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Budget passage on deck for Normal Town Council


The Normal Town Council will take up a proposed $158 million budget next week. It's slightly larger than the preliminary budget that came out in January with the $251,000 increase coming from the addition of a third town attorney and an increase in sewer equipment and vehicle money.

The final proposed budget also eliminates the National Fitness Project. Council members balked at that parks and recreation initiative when it came out the contractor that would provide an app and online service connected to the fitness circuit installation was a for-profit institution. The spending plan also is significantly larger than last year's budget because of the addition of pandemic relief money, sales tax revenue growth, and new grant money.

Also on Monday, council members will decide whether to bump up water rates by 2%. That would increase revenues by about $187,000 per year. The average household would pay an additional 90 cents per month. There also are 2% increases planned for each of the next several years.

Zoning text amendment proposed

Town staff is suggesting Normal create rules for solar and wind energy installations. The zoning code text currently does not deal with that.

"Roof-mounted solar panels have been allowed as long as they comply with building codes. Freestanding systems (such as the solar array for the First Presbyterian Church on East College Avenue or the wind turbine at Heartland Community College) have been handled on an individual basis through the site-plan process," according to documents drafted for the council.

If the council approves next week, the Normal Planning Commission would develop rules for the types of solar and wind power installations allowed, where they can be put, design and installation requirements, setbacks, and noise-shadow-vibration-and-glare limits. There also could be procedures for decommissioning the renewable energy installations at the end of their useful lives.

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