November 22, 2019 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

St. Joseph Village Board- LIVE

Tonight’s a big night. On the agenda discussion about allowing a dispensary, filling a new board and more.

Mayor discussing 2020 census. Mayor says she and Julie Hendrickson have been attending meetings. Regional planning is taking the lead locally.

Mayor discussing how a complete and accurate count is important for state funding, ect.

Apparently, you can do your census digitally this year. If you don’t turn it in census workers will come visit you.

This meeting is packed. Bob Runk, Donnie Goodwin, Sonja Vickers, Max Painter, Jeff Van Buskirk and more.

Village attorney Joe Lierman is here so we are going to appoint new board members. Tiffany McElroy-Smetzer is speaking. The Republican Nominating Committee nominated Max Painter. The mayor is recommending Painter to fill the Trustee position. Bob Rigdon made the motion. McCarty, Wagner, Rigdon, Davis and Rapp all voted yes. Congrats Max Painter!

Jeff Van Buskirk was appointed to planning and zoning. Congrats Jeff!

Public participation time:

Donnie Goodwin- “I have a neighbor that is a renter that has become…. I have spent $6,000 on a security system.” Goodwin is discussing some issues with a neighbor on Park Avenue. He has contacted the landlord. Asking the board for help. “We all pay good tax money. Nine times out of ten I am on the internet sticking up for you guys. I just don’t get when I ask for help and you just can’t get it.” The neighbor has a chicken wire as a fence around the pool.

Robert Runck is here. “I would like to see what we are doing, where our dollars are going for the sewer and water fee increases. I called the EPA. EPA says they see no reason for the upgrades,” Runck said.

In other news, this is a reminder your sewer bills are due by the end of August.

Mayor Fruhling-Voges telling Runck that they aren’t doing the TIF district. He says he knows. He said “When are you going to be honest with me?” Julie Hendrickson said that they are being honest and that Runck just hears what he wants to hear.

McElroy-Smetzer telling Runck he has a minute and a half left.

Mayor saying she is moving on because it is repetitive.

End of public participation.

Landbank discussion! Just go here and read about it.

The Girl Scouts of greater Champaign County are holding an event Sept. 12 at the Wheelhouse. Mayor Fruhling-Voges will be a celebrity taste tester. She is excited about that. “It’s a good way to highlight our community.”

Fruhling-Voges thanking the St. Joseph Festival Committee. “It is a lot of hardwork and they don’t get enough recognition for the hardwork they put in.”

Mayor discussing public meeting on the dispensary.
We had a good turn out. 68 people attended. 15 signs, multiple news stories, social media posts, ect.

“We saw the majority of those at the meeting showed their concerns at the meeting. Of course there was a handful that wanted us to pursue selling it in the community. There were a few who wanted a referendum. I personally think that would be a waste of time, money and energy. Referendums are expensive to get on the ballot and I think the end result would be the same. The other thing- we don’t use referendums to decide everything we do as a board
. We have been talking about it since the summer and the public has been aware it is coming our way. We had a public hearing, we didn’t have to have a public hearing. Doing a referendum that my feelings are because of the cost and time and we won’t be able to do it before January 1. I think it is a non-issue for our
Art reminding the mayor she said they would vote in September. “We are trying to consider what the public wants.” Saying they need to know the cost of the referendum. “That way we can say it is going to cost us X amount of dollars.” Art referencing how marijuana is still technically illegal on a federal level.

Mayor saying there are a lot of unknowns. Mayor saying the people illegally buying pot aren’t going to pay to purchase it legally. “I personally think the best option for us is to opt-out.” Referencing expense of ordinances, licenses, ect. Saying no one is going to set up shop here for a dispensary.

Art reiterating that he doesn’t want any action until September.

Wagner discussing how since it is federally illegal, would the village lose out on federal grants because of it? “I know alcohol was brought up at the public forum.” Saying alcohol brought in restaurant growth. What would this bring in?

Mayor discussing “brand” of St. Joseph again. “Is it about keeping our community a certain type of community.”

Mayor discussing how the IML has asked for clarification on issues surrounding dispensaries.

McElroy-Smetzer reading the minutes that say the board will vote on the ordinance on September 10.

McCarty doesn’t want to do a referendum because they have qualified people on the board to make decisions. McCarty wants to opt-out because you can get back in it and there are too many unknowns.

Rapp saying they don’t need to tell Lierman to prepare an ordinance because they need to wait until the Sept. 10 deadline they gave themselves previously in the minutes.

Lierman saying doing an ordinance in two weeks so they can vote on it during the second meeting of September won’t be an issue. #basicallybecausehesaprofessional

Rapp is all about transparency. Like legit. He is always bringing up the issue of keeping the public informed.

Painter saying that after attending the meeting he would vote it down. However, he doesn’t think people would be high in the streets and everyone needs to realize it is coming to your town whether you have a dispensary or not. Also pointing out that before alcohol was approved people assumed there would be a huge increase in crime and drunks rolling in the streets and that did not happen.

Max Painter- all the people talking about the effects- that is a conversation that should have taken place in Springfield before then.

Fruhling-Voges saying that they all know marijuana is already in our town.

Dan Davis asking if any business person has discussed opening a dispensary within the village.
The answer is no.

Basically, it’s on hold until Sept. 10. If you have an opinion find a board member and share it!

Now discussing sewer bonds with First midstate.

Luke Fisher saying the prosperous building is 80 percent done. #soclose

Wagner tabling the benches. St. Joe moving forward in grant process for the parks. #letsgetmoreplaygroundequipment #walkingpath #dogpark #IWANTASPLASHPADNOW

The village is getting a new copier.
The Community Council is meeting tomorrow at 5 p.m. at the former ESDA building. If you want to help with the festival show up because it’s been four people doing all the work for our awesome festival

It’s a wrap.

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