Harrisburg City Council approved a tax levy, a deal to buy Dorris Heights Ball Field for the school and heard some good news about insurance rates during a brief Thursday night meeting.
With little discussion council approved a 4.99 percent levy to generate a total levy amount of $1,518,300. Of that $600,000 will go to the police pension fund $260,200 to workmen's compensation, $220,000 to the fire pension fund, $175,000 to the insurance and tort liability fund and $120,000 to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
Council voted to spend $100,000 from funds remaining in the expiring Tax Increment Finance District to allow the Harrisburg Community Unit School District No. 3 to purchase Dorris Heights Ball Field from the Harrisburg Township Park District.
"This is just a great way we can support our school district," Public Properties Commissioner Dale Fowler said.
Mayor Ron Crank believes he knows an appropriate name for the ball field.
"One thing I'd like to see done is see that it's named Thompson Field since he's taken care of it for years," Crank said.
Jay Thompson is the Harrisburg High School baseball coach who has seen to mowing and maintenance of the field.
The city has created a new Downtown TIF District to encompass the downtown and areas along the new state Route 13 bypass. That TIF District caps the amount of property tax the schools will receive to their current level for 23 years. As businesses improve and new businesses move in the property tax is expected to increase with that amount of increase going into the Downtown TIF fund for infrastructure improvement.
Insurance Agent Jim Williams told council the annual premium for general, public official, law enforcement and auto liability insurance is down by about $3,000. The amount paid in 2012 to 2013 was $156,725 and the amount to be paid in 2013 to 2014 was $153,618.
Williams said he and insurance salesman Bill Ghent were tasked in 1977 by Harrisburg Mayor John Cummins to find a way to help the city fund insurance. They created the Governmental Interinsurance Exchange starting out with $1.5 million and that now has $45 million. Williams described the exchange as a cross between a stock company and mutual fund that is owned by the policy holders.
Fowler noted city hall will be closed Dec. 24, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 and gave thanks to city workers who cleared snow in the city.
"One of the workers said he'd worked 20 consecutive hours," Fowler said.
Council entered a brief closed session to discuss contract negotiations, litigation and personnel, but took no action once reentering open session.