Mount Carroll Voted One of Top 15 Small Towns; CDC Presentation
By JOHN HUGGINS | For The Prairie Advocate News
MOUNT CARROLL – Mayor Pro Tem Doug Bergren presided over the January 22 Mount Carroll City Council meeting in the absence of Mayor Carl Bates. Since Monday was a holiday, committee meetings originally scheduled for Monday, January 21 were held at 6:00 pm prior to the 7:30 pm meeting on Tuesday.
During the meeting it was announced that Mount Carroll was voted into the top 15 finalists in the Budget Travel Magazine’s “America’s Coolest Small Towns.” Alderman Mike Risko encouraged everyone to vote once a day, every day. You can vote for Mount Carroll by going to www.budgettravel.com and click on the link for “America’s Coolest Small Towns 2013” under “Contests” and then click on “Mount Carroll IL” to cast your vote.
“We can do this, but we all have to get involved,” stated Risko. “Please get your family and friends, send them the website so all they have to do is click on it. If we get into Budget Magazine’s top five, we’re going to get a lot of visitors to say ‘what’s this town all about.’”
Lou Schau, on behalf of the Community Development Corporation (CDC), passed out a 13 page document and gave a presentation to the council. The CDC is a 401(c)6 corporation that was incorporated in February 2001. There are currently 14 board members and many volunteers working on a number of projects. There are no paid employees.
The CDC has been involved with many projects throughout the community. They helped with the redevelopment of Timber Lake Resort and Campgrounds. They, along with the City, worked to bring the Whiteside/Carroll Enterprise Zone to four businesses. They assisted the City in creating the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District. The CDC helped in securing a $180,000 grant to establish a revolving loan fund.
They have started a beautification program that plants and maintains flowers throughout the community, and started the memorial bench program. They designed and obtained state approval for the directional signs. Many other achievements were listed.
Among them was the completion of the restoration of the main floor of the burned-out Kraft building and continued renovations to the second floor. The building is now open seven days a week. It houses the community Welcome Center and public restrooms.
Besides being the home of 28 unique vendors, a health food store, and a coffee shop/bistro, the building is also the location for Open Mic Night held the second Thursday of every month, as well as, other events.
Bergren stated, “If anybody has never attended Open Mic Night, you’d be amazed at the incredible talent that we have in this area.”
Schau stated in a later interview, “I just wanted to set the record straight on what the CDC has accomplished. People tend to think of us as just the Kraft building. They forget all the other things we have achieved.
“I wanted the council to know how important their funding the CDC is to the community,” continued Schau. “We did finally receive funding, but I believe they are one year in arrears.”
At the previous council meeting, the consensus was to get quotes to see what the cost would be to have a forensic audit of City funds done. In a correspondence from Mayor Bates, he asked the council members for guidance as to which accounts they would like included in the audit, as well as what their expectations were, so that he could get more accurate bids. He also asked that all requests for the audit be put in writing.
Bergren added that he would guess they would want a specific timeframe as well. The aldermen agreed to set the deadline for the next finance meeting on February 11.
In Other Business
Passed two resolutions regarding TIF fund allocations.
- announced that Bella Food & Spirits has reopened.
- Held that a new business, Brick Street Salon, has opened.
- Letter received from American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) requesting a fee payment.
Voted to approve amended contract with Moring Disposal with the fee for the City dumpster removed, but the contract is extended from three to five years with an increase not to exceed 3% in years four and five.