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Pritzker signs Central Illinois Regional Airport and District 87 waiver bills

Gov. JB Pritzker has signed two bills into law that specifically help two taxing bodies in McLean County.

Among the more than 90 measures the Democratic governor signed into law on Friday, one measure expands the Central Illinois Regional Airport's tax base beyond Bloomington-Normal, and another allows District 87 schools to acquire property without a public referendum.

Airport authority

The Illinois legislature approved creation of the Central Illinois Regional Airport Authority in May. It would replace the Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority as the airport's governing body and add all of McLean County to the airport's tax rolls.

Airport authority chair Alan Sender has said the expanded tax base is necessary to help it prepare for unexpected funding cutbacks and give the airport flexibility for unforeseen development opportunities. They say this will lead to a property tax cut for Bloomington-Normal taxpayers.

State Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, sponsored the bill which passed mostly along party lines.

Mayors in rural McLean County opposed the new tax for their residents, saying they make up a small percentage of the airport’s travelers.

CIRA's revamped seven-member board will include three county residents from outside Bloomington-Normal.

District 87

Pritzker also signed a bill that grants the Bloomington public school system a waiver to buy property to expand early childhood education.

District 87 Superintendent David Mouser has said the district has a pre-K waiting list due to a lack of space and would like to double capacity. Mouser has said the district has available funds for a new building and will not need to raise taxes.

District 87 runs its early childhood program out of Sarah Raymond School on West Olive Street.

The district would like to expand its career and technical education programs.

Mouser has said the district was waiting on the legislation before entering negotiations on property acquisition. The district has indicated a vacant building State Farm owns on East Oakland Avenue is one option.

Koehler sponsored the measure, along with state Rep. Sharon Chung, D-Bloomington. The bill passed mostly along party lines in the Illinois House.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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