Urbana Mayor Opposes IHSA Bid, Council Member Seeks Discussion
By Jeff Bossert
Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing maintains the city can’t afford a financial donation to help lure back the state’s high school basketball tournament.
The mayor says she’s open to discussion, but says Urbana is hampered because it no longer receives property tax payments from Carle Hospital.
“Who’s getting 10-million dollars more than they had last year?," she said. "That’s Carle Hospital. And every taxpayer that lives in Urbana, or owns a business in Urbana is now paying part of that $10-million. So if somebody wants money for their pet project, they should go to Carle and ask for it. They should not be asking the city of Urbana. We are paying far more than our fair share.”
Prussing’s comments drew the ire of Alderwoman Diane Marlin, who said she's spoken with the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and believes how much Urbana chips in is not the important thing.
"If Urbana put in a modest amount, they would understand," she said. "I think what they really want and feel is important is that we’re participating – it makes the bid stronger, and it demonstrates that we’re happy to cooperate with our neighbors.”
Marlin suggests Urbana contribute something closer to the $5,000 donation made by the village of Savoy - saying any investment will pay off in the long-term.
The Champaign City Council will take a tentative vote Tuesday night on a proposed $50-thousand annual donation for a tournament bid.
She said despite the city’s financial challenges, the investment will pay off long-term to lure the tournament back from Peoria in 2016.