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Board OKs enterprise zone extension

MORRISON – The Whiteside County Board gave the go-ahead Tuesday to extend the Whiteside Carroll County Enterprise Zone to include a $4 million assisted living center being planned in Morrison.

With a 25-0 vote, it became the third board to approve the extension. Eight more entities within the zone must give the OK before the 32,000-square-foot facility can be included.

The center, being developed by HR Green Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will house 42 to 46 residents. Developers expect 40 to 60 construction jobs to be created, followed by 20 jobs at the center, at least six of which will be full time.

Inclusion in the zone will bring the company property tax abatement and other economic incentives.

The board also voted unanimously to create a clearing fund for a $250,000 state grant that will be used to create a 2-year plan for hazard mitigation, land use and economic development.

The grant is coming from federal disaster relief funds allocated to the state in the wake of severe flooding in June and July 2008.

The plan is expected to take a year to draw up, Whiteside County Economic Development Administrator Betty Steinert said.

The board also voted to lay over for a vote in July a proposal by the Whiteside County Health Department to increase fees for restaurant and septic system inspections by 10 percent.

If approved, the increases will take effect Sept. 1. They are expected to generate $8,000 a year.

The board also will:

–Seek an Illinois Department of Transportation grant to pay for a minivan and a light-duty vehicle to transport Whiteside County Senior Center residents. The center will expand its service hours to 6 p.m. effective Aug. 1, and most of the its vehicles are old enough to warrant replacement under IDOT regulations.

The center is also requesting $14,520 to buy cameras to monitor activities inside its vehicles, and $35,480 to buy new equipment for the center.

–Pay Brands Heating & Cooling $22,890 to replace seven aging furnaces in the county office engineer's office building and in the maintenance building.

–Pay Clyde Township $7,571.15, half the cost to replace drainage pipes in 2011.

State wants county to hire public transportation director

MORRISON – The state wants Whiteside County to create a position and hire someone to direct the public transportation system.

The wage and salary committee must vote to create the position, then the County Board must vote, Whiteside County Economic Development Administrator Betty Steinert said.

The state wants the county to have a liaison between the Whiteside County Senior Center, which provides transportation services, and the County Board. Steinert has filled the role so far.

"We're trying to meet what the state wants us to do," she said.

A proposal with a job description has been drawn up for the committee to review, Steinert said. The County Board is not expected to act on the proposal until August.

The salary has not yet been determined.

The person will oversee the senior center's grants and manage the transportation system, Steinert said.

"It's going to be a really good thing," she said.

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