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Electrical aggregation makes April ballot

Enterprise expansion, new subcommittees approved

DIXON – Lee County voters will get another chance to vote on electrical aggregation: The County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to put the measure on the April 9 ballot.

Electrical aggregation gives local governments the authority to negotiate lower electricity rates based on the aggregated power needs of small businesses and community members who choose to participate.       

A majority of voters in 12 Sauk Valley communities voted in favor of electrical aggregation in March, and more than a dozen more cities, villages and townships in the Sauk Valley approved local aggregation on Nov. 6.

Households may opt out of aggregation; those that participate are expected to save an average of $400 a year.       

The board also voted to extend the Lee/Ogle County enterprise zone to property on ProLogis Park in Rochelle, near the Lee and Ogle county borders.

An enterprise zone is an economic development tool use by communities to persuade new or old businesses to expand there, cutting a portion or all of their property taxes, sales taxes on building materials or utility costs.

This expansion is being proposed in the hopes of persuading an unnamed manufacturer to bring 100 jobs and $35 million to $45 million of investment to the Rochelle area.

All incorporated towns and villages in Lee County must vote on the extension. Dixon, Paw Paw, Rochelle, Franklin Grove, and Ashton have approved it, as has the Department of Agriculture. Amboy City Council will vote Monday.

The board also voted to make the financial compliance officer's job a full-time, salaried position, up from a 24-hour-a-week job.

The financial compliance officer collects fines and costs for the county and restitution for victims.

The salary will go from $22,500 to $29,000 a year. The additional money already is in her budget, and comes from office reorganization, new State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller said.

Some of her workers are paid less than former State's Attorney Henry Dixon's employees because of experience and other reasons, she said.

The $6,500 money is not part of the $100,000 the county approved in September for an additional prosecutor and secretary. Sacco-Miller has not yet filled either new position, and won't say whether she will or not because she has not quite evaluated her staffing needs, she said.

Also Tuesday, board Chairman Rick Ketchum announced the formation of two subcommittees.

The finance committee's subcommittee will formulate the county's 5-year financial plan. Members are Vern Gottel, Dick Binder, Allyn Buhrow, Wes Morrissey and Steve Kitzman.

The transportation and solid waste committee's subcommittee will negotiate landfill fees with Allied Waste. Its members are Gerry Leffelman, Bernie Buckley, Tom Kitson, Judy Truckenbrod and Marvin Williams.

The 5-year agreement with Allied expires at the end of this year.

Board members Arlan McClain and Ann Taylor were absent.

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