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Aurora City Council preview: Aldermen to vote on political lobbyist contract

Updated: February 10, 2014 7:38PM

AURORA – Aldermen are slated to vote on a proposed political lobbyist contract Tuesday night.

City officials aim to renew a contract with Chicago-based political consultant Dan Shomon Inc. to provide government affairs consulting services and represent the city’s interests in Springfield and Washington, D.C.

Under the proposed contract, the city would pay Shomon about $82,800 annually to monitor and lobby on local, state and federal legislation, as well as consult on numerous issues important to the city. Shomon has been Aurora’s lobbyist since 2006.

In 2012, the City Council voted 10-2 to approve Shomon’s contract extension, with then-aldermen Stephanie Kifowit, 3rd Ward, and Rick Lawrence, 4th Ward, voting against the contract renewal. Kifowit is now a state representative from Oswego.

Kifowit and Lawrence also voted against the Shomon contract in 2011. In 2010, aldermen renewed the contract by a 7-5 vote.

Bilingual college

Chicago-based St. Augustine College is aiming to open a bilingual college on Lake Street in Aurora.

Under a proposal, Dolan-Lies, LLC is requesting a higher education special use petition from the city so St. Augustine can operate a bilingual higher education school in an existing 18,462-square-foot building at 841. N Lake St., according to a city memo.

St. Augustine College, the first bilingual higher education institution in Illinois, aims to operate a non-profit college at the site. St. Augustine currently operates four locations in Chicago.

The planned Aurora location would provide a three-year associate’s degree program for Hispanics who are not fluent in English. The program would be bilingual, with some course taught in English, and some in Spanish.

Galena decision

Aldermen will also consider a proposed agreement that may make way for a stretch of Galena Boulevard, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, to be converted to a two-way street at the same time as East New York Street.

Under the proposal, Aurora-based HR Green, Inc. would develop an engineering plan for a Galena Boulevard two-way conversion. If a two-way plan is later approved, the city would convert East Galena Boulevard from Broadway to Ohio Street, now a one-way thoroughfare, to a two-way street.

The city wants to get to the point where a dual-conversion could be considered, said Eric Gallt, Aurora traffic engineer.

East Galena Boulevard, a one-way eastbound street, runs nearly parallel to East New York Street, a one-way westbound street.

The city’s Finance Committee unanimously approved the proposed agreement in January.

Aldermen will vote on these and other items at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place, downtown Aurora.

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