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New construction, better infrastructure

Mayor delivers positive State of the City speech

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

ROCK FALLS – Mayor David Blanton wants Rock Falls residents to know a few things: The city has met its budget projections, has not raised taxes and has not laid off any employees.

It’s all part of the city’s plan to have “the best of the best” working for Rock Falls residents every day, Blanton said in his 2012 State of the City address to council members.

Although the total value of construction work in 2012 was less than the year before, Blanton said the city “still had a very good construction year.”

In 2012, the city’s Building Department issued 687 building permits with construction costs totalling $3.25 million. In 2011, it issued 755 permits with work totaling $3.69 million. Blanton blamed the poor economy in part for the decrease.

Twelve buildings were condemned, 10 that were demolished and two that were brought back to code.

The renovation of the former Neon Moon tavern, at 1515 W. Route 30, “has made a great improvement in our west entrance to the city,” he said.

The city was going to demolish the building, but instead sold it to Rock Falls resident Jeff Moore for $1,000. Moore has turned it into an office building.

The city’s Electric Department “upgraded aging infrastructure and added new infrastructure,” the mayor said, adding that the city has taken advantage of the drought by conducting major repairs on its hydroelectric plant. Parts that have shown wear or weakness were repaired, cleaned and replaced.

Blanton also recognized the Rock Falls Community Development Corp. for its work in improving the riverfront.

“The RFCDC is also very busy working with retail and industrial development,” he said. “In the early spring they will be meeting with the uptown businesses to discuss what their thoughts are on a direction for the future of their business district.”

Last year, the city agreed to pay $20,000 for the rights to a segment of “Today in America with Terry Bradshaw” that was intended to focus on education, recreation, tourism and other quality-of-life aspects of Rock Falls.

Crews filmed in spots throughout the city in July. Blanton said the promotional documentary will air on television this summer.

Blanton also noted the city received $330,000 from the Illinois Department of Housing Urban Development Single Family Owner Occupied grant, which will be used to update eight homes over the next 2 years.

He also recognized City Administrator Robbin Blackert for her work in preparing the 2012-13 budget. Her first bond refinancing will save the city $30,000 over the life of the bond, he said.

Blanton said he wanted residents to know the city works hard to keep “reliable services available for you.”

“At City Hall, you have the city administration team of staff and elected officials working very hard to assure that we live within our means.”

To read the address

Go to rockfalls61071.com to read Mayor David Blanton's full State of the City address.

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