Council meeting to consider funding requests

The Carbondale City Council will discuss fiscal year 2013 funding requests, a proposed ordinance that would allow chickens in city limits and  other items during the meeting tonight at the Civic Center.

Council members will debate the amounts of funding requested by non-profit organizations, such as the Boys and Girls club of Carbondale and the Women’s Center, that provide educational and social services to southern Illinois citizens, many of whom are elderly, low-income or children.

The council won’t vote tonight on the funding priorities but will gather information so it can take action on the proposed funding requests in April.

“We have seven different people with seven different opinions about funding,” Councilman Lance Jack said.

Jack said he expected to hear a number of people express their views about the requests.

An ordinance that has been almost two years in the making will also be on the table. The ordinance would approve an amendment to the city’s zoning code and would allow chickens within city limits.

The city’s planning commission heard comments nearly two years ago from members of the city’s sustainability commission regarding the proposed amendment and requested a detailed draft. The sustainability commission presented the draft in September 2011 and a public hearing was scheduled.

Comments from the public hearing were incorporated into the document and in January, both the planning commission and the sustainability commission recommended the city council approve the revised proposed ordinance.

If the ordinance is approved, applications for a chicken coop license would be available April 1.

Wayne Weiseman, director of  the Permaculture Project in Carbondale, originally proposed the change to the ordinance in February 2010. He said he hopes it will pass.

“It’s been through several committees and it seems likely to pass, but you can never tell,” he said.

Councilman Lee Fronaberger said committee members who drafted the amendment used a similar ordinance approved by the  Columbia, Mo., city council in 2010 as a model.

Councilman Chris Wissman said he thought a lot of care and attention to detail went into the revision. One of his main concerns was that the chickens would be treated humanely, he said.

The council will also consider a resolution to approve a redevelopment agreement using tax increment financing to reimburse Coleman Rental Properties for a portion of the cost of remodeling and construction of a 2,400 square feet addition at 210 East Walnut Street.

Under terms of the agreement, the city would reimburse the developer an amount of up to $132,000, which is part of the developer’s cost of architectural fees, demolition, parking lot renovation and remodeling of the existing structure.

Fronaberger said he didn’t think there would be much controversy about the TIF project.

“It will be a very positive move for the city and for the business,” he said.

Another ordinance on the general business portion of the agenda is to approve the contract the city reached with the police department’s bargaining unit. The previous contract expired April 1, 2011. The new contract, if approved, would run through the end of fiscal year 2015.

Wissman said the proposed contract is similar to contracts the council had approved in the past.

 


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