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updated: 2/27/2014 5:51 PM

Charter school, code changes on Elgin's agenda Saturday

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Leasing property to a possible new charter school and implementing sweeping changes to the city's code are on Saturday's agenda for a marathon special meeting of the Elgin City Council's committee of the whole.

The meeting kicks off the city's new rolling budget model, which entails regular review of revenues and expenses throughout the year, rather than during a cram session at the end of the fiscal year.

It is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a one-hour break for lunch at noon, at Hawthorne Hill Nature Center, 28 Brookside Drive. Next Wednesday's regular committee of the whole and city council meetings are canceled.

The city has received requests for proposals from Elgin Charter School Initiative and Elgin Academy to lease the former Fox River Country Day School property at 1600 Dundee Ave.

Each group is interested in different parts of the property. City staff is recommending approval of both lease proposals, starting with the Elgin Math and Science Academy charter school, which is further along in the process, Elgin City Manager Sean Stegall said.

Elgin Academy would provide adult education and language immersion classes at the site, he said.

Under the proposed terms, the charter school would pay $50,000 in rent the first year, and more than $1 million over the course of 10 years, he said. The city will have to repair the roofs of the existing buildings and damage caused by frozen pipes, he said.

The charter school still must be vetted by Elgin Area School District U-46's charter school review committee, the school board and the community, and ultimately obtain approval from the state charter school commission.

City staff is proposing sweeping changes to Elgin's code enforcement -- dubbed "code 2.0" -- aiming at "a more sophisticated, more personalized, individualized approach to code enforcement," Stegall said.

Proposals include doing away with issuing tickets without notice, which currently happens for violations like weeds taller than eight inches, sofas on the front porch and more.

Also on the agenda is reviewing this winter's snow-related expenditures, which amount to nearly $887,000 from Nov. 1, 2013 to Feb. 22, 2014 -- about $365,000 more than in the same period last year, Elgin Chief Financial Officer Colleen Lavery said.

City council members will also discuss hiring a communications director and contracting out for additional marketing services, Stegall said. The 2014 budget includes $160,000 for such expenses.

Elgin last had a public information officer in 2009, before budget-related staff cuts.

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