By Margaret Downing


At the Aug. 2 South Beloit City Council meeting, commissioners voted down an “advisory non-binding referendum” in November to change the form of government in South Beloit.

Mayor Ted Rehl said it was a subject former mayor, the late Mike Duffy, had discussed because some residents felt that a change from commissioners to aldermen, for example, might be of benefit to the city.

With aldermen, there would be more positions, as opposed to there being only four commissioners. Rehl said he had also spoken with some residents about the possibility and believed that the subject could possibly go before the voters.

The four commissioners: Linda Chambers, Lori Duffy, Tom Fitzgerald, and Jeff Redieske all gave their opinions on the matter and maintaining the status quo was the decision when the issue came up for a vote.

The only change agreed upon was to “stagger” the terms of the commissioners, for example,  if the situation comes up, a whole new city council would not come onboard at one time.

An amount of $177,795.77 in bills from July 16-29 was approved for payment.

Accounts and Finance Commissioner Chambers told commissioners that “we just passed the center point of our budget,” and she noted that the city could come into negative financial territory, as the city is receiving quite a bit less in sales tax monies from both business and motor fuel tax funds. Commissioners were advised to watch spending.

There was some discussion concerning an agreement between the city and “SBA 2012 TC Assets, LLC, Successor by Assignment to SprintCom, Inc.” for use of property at 15955 S. Bluff St. for a cell tower.

City attorney Roxanne Sosnowski explained that she believes “the city can do better” with a longer-term lease rather than a lump sum payment from the company over a shorter-term lease – long-term, such as 50 years rather than 25 years would garner more money for the city.

The cell phone utility companies don’t want to invest money unless they know they will have that property for a tower for a longer period of time.

Sosnowski added she did not currently have all the specific details. A resolution to authorize the agreement to be executed was laid over to the Aug. 15 city council meeting. The city currently receives $1,500 a month on the cell tower location and that current term goes to about 2024.

More discussion concerning the city’s new sign ordinance was also undertaken. There will be no more billboards in the city. A suggestion that perhaps businesses could have two times a year to post specific temporary signs could be considered, as there have been some complaints from small business owners in the city on this issue.

A “temporary signage” meeting is set for Wednesday, Aug. 24 starting at 6 p.m. in city hall for business owners to discuss the ordinance with the city council.

As Commissioner Fitzgerald pointed out, “It’s like a brand new ordinance even though we had an ordinance before, but we did not enforce it and now we are enforcing it.”

A decision to approve a request from the South Beloit Firefighters Association for a $5,000 donation to be taken from Hotel/Motel tax funds was approved to help support the Annual Corn Boil in City Park on Aug. 27.

Accountability of funds will be logged.

As Commissioner Chambers said, “They are not getting donations from city businesses like they did in the past.” The event brings in people from the area and is a good way to showcase South Beloit.

The Firefighter’s Association also was approved for a special events permit for the occasion.

Mayor Ted Rehl told the board he had been in discussion with several big business interests looking at South Beloit in the past few weeks.

Reduction of sewer hook-up fees from $10,000 to $1,500 for a parcel on Prairie Hill Road was laid over to the next council meeting. Petitioner Cyrus Lucchesi is looking to bring in a meat market/deli to that location.

Commissioners decided to push out three years the city’s consideration of requests for proposals from urban planners to create an urban plan for the city. Money for such an undertaking is just not available at the present time.

Commissioner Fitzgerald gave the bi-weekly fire/rescue report for the time period starting July 15 and ending July 30. There were 40 runs – 14 engine and 26 ambulance made, two vehicle fires, two hazardous material responses, one automatic alarm call – 24 medical and one auto accident response, one water rescue, three public service and one police assist response, along with two mutual aid calls to the Town of Beloit, one to Beloit and two to Rockton.

A fire loss of $300,000 was reported due to two semi-tractor trailers on fire at the Flying J on Highway 75. Fire burn training for that time period was also on the agenda for firefighters.


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