Dunlap Village Hall greeted the Central Illinois Rural Coalition on Development with applause and many questions Thursday.

Dunlap Village Hall greeted the Central Illinois Rural Coalition on Development with applause and many questions Thursday.

Mayor Jack Fennell presented progress being made in Dunlap, while State Rep. Rich Myers (R-Mason) addressed “Rural Issues and the State of Illinois.”

With the help of Jim Emanuels, who is involved with the Dunlap Fire Department, Business Association and the library, Fennell discussed many improvements coming to Dunlap.

The development committee plans to create a mission statement, which will then create a greater sense of community and may bring more people to the village.

“We do have a very strong sense of community, but what we don’t do is market what we do around here. We’re not doing anything actively to get people to come here,” Emanuels said. “That’s what we’re trying to do with the marketing committee is to tell people around Dunlap what all we have to offer.”

Along with a strong sense of community, Fennell and Emanuels stressed the importance of promoting and managing growth.

“Improve communication — that’s the big thing with all the different groups, and the next thing we’ll do with that is a comprehensive plan,” Fennell said.

“Another one of the goals for community growth is to bring more businesses into the area. As a think tank, we know where we want to be but we’re trying to figure out how to get there,” Emanuels said. “Another thing we’re trying to do is identify who these people are that we want to bring in.”

The marketing committee also created tasks that could make for a strong future for Dunlap.

These tasks include: developing a team message for a target audience and develop communication through a better website.

“The village is actually working on a website. It still is at the very beginning stage but at least we’re working toward that path,” Emanuels said.

Myers followed Fennell and Emanuels with a broad discussion of issues in the state of Illinois.

“When I talk about rural issues, I have a very big perspective from the Mississippi River to the Illinois River and on east from that,” Myers said.

One of Myers’ responsibilities is to co-chair the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, which is a bipartisan commission of the General Assembly.

In the commission, they review the economy in the state of Illinois, the revenue estimates and analyze issues.

Myers discussed communities, counties and townships and the state budget.

He said communities usually have the most trouble with water and sewers.

“Many of our rural communities, when they have to provide services to their residents, mainly water and sewer, they’re pretty limited on how they can do it. The EPA is telling them they need to update their water and sewer systems, but they don’t know how to because they don’t have the money,” Myers said.

Communities then look to the state for assistance such as grant funds and loans.

Counties and townships also see problems with money when it comes to restoring roads and bridges and focusing on air quality, according to Myers.

“Air quality is something that could face us. It may be a ways down the road, but there are efforts in place at the federal level to limit dusting. It could work its way down to the combine, where there has to be some kind of filter to keep the dust from flowing out,” he said.

When discussing the state budget, Myers was not optimistic about what will come of the finances the state owes each area in Illinois.

“We’re not going to go back to address the budget until November. How we address it in November will probably depend on who is elected governor.

“If Gov. Quinn is re-elected then I expect you’re going to see a proposal to increase income tax. If Mr. Brady is elected, his plan is to address the budget deficit like you and I would as a family, and that is to live within your means and with the income that you have,” Myers explained.

The Central Illinois Rural Coalition on Development meets each month in different towns on different topics.

Next month Colleen Callahan, the Illinois State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture, will speak in Pekin on how federal issues affect the local level.

More information can be found on the website at www.centralillinoisrcd.org.