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Archive for January 10th, 2013

La Salle County Will Pay Thousands To Settle Tax Dispute

Posted by wlpo on January 10, 2013

Over 12 hundred La Salle County taxpayers will get a tax settlement check very soon.

The La Salle County Board yesterday agreed to settle a 2006 tax objection for 500 thousand dollars.  Attorneys Robert Slattery and Thomas James got 1,245 taxpayers to go in with them on the objection saying La Salle County used money from its Tort tax levy to pay for things like life insurance and office expenses when it’s supposed to be used to pay injury claims or protection against lawsuits.

The attorneys will take about a third of the 500 thousand dollars and the rest will be split by the taxpayers involved.  The group initially wanted a couple million dollars in repayment from the county.

La Salle County Board Chairman Jerry Hicks says the county admitted to no wrongdoing in the settlement.

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Neighboring Cities Still Feuding Over Water Bills

Posted by wlpo on January 10, 2013

Whatever happened to being friendly with your neighbor?

Hard feelings continue between the Ottawa City Council and Naplate Village Board over how much Naplate should pay for sewer and water service provided by Ottawa.  Ottawa raised rates last year to pay for sewer improvements but Naplate refuses to pay the new rates.  Ottawa council members think Naplate should at least pay the same for water and sewer as do people who live in Ottawa.

Council members decided to send Naplate another contract proposal along with a letter saying if they don’t come to agreement by the end of the month, they’ll go to court.  Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach accused Naplate of not bargaining in good faith while Commissioner Dale Baxter said if it was just water and not also sewer service, he’d shut it off today.  Commissioner Wayne Eichelkraut was even more frustrated saying Naplate’s proposal is a slap in the face.

Council members are hesitant to turn water and sewer service off to Naplate because they could get fined by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Nothing “in ink” for former Kmart building

Posted by wlpo on January 10, 2013

          Rumors that the warehouse buying club Cosco is moving into the old Kmart in Peru so far are just that, rumors. 

The roughly 100,000 square-foot building is empty after Kmart closed last June and JoAnn Fabrics moved out late last year. 

Jeff Moss with KIN Properties, the developers listing the building, said Tuesday he wasn’t allowed to say much. 

Mayor Scott Harl said he’s been told that there is interest in two-thirds of the former Kmart space, but nothing is in ink.  As for the space that was Jewel, he’s heard nothing.  The grocery store moved out last March.

          Harl and his wife are encouraging people in town to send postcards to Trader Joes.  They would like to see the specialty food store open in Peru.

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Utica Board Fine With Being Down One Person

Posted by wlpo on January 10, 2013

Ever since Andy Skoog won the La Salle County Circuit Clerk election, there’s been an open seat on the Utica Village Board.

For the second month in a row, Utica trustees put off appointing a replacement for Skoog.  According to the NewsTribune, Mayor Fred Esmond says at this point he probably won’t appoint a fill-in.  He says the village is getting by without an appointee.

Five candidates have filed for three trustee seats in the April election.

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Sales Tax Question Resurfacing In La Salle County

Posted by wlpo on January 10, 2013

If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

Even though nearly 54 percent of La Salle County voters said no thanks to a sales tax increase for schools in November, the idea isn’t dead yet.  The Ottawa High School Board tomorrow morning plans to pass a resolution asking that a sales tax increase referendum be put back on the April ballot.

OHS Superintendent Matt Winchester says he hopes enough districts follow their lead and the question is put back to voters.  Enough school boards need to support the sales tax question to cover 50 percent of the county population.

The cent or one percent sales tax increase could be used for building improvements at schools or to pay down debts.

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Governor Still Fighting Promised Raises

Posted by wlpo on January 10, 2013

CHICAGO (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn has filed an appeal over a Cook County judge’s ruling that the state must pay wage increases promised to workers in 2011.

Last month a Cook County circuit judge ruled that Illinois must pay the raises to members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Quinn reneged on the raises in 2011 because the state Legislature hadn’t sent him money to cover it.

In a statement AFSCME claims the appeal “needlessly prolongs” the costly and time-coming legal battle over the wages of some 30,000 employees. Employees who are affected include those who work for the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Human Rights Commission.

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