By Margaret Downing, REPORTER

South Beloit City Treasurer Don Elliott, in a meeting held Oct. 17, on next year’s fiscal budget, told Commissioners, “The challenge will be how to fund projects next year. Taxes are stagnant.” He advised Commissioners that incoming funds look to be approximately $200,000 lower than what the city had to work with a year ago. Other budget meetings will follow. After the budget meeting, the Council convened its regular City Council meeting. On hand were two Representatives of Beloit 2020. They were there to explain where the Beloit/South Beloit Confluence Plan situation stands now. Two resolutions were on the agenda relating to that topic: one was an amendment to the Master Agreement previously agreed upon between the two municipalities. The other was a resolution approving a license agreement regarding the project. Commissioners were told that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had done tests on land at 306 Dickop, 301 Charles, 420 Blackhawk, and 17 acres of land known as “the Delgado land.” Some of the land is owned by private persons currently, some by the City of South Beloit, and some by Beloit 2020. Also, some additional testing still needs to be done. As long as the properties are utilized as a nature environment, excluding Dickop and Blackhawk, and “the land is not disturbed” all is set to go according to Mayor Ted Rehl.

Plans explained by Beloit 2020 include that the organization, which plans tentatively to hold a ground breaking in South Beloit on Nov. 3, will be building a new 2,250 square-foot Nature Learning Center building that will include a classroom, a small office, and bathrooms with indoor and outdoor access. There is an existing vacant garage building that will be renovated and kept for storage. The current site of Dallman’s Muffler, 306 Dickop St., will be where the new building is put. Existing tanks and foundations will be removed. Plans also include seeding and re-grading, adding a gravel trail and seeding for a native prairie habitat. Additionally, at a later time, there will be an outside classroom and Education Center with a 36-foot high chimney structure in a shaded area. Turtle Creek and the Rock River meet in South Beloit, hence the “confluence” term.

Another topic of interest at the meeting dealt with the city’s hunting and trapping ordinance. A resident was present and complained about guns being fired from boats on the river and said a window was knocked out by a bullet. Commissioner Tom Fitzgerald explained that, “They shoot in the field and if Police Officers see it they can do something about it. It’s hard for the Police. It is illegal to discharge a firearm in the city unless one is on their own property. However, a crossbow is legal. If you look like you are hunting, it is illegal.” He said permits are issued on a case-by-case basis by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). After more discussion, the Mayor suggested a combined meeting be set by Fitzgerald with the DNR, the county and the city. Sections of land in the city area are not officially in South Beloit but are in Winnebago County.

Commissioner Fitzgerald gave the biweekly Fire Department report. The time period covered went from Sept. 23 to Oct. 6. There were 33 runs (eight engine and 25 ambulance). Responses were to one illegal burn, three automatic alarms, 21 medical, one smoke investigation, and one public service call. There were two mutual aid responses to Rockton, one to Loves Park and three to Beloit. Training topics were live burns and peer support. The Council approved payment of $486,537.44 in bills.

In other business during public comment, resident Ilah Tinder brought up a subject concerning the dogs that belong to neighbors and said she is not happy with the lack of response from the Police Department or from Animal Control. “These loose dogs killed a dog, and they bite people who are walking by. They also come under the fence onto my property.”  She also stated it is not safe for people walking in the neighborhood to have to go out into the street to get around cars that are parked over the sidewalks. “It is hazardous,” she said. It was determined that the Police and the city will work together on the two situations. The Street Department workers have been busy filling and patching potholes, fixing catch basins, street sweeping and cleaning up after the homecoming weekend. It was noted that residents should not put leaves in the street – that they need to be cleaned up or burned during open burn times. The street basins need to be kept clear in order to prevent street flooding. Resident Bill Tinder complimented the city on how well City Park now looks, saying, “It’s gorgeous!”

A pay request by Kelsey Excavating, Inc. for 2016 sanitary lateral improvements in the amount of $100,246.61 was approved. A final payment of Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds amounting to $91,092.83 for 2016 street maintenance to Rock Road Companies, Inc. was also approved.

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