After several meetings, the Fairbury City Council agreed to finalize the plat of a new addition to the City, annexing roughly three and a half acres to the City of Fairbury on the northwest side of E Street.
The annexation process began in September, and has been a major topic of discussion at each meeting since, leading to a push to examine the possibility of annexing the properties west of Wal-Mart. Bob Brackle owns the land approved for annexation, he also serves as the chairperson for the Fairbury Planning and Zoning Committee. During the Sept. 19 meeting, he shared his discontent over the issue.
“Nobody wants to have anything annexed,” said Brackle. “Three and a half acres is what it is. The planning commission reviewed it and all voted ‘no’ not to do it at the time, which I thought was a great suggestion. Everything on 27th Street, north is completely developed, and nobody’s ever annexed it. In my mindset, it’s very unfair to try to annex someone in who hasn’t even turned dirt yet, who hasn’t even got a house. You have properties up there (north of 27th Street), there’s no vacant lots and no one’s been annexed.”
Brackle went on to explain that of the 32 acres on the property he owns, he was willing to annex those three and a half acres to the City of Fairbury as a way to support the City of Fairbury.
“This is the right thing to do,” Brackle said.
Councilman Doug Brown, during the same meeting, echoed Brackle’s concern, explaining that other areas should be considered for annexation to the City of Fairbury.
“When I look at Area 12 (Brackle’s property) it looks far more agricultural to me than a lot of other areas we have that have not been annexed,” said Brown. “I just don’t understand why we’re picking on Area 12 when there’s other things that are a lot more prevalent to me.”
After being read at three council meetings, the ordinance for annexation was adopted and the plat was finalized during the city council meeting on Oct. 17.
Another issue discussed during the Oct. 17 meeting was a collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police. Councilman Roger Bailey questioned the effects of the agreement on the budget. This agreement, City Administrator Collin Bielser explained, would allow wage rates to increase seven percent for members of the police union this year. Per the agreement, wages would then raise 2.5 percent in the following year. Those increases put the budget for the Fairbury Police Department at between $930,000 and $950,000 for the year.
Also set forth in the agreement, the City of Fairbury would pay 95 percent of health insurance, leaving employees to pay the remaining five percent. The city would also pay 88 percent of family health insurance. Council members voted unanimously to approve the agreement.
Also during the meeting, Bielser reported that the city was able to lock in an interest rate of 2.52 percent for the $1.5 million bond issued for the pool project. Councilman Phil Rogge also congratulated fellow Councilman Rick Carmichael for being inducted into the Police Officers’ Association Hall of Fame.