Village hopes to partner with schools to spearhead new-home construction

RANTOUL — There aren’t many new houses going up in Rantoul these days. The village of Rantoul hopes to change that.

The village board is planning to vote on what it hopes is the joint adoption of a housing incentive program with the Rantoul Township High School and Rantoul City Schools districts, designed to spur construction of more new housing in the community.

The measure was placed on the agenda for this week’s monthly village board meeting and will also be presented to the school boards of RCS and RTHS for their consideration.

“The school boards will still have to have their meetings,” village Economic Development Director Rebecca Motley told the village board at last week’s study session.

“If the schools vote not to do it, we don’t have to proceed with it.”

Under terms of the program, for any new construction of a residential structure or any improvement to an existing residential structure costing more than 25 percent of the equalized assessed value of the structure, the village will abate or rebate the increased property taxes for the property for five consecutive years.

One hundred percent of the rebate will go to the property owner the first three years; then it will decreased to 66 percent in year four and 33 percent in year five.

The program would affect single-family and multi-family residential units.

South Pointe rezoning
In other business, the board was asked to rezone a 26-acre tract at the northwest corner of Chandler Road and South Century Boulevard in the South Pointe subdivision from aviation support district to R-3 (single-family duplex residential district).

The proposal was recommended by the village planning and zoning commission.

Public works Director Greg Hazel said the amended zoning means the property could be used for either farming or residential.

Currently the property is an open field, Hazel said, “just grass to be mowed” that is owned by South Pointe Commons Development.

Jenny Park, attorney for Mayer-Capel, Champaign, said in answer to a question of how deep plows would go if the property is farmed, it would be 10-12 inches.

That information was needed because of possible easements beneath the property.

The board was also asked to confirm two appointments — Jim Smith to the Micro Loan and Revolving Loan committees for a term to expire in 2019, and Kathy Bergeron to the Citizens Advisory Committee for a term to expire in 2018.

Water rate changes
The board was also asked to change the water rates of those commercial customers that are equipped with 1-, 1 1/2- or 2-inch water meters.

Village Administrator Jeff Fiegenschuh said some commercial users use less water than many residential users, yet are charged the commercial rate of $51 a month.
Under the change, the businesses that are equipped with the smaller water meters would be billed the residential rate of $17.74 a month.

Hiring requested
The board was asked to approve the hiring of a grants/community development block grant manager.

CDBG Director Mike Loschen resigned his position in the spring, and his duties had been assumed by other village employees.

Fiegenschuh said it became “very clear we really need to get somebody in that position and someone who is fairly aggressive” to go after grant money.

Vehicle purchases
The board was asked to approve the purchase of several vehicles, including:

— A Ford 350 electric division service vehicle (pickup truck) to replace a 1995 Ford pickup with 129,000 miles for $34,694 from Shields Auto Group.

— A Ford 250 sewer/lift station service vehicle for $34,566 from Shields Auto Group.

— A Public Works administration vehicle, replacing a 2004 Ford Explorer for $28,127 from Shields Auto Group. The truck body will be priced and installed separately.

— The chassis for a water service vehicle, replacing a 2000 model vehicle that has 122,000 miles on it, for $28,127 from Shields Auto Group.

— Two police department SUVs, one an administration vehicle and one a marked patrol vehicle at a cost of $46,252. Asked by village trustee Rich Medlen why the department always buys SUVs, Lt. Jeff Wooten said because they more easily hold all of the required police equipment and are easier for the equipment-laden officers, several of whom are in the 6-4 to 6-5 height range, to get in and out of. Wooten said it also means the department can move the equipment from the former vehicle to the new one at little additional cost. Retrofitting a different-sized vehicle could cost about $10,000 apiece, Wooten said.



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MasseyDT wrote on June 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Yea, that's brilliant! Let's build new houses when we can't sell any of the existing houses for sale because Rantoul has ridiculous taxes and no amenities to offer. Then let's offer tax abatements on said new properties so when the school districts need more money it only effects the owners of "old" homes. Where do these people come up with these ridiculous ideas!?

yordenn wrote on July 10, 2017 at 1:07 am