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By Hannah Kibler
After holding a public hearing, the Cerro Gordo Village Board voted to pass an ordinance adopting an Official Comprehensive Plan of the Village of Cerro Gordo at its Dec. 17 board meeting.
The comprehensive plan is required in order for the town to move forward with plans to implement a Business District, a program that will utilize local sales taxes to raise funds which will then be reinvested towards infrastructure improvement and promoting local business growth.
The program will add one percent to the existing sales tax on most items within the designated district.
Although board members must wait for the county to receive the official plan before it can become effective, the board anticipates approval of the Business District to be on next month’s agenda, meaning the added sales tax could go into effect as early as February.
“We are going to start contacting developers to see if they would be interested in opening a business” said Mayor Brad Williams, noting that this could include businesses such as local car washes or chain restaurants.
With the board voting to approve an ordinance allowing video gaming last month, board members looked at other future revenue possibilities that can be used for town improvement. Although it may be at least another five months before the machines will be installed, Williams pointed out that the October report for gaming machines found that statewide each machine averaged $98 in revenue per month for municipalities. And with gaming laws allowing up to five machines in designated establishments, this could mean a considerable increase in revenue for the village’s general fund, which can be used for anything including parks, sidewalks, or donations.
Lower energy costs
Williams also reported that the village could expect energy savings in the coming month due to the aggregate energy referendum approved in November.
The cooperative which is comprised of 55 central Illinois towns, received the lowest bid from Homefield Energy. And while residents are currently paying $.056 per kilowatt hour, new rates will drop to $.04009, translating to a 28.41% savings.
“I’m excited; you’re looking at an average of $15 in savings each month per household. With roughly 600 households that about $9,000 in savings a month for the town.” said Williams. However in the case that any residents would want to choose a different energy supplier; citizens can expect two letters from Good Energy (the town’s energy consultant) before Jan. 4 giving them the chance to opt out.
In other news, School Board Treasurer Rodd Runyen addressed the board about a possible donation for the high school’s post prom. The board voted to donate $750 toward the program which will be taking place at the Mattoon YMCA this year. It will include safe and entertaining activities such as sports and games along with food and prizes for students.
“I think it’s a good program, it helps keep kids safe.” said Williams.