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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Funding for Illinois' public schools would increase by roughly $240 million next year under a proposal Democrats are advancing in the Legislature.

The measure passed the House by a 66-47 vote Wednesday.

Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Chair Will Davis says the roughly $6.9 billion spending plan would pro-rate the general state aid funding used to offset the basic cost of educating students at 92 percent this year. Last year's pro-ration level was 89 percent.

Davis also says $60 million of the proposed funding would infuse low-income schools with extra cash.

The education budget is part of nearly two dozen budget bills being advanced by Democrats. It's part of an overall $36.3 billion spending plan which spends over $3 billion more than the state may take in.

Online: www.ilga.gov.  Legislation: HB4151

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois House has approved legislation funding capital projects as Democrats make a piecemeal attempt to push a budget through the General Assembly.

Sponsor Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie says the bulk of the "mini-capital plan" is re-appropriation of funding for ongoing programs, including the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, the Capitol building architect and about $10 billion in projects statewide.

New spending includes $800 million to the Illinois Environment Protection Agency for drinking water infrastructure projects and $1.8 billion for other projects.

Lawmakers passed it without debate with a 65-46 vote. It heads to the Senate.

The measure comes as Democrats push a package of bills in the Senate and House that introduce pieces of their proposed $36.3 billion budget.

The bill is HB4166.  Online: http://www.ilga.gov/

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Senate Democrats have put up a series of billions of dollars in budget cuts they say represent Gov. Bruce Rauner's plans and watched each go down to defeat.

Minority Republicans decried the maneuver Wednesday as a sham and say Democrats will adopt an unbalanced spending plan before Sunday's adjournment.

None of Chicago Democratic Sen. Donne (DAH'-nee) Trotter's bills got a "yes" vote. Democrats voted "no," and GOP members marked "present."

Trotter says the package reflected a projected $6 billion deficit with no new revenue.

Republican Rauner wants deep spending cuts after campaigning against extending an income tax increase that expired in January. He says he would compromise on the budget if he gets business reforms passed, but Democrats aren't playing along.


The bills are SB2038 and HB200

Online: http://www.ilga.gov

The Centralia City Council Monday night raised all leases on Raccoon Lake and Centralia Lake that were not part of the new lease arrangements started in 2012.

20 year leases will go up 33 percent to $1,010 a year and 40 year leases would jump 15-percent to $1,006 a year.  City Manager Dan Ramey says the old leases can only have the rate adjusted every five years and the increases will mirror those under the new lease arrangement which uses a different formula to set the lease rate each year.  There was little opposition to the increase.

There was considerable discussion on implementing boat dock fees during a work session before the regular meeting.  

Ramey said he might be willing to consider no fee for those with docks on Raccoon Lake because they are paying city taxes and reducing the proposed fee for docks on Lake Centralia to $100 for a small dock or $200 for one over 350 square feet.  

"I'm not sure I would keep it at that, but I think it would show some good will from the city's part with the people from the lake and as then as time goes on increase it a little more where they can see that the money is being put back into the lake," said Ramey.

The City Manager is concerned the city has lost any control over boat docks, noting in some cases no city approval was received to put the docks in the city water.

"There are no agreements any longer.  We need to come up with agreements, even if they are yearly agreements where somebody knows what they are allowed to do.  None of the docks are on lease property or on the owner property in some cases on Centralia Lake," said Ramey.

The council reached no concurrence and Mayor Tom Ashby was absent for the work session and meeting.  Councilman David Sauer wants the boat dock issue to be placed on the council until the issue is resolved.  Ramey hopes a solution can be reached in the next few months.  However, he doesn't want it to go into effect until January first of next year to give everyone plenty of advance notice of the guidelines.  

In other action, the council approved temporary road closures for the 4th of July Veterans Day Parade, as well as the Children's and Adult Halloween Parade.  The council also approved placing the Halloween pumpkins on street light poles prior to the Halloween Parade and Fall Festival.  

Ramey reported the city staff continues to talk with hotel representatives about locating a new hotel in Centralia.  He says the private businesses will have to decide if there is enough business in Centralia to warrant a new facility.  Ramey warned the project could never take place or could be several years away.  

The Centralia City Council Monday night congratulated retired Police Captain Richard Densmore on more than 35 years of service.

Densmore in turn thanked the city council for the opportunity.

"I wouldn't recommend to anybody just to have a job, it's a career, it's a lifestyle.  You better be ready for a lot of changes.  To tell you the truth,  if I had to do it all over again I think I would think a little bit harder.    I look at the young guys out there getting started and I wonder how long they can hold on doing this type of work.  It's difficult and like I said it is ever changing.  I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.  I enjoyed it here.  I had a lot of great people to work with.  I would do it all again," said Densmore. 

 Densmore was presented a plaque thanking him for his service to the city.

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