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Municipality Weighs Options On Marijuana

By Charles Feldman, Reporter

Discussion over the possibility of whether to opt out of allowing recreational cannabis businesses in the village  joined this year’s report on the State of the Finance Department and the presentation of the 2019 G.L.E.N. Committee Awards on the agenda at the Tuesday, July 22 Glen Carbon Village Board meeting.

The possibility of recreational marijuana facilities in the village was on the minds of many attending the meeting. Five residents aired their concerns to the board. None was in favor. Citing reasons ranging from potential dangers from people driving while high to medical reports on the negative effect of marijuana on adolescent brains that are still developing, they made it clear that they were opposed to the idea.

Later, members of the board reiterated those concerns during their short discussion on the topic after all the other business at the meeting was done.

Village Attorney Jim Schrempf prepared two model ordinances – one prohibiting recreational marijuana dispensaries in the community and one establishing a 3 percent tax on marijuana products (the maximum allowed by state law; the normal sales tax would also be collected on the products they sell).

The Illinois Municipal League, he said, recommends that if a municipality is going to have a tax it needs to have it in place and get it on the rolls at the Illinois Department of Labor by October 1 so it can begin collecting on Day One.

“I know you’re receiving phone calls already from would-be business owners who are scouting locations and trying to figure out if a given location in Glen Carbon is going to work for that particular type of business,” he said.

Municipalities are authorized to prohibit (“opt out”) of either commercial production or distribution (“dispensaries”) of adult-use cannabis within their jurisdiction or regulate them through zoning ordinances and conditional use permits. If no action is taken by the time the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act takes effect on January 1, 2020, it will automatically be counted as approval of those things.

The village cannot restrict the private consumption of cannabis then. However, the act prohibits the use of cannabis in public places, schools and child care facilities.

The board agreed to forward the matter to the Public Safety Committee with a recommendation to the full board so it can take action during its first meeting in September.

Also that evening, Village Director of Finance Scott Borror gave a PowerPoint presentation on the State of the Finance Department. According to his statistics, his department processed and distributed more than 63,000 utility bills and processed 3,406 accounts payable payments (38 percent of them electronically) in 2018. The village has earned a Aa2 rating from the Moody’s business and financial service agency, which called it “a low credit risk.”

Last year’s accomplishments also included the $6.8 million Alternate Revenue Bond issuance, transitioning to a calendar-based fiscal year and earning the village’s first Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers Association.

He announced that the department’s goals for 2019 were to develop and implement the start of a village-wide performance management reporting system, begin a three-year training plan for all Finance Department employees, determine a financing plan for the next phase of Schon Park development and redevelop the department webpage.

An ordinance amending several items on the village’s budget for the current  fiscal year was adopted. An evaluation of the budget after the first six months of this year showed some changes and updates that needed to be made to account for unanticipated expenses and funds from projects carrying over from the previous year.

Recipients of this year’s G.L.E.N. Awards were Barb and Chuck Edelblute at 31 Glen Ridge Drive; Eldon Martin at 22 Glen Ridge Drive; Reba Klenke at 404A Cottonwood Trace Drive; Jeff, Addison and Mitchell Garde at 54 Oakshire Drive West; Frankie and Shaun Peltier at 304 Cambridge Drive; and Karen and Dick Mitchell at 201 Matterhorn Court. Each winner received a plaque for their efforts.

Business of the month for July 2019 was Ross Dress For Less.

In other action, the board approved:

• A service agreement with Juneau Associates Inc. for Cottonwood V drainage improvements in the amount of $30,000. Madison County Community Development has also awarded $100,000 in funds for the project through this year’s Block Grant Program, which will offset part of the current Special Service Area tax levy.

• The low bid by Haier Plumbing and Heating Inc. in the amount of $252,153.98 to complete drainage improvements associated with Stormwater Bid Package 4 within Fields Crossing.

• An ordinance changing the wording of the village code pertaining to the general penalties of the village of Glen Carbon. This clarifies that each and every day that the violation exists (housing and building code problems, for example) is a separate offense and the village would not have to file a new charge each day. This is the general penalty that would be applied.

The next village board meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 13 at 7 p.m. at Village Hall. The public is welcome to attend. The meeting will also be shown live as it happens on the village’s Facebook page.

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