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City to buy surveillance system for Coliseum

STERLING – The City Council agreed Monday to buy a $58,575 video surveillance system to help protect officers and staff as part of its Coliseum upgrade.

The money will come from the part of the project budget set aside for furniture and equipment, City Manager Scott Shumard said.

Security in public places has become a more prominent issue, he noted.

“We’ve had shootings at school board meetings; you have people that are more concerned about angry citizens coming in over higher utility bills; our neighbors to the south are putting in bulletproof glass to beef up their security,” he said. “I don’t think it’s completely unusual for us to have cameras at this point.”

The Rock Falls City Council last month approved spending up to $125,000 to renovate the city’s utility office. Bulletproof glass and security cameras are being installed, and a 6-foot opening will be created to replace the door, so employees can see who is coming in and what is going on, officials have said.

Shumard said he expects the Coliseum renovation will be completed by the end of the year.

Also Monday night, the council held a public hearing on its 2013-14 budget, in which the general fund is “almost exactly balanced at this point,” Shumard said.

Most of the city’s 28 funds are balanced – in fact, minus the Coliseum expenditures, the budget is balanced, he said.

“The overall budget, it’s a $31 million budget, if you look at the bottom line, it’s going to look like a deficit budget because we’re still spending money on the Coliseum.”

The council is expected to approve the budget at its April 15 meeting.

Council sends Ybarra's request to Plan Commission

STERLING – A developer who who has been trying for 7 years to bring a private sports complex to town has asked for an extension of his special-use permit.

Monday, City Council members voted to send that request to the Plan Commission. It next meets April 18, although it is not guaranteed the request will make the agenda.

Larry Ybarra had until April 16 to break ground on the project or he would lose the R1 special use designation he earned for its construction a year to the day before. He is asking for an extension until Jan. 1.

Ybarra envisions a multimillion-dollar facility that would include a football field surrounded by an eight-lane track, soccer fields, and a 4,500-seat stadium, and later, a baseball complex. Ybarra wants to build the complex at the northeast corner of Oak Grove Avenue and West 23rd Street, off West Lynn Boulevard.

In February, Ybarra told Sauk Valley Media he estimates the project will cost $6 million. His goal was to raise $2 million of that on his own through investors. At the time, he said he was nowhere near raising that amount.

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