friday, July 15.

Purpose of the line is to bypass the city of Chicago and its related rail congestion, allowing freight to move more quickly to its destination.

Closest portion of the track to the city of Belvidere would be two and a half miles away.

During the council’s Monday, June 6 meeting, City Attorney Mike Drella said he originally drafted the resolution of opposition after the committee of the whole meeting.

He heard from other governmental boards in the county that the STB did not want resolutions from locally jurisdictions. That viewpoint also was expressed at the May county board meeting, when members voted to send a letter.

However, Drella said he personally called the STB office and was told “they like resolutions, too.” So, it will be getting both from the City of Belvidere.

Also Monday, June 6, the board voted unanimously to purchase a new command vehicle for Fire Chief Al Hyser. State bid price for the 2017 Ford Utility Police Interceptor is $25,555 from Currie Motors in Frankfort.

The committee of the whole recommended the purchase on Monday, May 23, with Alderman George Crawford saying the vehicle currently being driven by Chief Hyser looked like “a hunk of junk.”

Municipal streets can take a beating from snow and ice removal during the winter months and informational striping can become faint, making it difficult for motorists to see.

That prompted the Belvidere council to approve a low bid of $37,881 from Precision Pavement Markings in Elgin, to restripe some streets this summer. That was one of five bids received by the city and is subject to approval by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Other bids ranged from $39,478 to $67,518. None were submitted by businesses in Boone County. The city estimate for the work was $65,000.

Money will come out of the city’s motor fuel tax fund.




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