Rockford saves with benefit changes, invests in industrial park feasibility

At its Nov. 26 meeting, the Rockford City Council covered a number of issues, including employee health benefits, utility infrastructure at a new industrial park and sewer line televising.

STAFF INSURANCE

Rockford City Administrator Nancy Carswell presented a new health insurance benefits plan for city employees. The city was facing a 23 percent increase in policy costs, and staff investigated options.

A co-op provider with Blue Cross coverage was proposed at a lower rate. The employee Health Savings Plan was also addressed. The council approved the plan change, 4-0, and annual contributions to employee health savings accounts of $500 for single and $1,000 for family.

The council, accounting for an increase in line with what it’s seen in recent years, budgeted for a 15 percent increase, so this switch will represent a savings to the city.

INDUSTRIAL PARK FEASIBILITY

City staff has been communicating with a business that currently leases space in the city’s industrial park (Millennium Park) but would like to expand and stay in Rockford. Staff has also been working with a developer that has expressed interest in developing the city’s second industrial area, south of Highway 55 and west of County Road 32, as well as in building a facility to meet the needs of the company that would like to expand.

About six years ago, the council made strides in preparing for a second industrial park, even obtaining a grant for an intersection reconstruction. That project was put on hold but may be viable now, and Carswell relayed that the information about the costs of utilities and an improved intersection is something the developer needs to make a decision about moving forward. This information may be used in future grant efforts regarding start-up utility costs, some paying as much as 50 percent on utility infrastructure for an industrial park site.

The council approved the amount requested for the Rockford Industrial Park Utilities and Intersection Feasibility Report.

In other utility news, Rockford Public Works Supervisor Dennis Peterson reported that his department was looking at an aggressive schedule for televising and ordering work for sewer lines in the Maplewood Manor development. Private lines will be televised in January, with the expectation of getting bids for the city’s portion of the project as early as February. Reports regarding findings in the private lines will be identified by lot number and not name. Cracks and root damage will be assessed and property owners will be notified of what kind of repairs they will need to make and by when.

Peterson added that the Public Works Department was ready for winter but that, “Every day we don’t have snow isn’t breaking our hearts.”

In closing, the city has several holiday events planned in the next couple of weeks, including Crow River Christmas (www.crowriverchristmas.org) on Dec. 7 with communitywide events and transportation, The Stork House Formal Christmas Tea Dec. 14, and the annual toy drive with distribution of both food and toys scheduled for Dec. 15 at the Rockford Fire Station. The last day to drop off toys or money is Dec. 13.

Donations will be accepted at the Rockford City Hall and other sites, including area businesses and churches. Check the city’s website, www.cityofrockford.org, for a list of participating locations.

The next regular meeting of the Rockford City Council is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Rockford City Hall, 6031 Main St.

up arrow