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Old jail proposal talks moved to April 23 council meeting

YORKVILLE – One of the larger topics of discussion from the last City Council meeting was one that wasn’t even on the agenda.

Although there was a consensus during the March 27 City Council meeting for the matter being up for a potential vote for the following meeting, discussions about the old county jail were not slated for Tuesday night at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road.

City Administrator Bart Olson said there are still only two groups that have submitted formal requests for proposals to the city to buy and rehab the old county jail, one including a possible microbrewery and the other including a shelter, resource center and community center. Olson said Mayor Gary Golinski, who was not at the meeting, deferred the matter to the April 23 meeting because they did not receive questionnaire answers about their building experience from one of the groups in time.

“We felt that was an important component of the analysis,” Olson said.

Third Ward Alderman Chris Funkhouser said he was surprised to see the matter not appearing on Tuesday’s agenda, especially after the consensus was reached to do so during the last meeting. He said he’d like to see it appear on the April 23 agenda, regardless if it will be up for a vote.

“Even if it’s completely for information or discussion purposes, I think that is good for the public,” Funkhouser said.

Peter McKnight, representative for the for-profit proposal, said he submitted the information that was requested but it looks like it didn’t reach the appropriate city officials in time. He said he eagerly awaits the conversation slated for the next City Council meeting.

“I’m looking forward to the decision and I’m excited that they’re considering us,” McKnight said.

Representatives from Imperfect Angels – the non-profit mentorship organization for young women based out of Aurora that also submitted a proposal request for the old county jail – did not attend the Tuesday meeting.

Golinski was not in attendance for the Tuesday meeting due to personal commitments, according to city officials. First Ward Alderman Ken Koch was mayor pro tem and ran the meeting in Golinski’s place Tuesday.

Fiscal 2020 budget

In other business, the City Council voted, 8-0, to approve its fiscal 2020 budget during its Tuesday meeting, despite Golinski not being at the meeting.

Olson said some changes were made to the budget since the last budget discussions. He said most of the changes related to the city’s library and included reductions in the library’s fund balance as a result of more money requested for operating supplies, postage and one computer purchase, along with the library getting rid of some revenue sources like DVD rental fees and some program fees.

First Ward Alderman Carlo Colosimo said the budget is still a living document after it’s passed, referencing the City Council’s earlier vote of a 12th amendment to the current budget to make adjustments accommodating additional equipment needs for parks and recreation. He said Golinski even may have his own suggestions to contribute after the passage of the fiscal 2020 budget.

“But we gotta get it done,” Colosimo said.

Olson has said residents can expect no raises in water and sewer rates for the next fiscal year’s proposed budget. He has said the city isn’t anticipating any additional tax rate raises or fee increases that would affect residents.

Other matters

Along with budget talks, the City Council voted, 8-0, to approve an amendment to the annexation and planned unit development agreement for a portion of the Windmill Farms development. The purpose of the proposed project is to build a nursery and garden center with a retail store on the property, along with an accessory storage building, according to the city’s website.

Olson said Windmill Farms was initially developed mid-Great Recession and not much was done with it after that. He said he believes this is the first proposal for someone to do something else with any part of that property.

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