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Council gives GCHA funds for lighting

Also approves payments to other organizations, donations to local events

The Morris City Council approved more of its annual donations to local organizations Monday, including $7,500 for the Grundy County Housing Authority.

The GCHA’s donation is from the city’s Civic Improvement Fund and will be used for lighting for the GCHA’s Saratoga Tower. CEO Brent Newman said the housing authority is going to replace the lighting in the parking lot and some inside the building, including the lighting of exit signs.

The lighting outside and the exit signs are being changed to LED lights for better efficiency. With the lighting changes, the GCHA is expected to save about $4,800 a year, he said.

With the city’s donation, and two other grants it has received, Newman said the GCHA only has to make up about $1,300.

Alderman Don Hansen asked if Grundy County is contributing. Newman said it was not and that the GCHA approached the city because Saratoga Tower is in the city limits. He said he would look into whether the county could contribute.

The city also approved donations to the Grundy County Corn Festival for $19,000, Home for the Holidays for $7,500, Morris Boys Shootout for $7,500, Morris Ladies Shootout for $7,500, and Morris Warriors Youth Football for $5,000. These donations are from the Hotel/Motel Fund.

From the General Fund, the city paid the Grundy Economic Development Council $13,636 for its annual membership dues.

In other business, the council approved going forward with the use of Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Cooperative again to find the city’s electric supplier.

In April 2011, a referendum passed to allow the city to take bids on electricity supply for the city’s residential and small commercial use through an opt-out program.

People receive their electricity bills from ComEd because ComEd is still the distributor, but the city now tells ComEd from where to get the electricity.

The city had been using NIMEC since 2007 to find suppliers for electricity at its sewage treatment plant, well pumps and other similar city uses. The council approved Mayor Richard Kopczick entering into an agreement again with NIMEC for the city’s street lighting, water towers, pumps, as well as for bids for the city’s aggregation program for its residents.

Kopczick said they are looking into getting the city’s pool serviced with the new supplier as well.

The city has saved its residents and small businesses about $1.5 million in electric power costs since switching its power supplier about 16 months ago. By grouping the city’s residents and small businesses, NIMEC took bids from about 40 suppliers and went with one that was about 35 percent lower than ComEd’s rate.

ComEd does not lose money through this process because it is still paid by the other suppliers as a distributor. Morris has 3,141 residents signed up for the program and 238 small businesses.

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