Morris City Council extends outdoor dining ordinance

Dining on sidewalks, select parking spots and alleys through Sept. 14

MORRIS – There will continue to be outdoor dining in Morris.

The Morris City Council on Monday night approved an ordinance amending previous city ordinances to allow for the extension of outdoor dining on city sidewalks, limited on-street parking stalls and alleys within the city of Morris.

In response to the COVID-19 restrictions last year, the City Council approved an ordinance for outdoor dining and then extended it through October because the Corn Festival was canceled. This year’s ordinance will extend the outdoor dining until Sept. 14.

“Last year, we extended the ordinance into October because Corn Festival was canceled,” Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said at his last evening City Council meeting. “This year, all indications are that Corn Festival will be held, so the outdoor dining ordinance is until Sept. 14. If things change, then the ordinance can be amended as well.”

In other action from the Judiciary and License Committee, the council approved the following business licenses:

• Edgar Serna, doing business as D&L Plumbing LLC, 212 Adams St., Apt. 2, to operate a plumbing and construction business.

• Jimmy Poole Jr., doing business as Jimmy D’s Quick Lube, 1400 Park Blvd., to operate a quick lube business.

• Fisher Auto Parts Inc., 1861 Division St., to operate a wholesale/retail auto parts and accessories business.

• R.P. Acquisition Corp., 2655, Sycamore Drive, to operate a farm supply retail store business.

First Ward Alderman Jake Duvick said Jimmy D’s Quick Lube will be reopening the quick lube business at BP West and that R.P. Aquisition Corp. purchased Stock and Field and will continue to operate the store as Stock and Field.

Earlier in the meeting, City Clerk and budget officer Carol Adair, also in her final evening City Council meeting, read through the proposed annual budget ordinance for fiscal 2022, which begins May 1 and ends April 30, 2022. She said the estimated budgeted revenues are $38,680,796, $55,851,119 in expenditures, with a cash balance of $6,205,981 at the end of the next fiscal year. She also noted that the increase in the water bills are on a rotating cycle every three years – a zero-percent increase, a 3% increase and a 6% increase – and that this year is one with a 6% increase.

The City Council approved a request from Morris Elementary School District 54 to use the band shell at Goold Park from 5:30 to 8 p.m. May 25 for the eighth grade graduation ceremony and to close Northern Avenue between Lisbon Street and the Morris Pool to allow for staging of the students. District 54 has set a graduation ceremony rain date of May 27.

“District 54 did the same thing with their graduation ceremony last year, and it worked out great,” Kopczick said.

The council also approved a request from the Morris Retail Association to place four special event food vendors on various city street corners as part of its annual Girls Night Out event May 7.

The Finance and Administration Committee offered several recommendations in the form of motions, and all were approved by an 8-0 vote:

• That the council adopt an ordinance approving the annual budget and wage schedule for fiscal 2022.

• That the council authorize Kopczick to enter into an agreement with Narvick Bros. for remodeling the police report writing room.

• That the council adopt an ordinance authorizing execution of an agreement between the city of Morris and Metropolitan Alliance of Police Morris Police Chapter 63 from May 1, 2021, to April 30, 2024.

• That the council pass an inducement resolution between the city of Morris and Venture One LLC.

• That the council pass an inducement resolution between the city of Morris and Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc.

• That the council pass an inducement resolution between the city of Morris and CP Morris Land LLC and Clarius Partners LLC.

• That the council adopt an ordinance authorizing execution of a renewal of the city’s health and dental insurance with BlueCross BlueShield for fiscal 2022.

Kopczick said the inducement resolutions are not binding agreements but are in place for those companies to be able to begin construction if they purchase the land near the Interstate 80 and Brisbin Road interchange.

The Street and Alley Committee recommended that the council adopt an ordinance authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation for maintenance and apportionment of energy costs for traffic control devices on state highways within the city of Morris. The motion passed, 8-0.

Kopczick said this is a 10-year extension on the current agreement for the traffic signals on Routes 6 and 47.

The Water and Sewer Committee recommended that the council authorize Kopczick to enter into an agreement with Stewart Spreading for hauling and pressing of sludge from the East and Central waste water treatment plants. Kopczick said that between the two plants, there are about 1.5 million gallons of sludge and that it will cost 4 cents a gallon to haul the sludge and 6½ cents a gallon to press it, bringing the total cost to $125,000. Committee Chairman Duane Wolfe also announced that there will be a bid opening in the City Council chambers at 10 a.m. May 6 for the sanitary sewer extension project to go north on Route 47 to the Procter & Gamble site.

Before adjourning until at 10 a.m. May 3, the aldermen thanked Carol Adair for her work over the years as city clerk.

Rob Oesterle

Rob has been a sports writer for the Morris Herald-News and Joliet Herald-News for more than 20 years. He is currently also writing news for the Morris Herald-News.