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12-19-02: Rockford officials decide not to aid business
Councilors approve motion not to buy Chevy building

The Daily Standard

    The village of Rockford abandoned a developing plan to assist a local businessman, but Kevin Ross said this morning that his downtown auto parts store could survive.
    Ross has been working with the village for a couple of months to try to arrange some sort of assistance that would allow him to keep open a new store in the former Riley Chevrolet building in downtown Rockford. A plan for the village to co-sign a loan failed to materialize but the village looked poised to buy the building and lease it back to Ross.
    A building appraisal and formal business plan were delivered to the village about a week before Tuesday's council meeting, Ross said this morning. Some council members wanted to see those items before deciding whether to proceed with the plan to buy the building.
    Ross said he went to Tuesday's meeting expecting village officials to approve the deal. Instead, he was met with silence before council unanimously passed a motion not to participate in the project.
    "It was a pretty strange meeting. Nobody said anything," Ross said, adding that he would have liked some sort of explanation from village officials.
    Members of council's community development committee also failed to appear for a scheduled committee meeting prior to the regular council meeting. That meeting had been called specifically to discuss Ross' project.
    Immediately after his rejection by the village, Ross said another opportunity presented itself.
    "The community really is coming aboard and we do have another plan," Ross said. "At this point, things are still open."
    Ross hopes to create three to five full-time jobs if the business takes off as planned. He also operates Ross Automotive in Celina and 707 Service Center outside of Rockford.
    In other business this week, council members:
    - Passed final reading of the 2003 pay ordinance that grants 2 percent raises to all village workers, except utility technician Tom Beahrs, who will get a 5 percent wage hike. Beahrs gets the higher raise because he did not get one last year.
    - Passed final reading of a resolution to retain Judy Koesters as village solicitor for 2003 at a salary of $400 per month.
    - Passed final reading of the 2003 appropriations ordinance. The $1.2 million appropriations includes $537,034 in the general fund, $201,335 in the water fund, $293,537 in the sewer fund, $189,925 in the street maintenance fund and $11,400 in the state highway fund.
    - Passed final reading of an ordinance setting up a registration process for contractors working within the village. The annual cost is $10 and contractors agree to abide by zoning regulations and to comply with local income tax laws.
    - Passed final reading of an ordinance placing the responsibility of paying utilities bills with property owners rather than tenants.


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