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Archive for January 12th, 2011

Peru streets project raises funding questions

Posted by wlpo on January 12, 2011

Repairing the roads in Peru is going to be an expensive project and so far there’s no plan in place to pay for it.

Aldermen have compiled a wish list of streets that totals an estimated $2 million but they only have about $500,000 to spend according to Alderman Dave Waldorf.  The city council looked over the numbers Wednesday night.  Waldorf says they need to make streets a priority.

Engineer Roger Chamlin says an area of West Street that they had considered cementing would probably end up being too expensive given IDOT’s requirements.  He’s also suggesting they scale back their list.

The council is turning to City Treasurer Gary Hylla to figure out a funding plan.  Bonding sounds like one idea but he plans to have more information at Monday’s meeting.

Meanwhile he says there’s no money left over from last year to do a curb project during this fiscal year even though they didn’t spend all of the money they budgeted for it last year.

That took some aldermen by surprise but Hylla says they’re trying to balance the general fund and amend the current budget.

Regardless of what funding plan is proposed, Route 6 won’t be on the list.  That’s the state’s responsibility and they’ve said it probably won’t be resurfaced until 2016.

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Fire Didn’t Kill Ottawa Man

Posted by wlpo on January 12, 2011

An Ottawa man who died just a few hours after his house caught fire died because of a fall.

Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll says 76-year old Eldon Wolfe died of cervical spinal injuries.  She says he suffered the injuries after jumping out his window to escape Sunday night’s fire.  Ingersoll says there’s no evidence Wolfe inhaled smoke but she is still awaiting toxicology results.

Ottawa Police and fire crews responded to the fire on West Madison Street and found Wolfe outside his 1 ½ story home.  They broke out a window on the first floor to reach his wife Barbara who was flown to Loyola Medical Center.

Ottawa Fire Chief Jeff Newberry says the fire is accidental.  He thinks it started in the couple’s kitchen but doesn’t think it’s electrical in nature.  The State Fire Marshal’s Office is helping to determine a cause.

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Governor Says He’ll Quickly Sign Income Tax Bill

Posted by wlpo on January 12, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn is defending a massive increase in state income taxes and promises to sign the
bill passed by lawmakers quickly.

Lawmakers worked overnight to pass the increase to raise the personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent for
four years. Corporate income taxes also will rise, and Quinn rejected the notion that it would decimate businesses.
Quinn says the tax increase money will help heal the state’s ailing finances.

Illinois is facing a deficit that could top $15 billion this year. Quinn says it’s important for the Illinois economy that state government not be a “fiscal basket case.”

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Rezin Bashes Income Tax Hike

Posted by wlpo on January 12, 2011

In one of her first votes as state senator, Sue Rezin said no to the income tax increase.

Despite Rezin’s no vote, the tax hike passed in the senate 30 to 29.  The Morris republican says “this is the absolute worst climate to impose a tax increase”.  She calls it “fiscal mismanagement”.

While the tax increase is said to be temporary, Rezin doesn’t think the increase will expire when promised.  She predicts the state to have an even greater deficit by fiscal year 2016.

The tax increase passed in the house 60 to 57.  Democrats Frank Mautino and Careen Gordon support the increase while Republican Bob Pritchard voted against it.

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Streator man dies after crash in Livingston County

Posted by wlpo on January 12, 2011

A man is dead after a crash south of Streator.

41 year old Frank Baldwin of Streator was pronounced dead Monday evening at St. Mary’s Hospital.  La Salle County Coroner Jody Bernard says Baldwin was brought there after the one-car accident in Livingston County.

Bernard is awaiting results from an autopsy that was performed Tuesday.

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Illinois Cement layoffs the bulk of their workforce

Posted by wlpo on January 12, 2011

Slow market conditions are being blame for layoffs at Illinois Cement Company in La Salle.

96 employees were given the news Sunday.  Company president Wayne Emmer says that’s the bulk of their force.  14 people remain, mainly taking care of shipping duties.

Emmer calls the situation “a very difficult thing.”  He says these are their first layoffs related to market conditions.

Emmer says they have a full inventory.   He says the cement industry is seasonal and the demand for Portland cement has dropped.

He anticipates having everyone back by March.

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Intern could help La Salle Economic Development Director

Posted by wlpo on January 12, 2011

The La Salle Economic Development Director could be receiving some extra help later this year.

Don Alesky wants to hire a graduate student from Illinois State University to help with grant writing and the comprehensive plan.  The intern would be working towards a master’s degree.

The intern would work 35 hours a week for 11 months while reporting back to the university.

The city would pay about $25,000 to ISU and would not be responsible for paying the intern or offering benefits.  The cost would come out of the next fiscal year’s budget.  The intern wouldn’t start until July or August.  The city would work with the university in selecting the best match.

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Roads patchy with snow

Posted by wlpo on January 12, 2011

You won’t be able to stop as well as you would on clear roads, but most roads should be passable Wednesday morning.

IDOT says Interstates 39 and 80 are mostly clear while other highways and roads in La Salle and Bureau Counties are patchy with snow.  You could also find some minor drifting.  Slow down and give yourself extra time.

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Ill. faces 66 percent tax boost amid budget crisis

Posted by wlpo on January 12, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Democratic Illinois lawmakers have approved a 66% income-tax increase in a desperate bid to end the state’s crippling budget crisis.

Legislative leaders rushed early Wednesday to pass the politically risky plan before a new General Assembly was sworn in at noon.

The increase now goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. He supports the plan to temporarily raise the personal tax rate to 5% from the current 3% rate.

Corporate taxes also would climb.

It’s all part of an effort to close a budget hole that could hit $15 billion this year.

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