The Savanna City Council approved increasing the IEPA loan amounts for both the water and sewer portions of the Wacker Road project, ensuring flexibility for all costs, at the council’s November 13th meeting.

Community Funding and Planning’s Sharon Pepin explained that the city passed two ordinances for loan authorization for IEPA loans, one for water/sewer and the other for sewer improvement.  These will pay for the work to be done on Wacker Road as part of that overall project.  The amounts were initially to take care of the water and sewer mains only, as the roadways were being financed by IDOT monies and EDA grant monies.  

The anticipated construction date came and went, with the city now looking at next year for a target start time, Pepin said, due to a long review time by IDOT. In reviewing the rising construction costs, Pepin said she consulted with Superintendent of Public Works John Lindeman and MSA Engineering’s Jared Fluhr on how to maximize these grant monies and forgivable loans.  

“I said to Jared we need to take the average cost of whatever roadway restoration works might be necessary on the water side and sewer side and add those as part of the water and sewer loan project,” Pepin said. She said this would maximize the EDA grant and give the city flexibility to “maneuver some of the pay items” when cost estimates come in.  The maximum authorizing amount set by the original ordinance will therefore need to be increased in a new ordinance to give them this flexibility. The original project amount, which only included the roadway and sidewalks, was about 3 million dollars whereas now it is about a 5.5-million-dollar project, which now includes the water and sewer components, Pepin said.  

Subtracting all the monies from grants and forgivable loans, Pepin said she thought the city’s portion of the total costs would run about $600,000.

The council approved ordinances (waiving the second reading) which will allow the city to increase the maximum amount of money to be borrowed from these particular loans.  The water loan amount will go up by $350,000 and the sewer loan amount will go up by $250,000.

The project will transform the present road into an 80,000-pound road.  Also, the city plans to replace the entire water main from Penn Avenue to Viaduct, as well as take the main from underneath the road surface and into the right of way.  The project will also redo the gravity sewer from an eight inch to a ten-inch pipe, as well as eliminating associated sewer force mains.


The council approved a letter requesting TIF funds from James Bratta, which detailed Bratta’s intention to purchase the property at 613 Broderick Drive with the intention of enhancing tourism in Savanna.  Mr. Bratta also intends to renovate the property.

Two more businesses that are already in the TIF assistance process had ordinances approved which approved redevelopment agreements between themselves and the city.

BV Prowant, LLC, which is renovating the old KFC/Taco Bell building at 44 Main Street, will receive $53,000 in TIF funds over a period of ten years from the city, provided they adhere to the conditions of the redevelopment agreement.

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William Parks, who owns Keyhole Ink Studios at 519 Main Street, and is also renovating that property, will receive $5,987 over a period of three years from the city per the conditions of the agreement.

Both of these ordinances were approved on first reading, with the second and final one to follow at the next meeting.

Manny’s Pizza is purchasing the area directly behind TBK Bank and Manny’s at the end of Madison Street in order to transform it into parking space and as such, a resolution to induce redevelopment of this area was approved unanimously by the council.


Alderman Samantha Ritchie reported on the upcoming November 23rd Christmas Walk, which will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown Savanna.  She said this year the Chamber was requesting that Third and Adams to Third and Jefferson and the adjoining alleyway be closed off for the event, due to concerns from the person contracted to supply the traditional horse drawn carriage regarding the safety of her horses.  The proposed route would begin on Adams, circle back through Third Street and continue on to Jefferson, through the alley and back to Adams.  Passengers would load at the Savanna Chiropractic Center. After discussion, the council approved a use agreement blocking off the area from Washington and Third to Madison and Third, as well as the associated alleyway, pursuant to a suggestion from Chief Dimmick.


The council also:

Voted to award city employees of more than six months a bonus of $200.00, with those having worked less than six months receiving $100.00.

Approved allocating up to $1,000.00 for an appraisal of the old sewer treatment plant site, done in conjunction with the Savanna Park District.

Voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the Personnel Committee to hire Sarah Rubio as the city’s bookkeeper, at a rate of $16.00 per hour.

The city’s annual financial audit, done by Winkel, Parker and Foster, resulted in one negative finding, a “significant” deficiency (the less serious of the two types of potential deficiencies), in the realm of not enough segregation of duties, which is common in small communities. This is often caused, as is the case with Savanna, by not having enough funds to hire enough employees to alleviate the problem.

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