April 23, 2017 Fair, 44F

Council waives building permit fee for Resthave

MORRISON – The city council voted Monday to waive a building permit fee for Resthave Nursing & Retirement Home. It also agreed to the construction costs of extending a bike path toward Rockwood State Park.

The retirement home requested a waiver of a $37,635 building permit fee that was stipulated for a $7.5 million expansion project.

The council voted 6-2 to waive the fee, with Guy Hayenga and Sarah Thorndike casting dissenting votes.

The city fee schedule stipulates that a $35 basic fee and $5 per $1,000 of value thereafter be collected. In a memo submitted to the council by City Administrator Jim Wise, city staff recommended the council not approve the waiver.

Jerry Lindsey, a Resthave board member, requested the waiver be approved, noting that the expansion will add 30 full-time jobs. The neighboring communities of Fulton, Byron, Princeton, Dixon, Oregon and Sterling don’t charge building permit fees that high for a $7.5 million project, he said.

“That fee is excessive,” he said.

When the city wrote the building codes, it contacted neighboring cities and found Morrison’s fees were relatively lower, Thorndike said.

Wise told the council it also could reduce the fee, but it chose not to vote on doing so.

The city also will take ownership of Resthave’s water supply lines, at the retirement home’s request. Mayor Roger Drey broke a 4-4 tie. Leo Sullivan, Pat Zuidema, Marti Wood and Scott Connelly voted for the motion. Dave Rose, Hayenga, Michael Blean and Thorndike voted against it.

In a letter to Drey, Resthave Administrator Tami Tegeler said that city ownership of the water system would allow the home to follow Illinois Environmental Protection Agency guidelines and install a water main and new fire hydrants more easily.

The council motion is contingent on the granting of easements, a maintenance agreement stating that the retirement home is responsible for repairs, and an inspection and approval by the city engineer.

Extending the bike path

The council also approved with a 6-2 vote extending a bike path toward Rockwood State Park by nearly a mile.

The city will have to pay $256,000, but will be reimbursed for 80 percent of it through an Illinois Department of Natural Resources grant it voted in June 2011 to accept.

Friends of the Park has raised $59,085 for the project, member Ann Slavin said.

“That relieved the city of having to spend any revenue on this project,” Wise said.

The extension once was projected to cost $390,700. It’s lower now because the city asked that several tasks be reclassified from “contracted bid” to “donated labor and/or material,” Wise said.

The state approved the request for the reclassifications, Wise said.

Among the services or materials to be donated are erosion control, brush and tree removal, culvert and gravel placement, seeding and restoration.

The path would be four-fifths of a mile, linking the covered bridge over Rock Creek north of Morrison to Damen Road, which is near the state park.

Work will begin within 2 weeks and last 75 to 90 days, Wise said. The land must be flattened and grated before the path extension is laid, he said.

The path extension will benefit Morrison economically, Wise said.

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