MORRISON – The City Council on Monday chose a site for the new sewer plant that is farther away from homes than a previous site under consideration.
The plant would be on 30 acres on the west side of state Route 78, just south of the Morrison Institute of Technology.
After emerging from a half-hour closed meeting, the council unanimously voted to buy the site, owned by the Wilkens estate, for $439,000, contingent on an engineering analysis.
Last year, Morrison officials said they were considering rebuilding the wastewater treatment plant at Waterworks Park, which would take up more space and require a pond.
Nearby residents objected to the Waterworks site, saying it would hurt their property values. One of them, David Jindrich, ran for mayor largely on the platform that the city should choose another site.
In June, Mayor Everett Pannier, who took office a month before, got the council’s permission to seek offers from private landowners for a site to build the new $23 million sewer plant. Shortly after, he began talks with the Wilkens family, he said.
One of the site’s advantages, Pannier said, is that it’s away from homes.
“That’s why we felt that it was the best overall spot,” he said. “Our engineering firm told us the cost would be about the same as the Waterworks site.”
The city plans to annex the 30 acres, Pannier said.
Although much of the project likely would be financed with a loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the land would have to be bought with existing funds or a loan from somewhere else, officials said.
Also at Monday's meeting:
• Mayor Everett Pannier said 50 people have applied for the vacant city administrator's position, a list that the city has narrowed to eight, and plans to further narrow to five in the coming days.
After taking office in May, Pannier announced that he would not renew the contract for Administrator Jim Wise, who served for 2 years.
• The council approved a $75,000 loan for Coz-E Corner, a planned Conoco-branded service station and convenience store on state Route 78 on the southern edge of Morrison. The loan is for 10 years at a 3 percent interest rate. The money comes from the city's revolving loan fund, which helps job-creating businesses.
Coz-E Corner expects to employ five or six workers.
• Pannier told the council that he had been speaking with a nonprofit group and found the city may be able to get money for a demolition project. He didn't give further details.