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City to vote on deputy fire chief’s contract

Addition to Whiteside enterprise zone, ash borer action plan also on the agenda

ROCK FALLS – City Council members are slated to vote tonight to continue an agreement allowing Rock Falls Deputy Fire Chief Gary Cook to continue to serve as Sterling’s fire chief until April 30, 2014.

Sterling now pays Rock Falls $3,811 a month for Cook’s service, Rock Falls City Administrator Robbin Blackert said. The new contract includes a 2 percent increase in Sterling’s monthly payment.

The joint relationship “has been a success,” Blackert said. “We see it being successful in the future.”

She and Rock Falls Mayor David Blanton also have been meeting regularly with Sterling Mayor Skip Lee and City Manager Scott Shumard to discuss cooperation in other areas.

Included in those talks is a 20-year equipment purchase plan, Blackert said.

“We want to move forward with that,” she said. “Both sides see what a benefit it is. I really see that as being a huge part of this.”

Also tonight, the council will vote to expand the Whiteside County Enterprise Zone to include a new convenience store and gas station to be built in Morrison.

Morrison resident Mike Cozzie plans to build the business on 0.67 acres of land south of the Morrison Institute of Technology on state Route 78. The $700,000-plus project will result in four full-time jobs, Whiteside County Enterprise Zone Administrator Betty Steinert said.

The Sterling City Council approved the addition at its meeting yesterday.

Also tonight, the Rock Falls council is expected to approve its emerald ash borer action plan, which calls for the city to inventory all its ash trees and put them in a database. All trees on city property will be marked with green paint or green ribbon. Infested trees will be marked with green and red paint.

Owners of ash trees on private property will be notified.

The city will follow Department of Agriculture recommendations for treatment, removal and disposal of infected trees. Those that need to be removed will be replaced with trees recommended by the Department of Agriculture or Department of Natural Resources.

The plan also includes educating the community on the pest’s impact.

To attend

The Rock Falls City Council meets at 6:30 tonight at City Hall, 603 W. 10th St. The meeting also will air live on Comcast Channel 5.

Go to City Hall, or call 815-622-1100 for an agenda and more information.

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