Schram City Board Debates Cannabis

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Following a motion to approve November's minutes, members of the Schram City Village Board entered into executive session, where they spent 20 minutes discussing employee pay raises during their monthly meeting held Monday evening, Jan. 13, at the village hall. The motion was approved, allowing village employees a raise of 50 cents an hour retroactive to Jan. 1.

"Thank you to all those who attended the ribbon cutting for Dollar General in December," said Village President Albert Oberle, who was out of state when the event occured. 

He reported that business "seems to be going well" and how he hopes its a huge success for the village. He said the cost to place the sewer line for Dollar General did not surpass the budget, and also mentioned that a repair was made on a water line break in Kortkamp. In the spring, the village will replace the line, which was repaired for the second time this winter.

"I look forward to 2020," he said. "We have a lot of challenges ahead of us, but we also have some opportunities to grow."

During last month's meeting, board members voted against a municipal cannabis retailers occupation tax. This month, Oberle introduced an ordinance prohibiting cannabis in the village. He said Taylor Springs passed an ordinance allowing retail sales of cannabis with a 2 percent tax.

"I understand the board has to make a decision, I just want you guys to understand that if this is what you want–to prohibit cannabis business in the village–I understand that," Oberle said. "On the other side of it, I want you to also understand the possibility of what revenue we could take in by having it."

Village Attorney Alicia Granito addressed the board, sharing three options or routes in which they could take.

"You can tax it, you can prohibit it from being sold or you can do a modified version of both, where you allow it, but only in certain areas," said Granito.

Granito explained that board members could not prohibit cannabis from being in the village, however, they can establish an ordinance that is parallel to the state statute, including a drug and alcohol policy for village workers.

Trustees expressed their concerns regarding enforcing the ordinance, which will be tabled until next month's meeting.

In animal control news, Oberle reported that a lot of municipalities have not signed a contract with the county, who will be meeting with Hillsboro and Litchfield first, then will make their way to the small communities. During last month's meeting, board members elected not to sign a contract with Montgomery County Animal Control after they raised their prices, however, Oberle said they will meet with the county for further discussion.

Oberle shared an update on the lift station project and said the work must be completed by March 2021. He said three pumps have been shipped and delivered to Haier Plumbing and Heating Inc. and the other two are scheduled to ship Jan. 20. The controls will be installed by Modin Electric, but they have not been shipped yet. 

Oberle said he will be meeting with Modin to discuss replacing control holders because they may not be "up to code". Additionally, Ameren will be updating three phase service to all lift stations, possibly underground, which could change the overhead lights at all the lift stations. The village president said he hopes to have an update and price by next month's meeting.

In other updates, the village should soon find out whether they were awarded a grant for the Schram City water main replacement. The IEPA also has yet to announce the municipalities who will be awarded the 1 percent loans with 75 percent principle forgiveness.

Village Clerk Janet Stewart requested an annual $150 donation to Hillsboro High School for this year's post prom event. Board members agreed on a $200 donation to help support their efforts in providing a safe, substance-free environment.

During the treasurer's report, Oberle said funds look favorable despite taking money out of the general fund to replace the tractor.

The street signs in Kortkamp were completed, however, one was stolen two weeks later and another was misspelled. Weather pending, the village plans to have the street sign project–consisting  of removing, straightening and painting new poles, as well as pouring new concrete–completed by April. Additionally, Oberle said he hopes to present a price on a new street sweeper at next month's meeting.

John Masten of Masten Mosquito Control was on hand to offer his spraying services to the village of Schram City, quoting about $3,500 for ten sprays. Oberle said the board will look into their current services and review Masten's brochure.

Before a motion to pay bills was made, Oberle touched on the village's "2020 Vision" plan that was created in 2014. He provided the board with a list of what they have accomplished the past six years, as well as the challenges that remain at hand and their plans through April 2025.

Next month's regular meeting will be held Monday evening, Feb. 10, beginning at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.

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