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Columns

Matt Brolley: Economic development remained a Montgomery focus in '17

Matt Brolley
Matt Brolley

As we wrap up 2017, I’d like to report back on the progress made on my top five goals for the village of Montgomery for the year.

Economic development. This is a topic of prime importance to Montgomery and to the entire region. This year we were especially pleased to welcome Old Dominion Freight Lines, Fullers Car Wash, AT&T, and Mattress Firm on the west side of town, and Batteries Plus, two new dental offices, a nail salon, and a new Dunkin’ Donuts on the east side of town. These new businesses provide jobs, generate additional tax dollars to the school district and other taxing bodies, and offer opportunities for expanded shopping or services to area residents. Although the announced closing of the Caterpillar plant in nearby Kendall County is a concern for the entire area, we are pleased that CAT has hired a broker who is aggressively marketing the property for reuse or redevelopment. The task force continues to meet to help facilitate these changes which we expect will ultimately have a positive impact in the area.

Small business assistance. Recognizing that small businesses are the lifeblood of our community, we have been working to establish a new business assistance program that will help local business owners to prosper. I’m happy to announce that in September, we formalized our Montgomery Development Fund Program that offers both low-interest and forgivable loans to local businesses. I’m also pleased to announce that in December South Moon BBQ and Line-X Linings were both approved for loans from this new program. These are terrific local businesses and we are happy to be able to contribute to their success.

Trash/recycling contract. Since our previous trash contract was expiring, we obtained proposals for a new trash and recycling program from two companies. The village board discussed the proposals at several meetings, and after negotiations and fine-tuning, they ultimately awarded a new five-year contract to DC Trash of Illinois. This company is offering expanded services to our residents, including unlimited amounts of trash and yard waste, at a lower monthly cost. They also are providing quarterly recycling events for our residents that accept TVs and other electronics with no fees as well as household hazardous waste.

Promote Montgomery’s downtown and its businesses. South Moon BBQ continues to thrive in the downtown area, along with the VFW, George’s Restaurant, and other smaller businesses. Each year we host several events in Montgomery Park in the downtown, including the annual Montgomery Fest, Concerts in the Park, the 5K and 10K River Run and the annual Tree Lighting that takes place in front of the Village Hall. All these events help bring people to our downtown and offer opportunities for businesses in that area to get involved and promote their businesses.

Shared services and equipment. The village of Montgomery has been actively involved in several initiatives to share services, equipment, staff and training with neighboring communities. We had previously signed an Intergovernmental Agreement with Oswego and Yorkville to formalize these arrangements. Beginning in 2016 we partnered with Oswego on de-icing treatments before predicted snow events, and have shared certain specialized equipment as needed. Our collaboration with Oswego and Yorkville was recently recognized by an award from Transform Illinois. Throughout the year, a steering committee has met regularly to discuss opportunities to expand on this collaboration, culminating in a new shared services agreement approved in December that also now includes Sugar Grove. The new agreement formalizes what we have already been doing in regards to the sharing of equipment and personnel and lays out reimbursement terms and procedures.

All in all, I am very excited about our accomplishments in 2017, and look forward to the new year.

• Matt Brolley is the Montgomery village president.

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