By Todd Wineburner
The Pontiac City Council had a tax levy ordinance on its last agenda, but a lack of information from Springfield prevented a vote. Pontiac Mayor Bob Russell says pension requirements are a critical part of the process, and only part of the information is available. The city did get numbers for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, but got no information concerning police and firefighters, forcing the council to delay a vote until the next meeting. The council is required to have a levy in place before the end of the year. Police and firefighter pension numbers are expected this week, but If the numbers don’t arrive, the council will create a levy based on speculation.
The renovation of the old Livingston county courthouse is complete, and that means Pontiac officials are keeping a closer eye on downtown parking. During the construction, strict parking enforcement was impractical because of the large number of construction vehicles parked near the square. Now that the construction is over, Mayor Bob Russell says stricter parking rules will return. He says the city wants to encourage downtown business owners and employees to use the new city lots, and avoid parking in the areas where tourists and shoppers are likely to park. He says convenient parking for patrons is critical in a healthy retail environment. About 60 new spaces have been created downtown, so there should be ample parking for everyone involved. Russell says city lots will have areas for all-day parking, as well as 2-hour parking. There will be a grace period while drivers learn the new rules.
In other business, the Pontiac City council decided not to revisit the sales tax referendum that was defeated in the last election. The proposal would have offered Pontiac residents property tax abatement using funds created by a sales tax. At a meeting in November, council members considered returning it to the ballot in the spring. After this week’s meeting, however, Russell says that action won’t be pursued. Russell says some people may have voted against the referendum because they didn’t understand the property tax abatement aspect of the proposal. The measure may be revisited in the future, but there are currently no specific plans.