There is plenty to share about this morning's Piatt County board session. We will be posting stories in upcoming days – and in next week's print edition – but in the meantime here is a summary:
1. Calling for the chairman's ouster, almost – No one at the meeting directly called for the resignation of Chairman Ray Spencer, but board member Randy Shumard came close. After complaining that the state's attorney has not been copied on county board emails, he commented, “It's getting to one of those points where I think the lack of leadership has got to get changed, and get changed soon.”
During public comment, Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dobson clarified that a board chairman can be removed by the vote of five of the six board members at a special meeting, and that he would still be a county board member
Spencer pled not guilty to charges of forgery and official misconduct earlier this week in Piatt County court after being indicted by a grand jury last month.
2. North State Street Professional Building – The board tied 3 to 3 on a vote to purchase the structure from Kirby Medical Center, defeating the motion. But the issue was kept alive when a local business owner said he may be willing to purchase the structure for the county in exchange for space in it. One of the complaints on buying the property had been that the county could not afford the $20,000 price tag after initiating staff cutbacks and a deficit budget for the current fiscal year.
3. Second Amendment Sanctuary County – A vote to embrace a resolution declaring the county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” was defeated by a 5 to 1 vote. But it was followed by a motion to table it for further discussion, which was approved 6 to 0. Some audience members complained the issue represented the county as a whole without getting citizen input.
4. Permit granted for craft marijuana grower – Board members approved a special use permit for Joshua Cothren and Ronald Falk to put up an indoor cannabis craft grower facility about four miles northwest of Monticello. State approval is needed before construction could begin.
5. Other zoning issues approved – County board members also issued a special use permit to allow for taller than allowed grain bins for Plunk Brothers near Mansfield; and a variation for Angie Norman to construct a home on less than a 20-acre lot near Monticello.
6. Allerton Road help on the way – County Highway Engineer Eric Seibring said more state Motor Fuel Tax funds will allow the county to resurface about 2.3 miles of Allerton Road from the Monticello city limits to the Allerton Music Barn. The project is slated for this summer.
7. Budget help approved – The board approved a $12,000 contract with Bloomington-based Bellwether LLC to help the county with its budgeting process for 2020-21.