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Local

Radium treatment fee will go up in Sycamore

The $1 a month increase will help balance 2019 budget

The stonework sign at Somonauk and Elm streets is part of a branding campaign the city of Sycamore is working on the help visitors navigate downtown. The city council discussed new signage to also help direct visitors through the city.
The stonework sign at Somonauk and Elm streets is part of a branding campaign the city of Sycamore is working on the help visitors navigate downtown. The city council discussed new signage to also help direct visitors through the city.

SYCAMORE – Sycamore residents could soon see their water bills go up by a buck each month after the cost to treat radium in the city water system increased in August. The increase is part of of the proposed budget for the city, and would see the city's radium treatment fee go from $5 to $6.

The city council discussed the matter at Monday's meeting and will vote on it at a later date.

"We get an overview and then have a chance to sleep on it and get public input," said Mayor Curt Lang.

The city contracts with Water Remediation Technology, LLC to process radium and barium from its water using a proprietary system, City Manager Brian Gregory said. Radium treatment fees will total about $588,000 for the water fund revenues. Gregory said the proposed budget will be balanced with the additional fees.

There will be no increases in sewer fees next year.

The council also learned about plans for new signage in the downtown area around parking lots. Gregory said although the city parking lots are close to downtown, they aren't necessarily in view from the main drag. The new signage will help create consistency in the area, so that even if downtown is not visible, visitors will know it's close.

"It's not meant to be over-the-top," Gregory said. "It's so visitors to downtown understand where they are."

Some signs will have detachable portions on the bottom, allowing information to be changed out per season, Gregory said, such as snow route information in the winter or farmers market parking hours during the warmer months.

The signs are part of an attempt to brand the downtown, and they include the stone Sycamore signs that have gone up at various entry points to the downtown shopping district.

The stonework was done in-house by Mike Schulz, who recently retired from the public works department. The streets division also has a sign shop to manufacture the signs, and sign work is done by Justin Fleetwood, a street division employee.

"We're fortunate to have it in-house," Gregory said. "It allows use to achieve our goals in a cost-effective way."

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