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Local

Utica tax rate expected to drop

Utica is poised to have one of the lowest tax rates in the county.

Trustees approved the 2018 tax levy Wednesday, which will slightly lower the village's portion of homeowners' tax bills next year.

Utica Village Attorney Herb Klein told the board the Equalized Assessed Evaluation was up $2,316,365 from the 2017 figure of $41,286,619.

The board agreed to place on file the tax rate at 0.13775 percent, which is slightly lower than the rate from last year of 0.13856 percent.

Klein said, with the change, he believes Utica will now have either the first or second lowest municipality rate in La Salle County.

In other business, Public Works Director Curt Spayer informed the board his crew has begun repair and clean-up work on the Illinois-Michigan Canal Towpath, which was OKd by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources just a few weeks ago.

"We have filled potholes and have done other maintenance along our portions of the towpath and we plan to make it look pretty (nice) for the next season," he said.

Spayer told the trustees planned culvert work under Route 178 south of Water Street will begin after the area is dried out followed by a stretch of better weather.

Mayor David Stewart announced the Village Greenhouse and Roxie's Sweet Confections placed first and second in the annual Christmas business decoration contest.

Village Engineer Kevin Heitz said the crushed guardrail at the intersection of Route 178 and Richard Hallet Road will be replaced in the near future by Northern Contracting at a cost of $4,835,44. The village expenses are expected to be recovered by insurance companies of the drivers who caused the damage earlier in the year.

In other business, the board passed:

A state-mandated amendment to its sexual harassment policy.

A payment of $234,377.16 to Advanced Asphalt for the recently completed Johns Street project.

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