Amy Achs, AP Erie Correspondent
The Erie Board Trustees met for their monthly meeting on Tuesday night, April 12th saying farewell to a long serving member, taking action on two ordinance issues, and approving the purchase of equipment for the public works department.
Trustee Kathy Kuhnen was celebrated as she did not run for re-election and is retiring after serving as a trustee for 22 years. Her years of service are greatly appreciated. There will be three new trustees: Woody Besse, Tara Kapple, and Quincy Poole. During the meeting, it was announced that Trustee Keith Morgan would be resigning as of April 26th, 2021, so there will be a lot of new faces at next month’s board meeting. Trustees Becky Cox and Jeff Wirth will continue serving on the board.
ORDINANCE PROHIBITING CANNABIS BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS IN ERIE
After over a year of research and discussion, the Erie Board of Trustees approved an ordinance that prohibits cannabis business establishments in the village of Erie. Mel Saad Jr. spoke during public comment about his concerns about approving an ordinance that would allow the sale of cannabis in Erie. Trustee Keith Morgan said he was glad to hear feedback from a member of the community because there have been many attempts by the board to seek opinions on which direction to take, but had yet to hear from anyone in the community one way or the other. Mayor Marcia Smith shared the options that they had been considering: nothing could be done and a dispensary could come into town and be under state control, an ordinance could be voted in that would allow a cannabis business with Erie having some control and tax benefits, or an ordinance could be put in place to prohibit cannabis business establishments altogether. The Board of Trustees has been working on this for over a year as a proactive measure, were not seeking out any cannabis business establishments, nor had they been approached by any businesses. The ordinance to prohibit cannabis business establishments in the village of Erie was approved unanimously with trustees Jeff Wirth, Becky Cox, Mark Armstrong, Kathy Kuhnen, and Keith Morgan all voting in favor of the measure.
In a continuing effort to improve Erie and its surrounding areas, Ron Huisman, representing Revitalize Erie, presented a proposal to share the costs of hosting a Peace Corps Fellow through WIU and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. The cost would be split three-ways with $1,666.00 to be paid by Revitalize Erie, the Erie school district, and the Village of Erie for a total cost of $5,000.00. The intern would work from September 2, 2021 through July 31, 2022 and would live in Erie. The trustees voted unanimously in favor of sharing the expense of the intern. More information on this exciting new opportunity will be forthcoming.
Erie all-town garage sale – Saturday, June 5.
Bulk Waste Pick-Up for Erie – Saturday, June 12th.
The board voted to purchase a Vac-Tron Vacuum Excavation System for the public works department at a cost of $122,912.00 from Vermeer. It was approved with a 4-1 vote. Trustee Becky Cox voted against the purchase, feeling that she struggled with the cost and questioned whether or not they could continue to contract out the process but more often. Trustees Jeff Wirth, Kathy Kuhnen, Mark Armstrong, and Keith Morgan voted in favor of the purchase stating that a portion of the equipment needed replacement anyway, so it made sense to invest in all of the equipment needed to properly care for the water and sewage systems. It was felt that Erie would now have more control over when we maintain the drains, catching issues faster and earlier before they become bigger problems than they are able to do when renting or contracting out the equipment. Public Works Supervisor Joel Papineau also stated that grease in the system has been a greater problem since COVID, probably due to the fact that people were home more while quarantined.
Social Media Use Policy and Ordinance – changes to the policy were made as a resource to identify behaviors for city employees’ social media use in personal and professional settings. The Social Media policy is added with the advice of the Illinois Municipal League. Trustees voted unanimously in favor.
Vote to approve President’s appointments to the Zoning Board of Appeals: Trustees voted unanimously in favor of the following:
Michelle Blackmer – reappointment for a 6-year term
Eamonn Cox – 6-year term – to replace Brenda Anglese
Public Works – Director, Joel Papineau
Reported that water at the cemetery and Heritage Park would be turned on by May 1st with a broken line at the cemetery to be repaired first.
COVID affected their work this month.
Police Report – Chief Rollie, Elder
Brian Hawk and Jessica Adams completed training to be certified as Lead Homicide Investigators.
Completion of a two-month long investigation which led to an arrest.
The village police records management system is starting to pay off with a database beginning to be established.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 11th at 6:00 in the Erie Village Hall.