A large company has inquired about locating in Peru — and one of the criteria is whether the city can handle a power load equivalent to three-quarters of Peru’s entire usage.
Mayor Scott Harl thus stole the spotlight at a Wednesday mayors luncheon sponsored by Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development. The unidentified suitor apparently asked if Peru could accommodate a load of 39 megawatts, a figure that comes to 72 percent of Peru’s total usage.
Queried after a state-of-the-city address, Harl admitted he didn’t know much else about the inquiring company, which reached out through IVAC.
Marci Duro, IVAC executive director, cautioned that Peru has not made the company’s short list and continues to look at other states, and not merely Illinois.
Harl and Utica mayor Gloria Alvarado also waded into controversy, with Harl throwing his support behind a former city employee who resigned under a cloud and Alvarado expressing full support for controversial sand mine.
Alvarado, on the job all of four months, told the assembly of the 30-some jobs Utica would gain if Aramoni LLC gets board approval on a plan to quarry for industrial sands on part of 500 acres located north of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores.
Alvarado had been largely mum at an ongoing hearing on Aramoni’s petitions (the hearing resumes Jan. 25), but unprompted she said the quarry jobs would be a “wonderful addition” to Utica.
“I have my fingers crossed for that one,” she said.
Harl took a defiant tone as he mentioned Sean Mikos, an engineer who resigned in December amid a controversy over payroll improprieties in the public works department.
Mikos has not been charged with or implicated in any wrongdoing. In his wake, the department is being managed by Peru’s police and fire chiefs until a replacement is found.
Harl insisted Mikos left to pursue other opportunities and his inability to sell a home in Yorkville kept him from meeting the city’s residency requirements.
“Sean is a great person,” Harl said. “I’m sorry to see him go.”
Other highlights from the luncheon:
Spring Valley mayor Walt Marini called the flooding of the city’s wastewater facility a “blessing in disguise” insofar as it enabled the city to make needed upgrades. Hennepin mayor Kevin Coleman said he anticipates a $1 million upgrade needed at his facility.
Harl said a $3 million sewer upgrade would be funded in part by a $700,000 grant and the remainder paid by Peru out of pocket, without incurring debt.
Marini said he was hopeful voters would pass a 0.5 percent increase in Spring Valley’s sales tax (now 6¾ cents) to fund road repair. Gaming revenues were being dedicated to sidewalk construction.
Marini praised expansion and improvements of Spring Valley’s schools, including Hall High School’s $32 million construction project, and a program to expand vocational education in tandem with Illinois Valley Community College.
He also expressed encouragement that an assisted senior living facility at St. Bede would serve as a “catalyst” for expansion at Spring Valley’s east end.
Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or email@example.com