Twin city employees see big difference in pay

The median total compensation for Urbana employees in Fiscal Year 2018-2019 is $70,739. However, the median total compensation for Champaign city employees in the same year is $114,323. In total, 21 employees in Champaign received total compensations over $200,000, while no employee in Urbana exceeded that amount.

Funds to improve quality of life for Champaign-Urbana residents insufficient

Communities eligible for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in the City of Urbana has increased, meaning the money available cannot meet the growing needs, according to a CDBG Coalition report published early this year.

Urbana is one of many cities in the nation that are part of the long-standing CDBG program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The local program is monitored by the Grants Management Division.

Urbana set to take over vacant, dilapidated hotel

The deed of the former Hanford Inn & Suites is set to be granted to the City of Urbana this week, officials said. Urbana’s city council unanimously approved the redevelopment of the longtime vacant and deteriorating Hanford Inn & Suites on Nov. 3 with a proposal to take over the ownership and then negotiate a deal with a new developer. Photo Slideshow

Click to see more pictures of the Hanford Inn

Under the proposal, the city plans to transfer the property to Kelly Dillard and Dig It of Champaign in exchange for the demolition of the building and the redevelopment of the property, which is at 2408 Cunningham Ave. As part of the plan, the city will offer up to $300,000 in reimbursement costs to Dillard to offset demolition and asbestos removal expenses.

Gov’t Watch: Urbana entices new business with incentives

After owning multiple shops in California, Laura Young moved to the Champaign-Urbana area where she met Milea Hayes. Also a store owner, Hayes found she shared an interest with Young: vintage retail. Together, the co-owners opened Bohemia, a boutique on 135 W. Main St., which offers vintage furniture, artwork and clothes. The shop debuted in November 2013. “I feel like this downtown area is growing, and we felt we fit the style of what we are doing,” Hayes said.

Gov’t Watch: Rough winter tough on area roadways and city budgets

Sari Lesk/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — After about twice the average snowfall hit Central Illinois this winter, local government bodies are increasing their budgets to address needs for road repairs. How to report potholes
City of Champaign

Email the department of public works at publicworks@ci.champaign.il.us. Use the mobile app SeeClickFix to report and send a photo of the pothole. The app allows the issue to be logged in the database. The photo helps the department decide which equipment or personnel to deploy, as well as prioritize the reported issues.

Gov’t Watch: Champaign County voters prepare to head to the polls

By Sari Lesk/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — Voters in Champaign County are about to decide who should hold power over their tax dollars. They will have their first of two opportunities in 2014 to cast votes and select county leadership by participating in the March 18 primary election, when they can make choices for Champaign County Board members. The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 4. When voters cast their ballots this year, they will be electing officials to govern the unincorporated areas within the county and hold responsibility for the county’s public facilities, as well as who will maintain certain local highways.

Unclaimed money heads to Champaign County treasurer’s office on November 30th

By Pamela G. Dempsey/CU-CitizenAccess — Dozens of Champaign County residents – past and present – are set to lose more than $12,000 total by the end of November. Known as “Abandoned Bonds,” the cash is from unclaimed money by those who posted bonds on court cases that have since been resolved. At the close of a case, bond payments are returned to a resident by check via mail to the person’s address on file, said Katie Blakeman, Champaign County Circuit Clerk. Most often for those on the list, the checks are sent back to the circuit clerk’s office because the recipient has moved. “This happens a lot with students,” Blakeman said.

Signs explaining the closed USDA offices in west Champaign, Ill. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013.

Farmers not yet hit by shutdown

Robert Holly/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

The U.S. Department of Agriculture was forced to send home tens of thousands of employees because of Tuesday’s government shutdown. As a result, the agriculture department and its nearly two dozen agencies are operating at limited capacity – or not at all. But even though important agencies such as the Farm Service Agency and the Risk Management Agency will be shut down almost entirely, agriculture officials said that Midwest farmers and producers won’t be affected that much. “If it goes a week or so, the impact is minimal,” said Mark Gebhards, executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau. “The big question is how long the shutdown lasts.”

Gebhards and other officials said that the biggest impact from the shutdown will be further delays to a farm bill resolution, which expired at the end of September.