Springfield to Sue Chatham; Kidzeum’s City Funding Snagged on State Money
Springfield to Sue Chatham; Kidzeum’s City Funding Snagged on State Money

Springfield will soon take Chatham to court over a water dispute.

Chatham brought its own water plant online last year and stopped receiving service from City Water Light and Power in May of last year. But that ran afoul of the village’s contract, which was set to expire in July of this year.

The city hired Sorling, Northrup, Hanna, Cullen and Cochran and will pay them up to $50,000. That firm is where the city’s corporation counsel, Mark Cullen, was a partner.

The two sides haven’t been able to come to an agreement on what Chatham should pay to break the contract. CWLP says it’s made several offers.

CWLP Electric Fund $5.6 Million in the Red

CWLP says its electric fund is still millions in the red — a problem it’s been battling for years, but its chief utilities engineer says there are no immediate plans for another rate hike, though he wouldn’t rule it out entirely.

“We will continue to monitor through this year,” says Hobbie. “If we need to we’ll come back, but there’s a lot of different things that may happen. There may be some requirement for some changes to the power plant with pending EPA regulations, so all those are factors that will play in. Right now we don’t have anything planned at this time.”

Hobbie says the electric fund’s negative balance comes largely from bank loans and an interfund loan between the electric and water divisions. The water division is showing a surplus.

Kidzeum TIF Money Approved, But State Must Pay Up First

TIF money has been approved for Springfield’s Kidzeum of Health and Science, but there’s a catch: the state now has to pay up its promised $1 million before the city pays its $675,000.

$1 million in state capital construction funding was promised as part of an economic development package that passed last week.

“Sometimes the state doesn’t pay (its) bills, we know that. Or they’re very slow to pay,” says Ward 2 Alderman Gail Simpson. “I don’t know that we should make our funding contingent upon what the state of Illinois does.”

Ward 7 Alderman Joe McMenamin made that change to the ordinance.

Ward 5 Alderman Sam Cahnman tried to increase the amount of city money to $939,000 to bring it in line with the former Ferry’s project at that building, but that was shot down.

“Perhaps we should have held the ordinance in committee for two weeks,” says Cahnman. “It seems to me it was justified since I was just trying to bring it up to the original amount we had appropriated for that building.”