CAMBRIDGE – The Henry County Board on Thursday voted 19-0 to approve a resolution opposing an Illinois Senate bill that would enable the state to take control of zoning issues. Board member Bill Preston was absent.
“Generally, they want to take more and more zoning decisions away from the county,” said Lynn Sutton, planning and development chairman. “Without going too far into the weeds, this would protect local control of zoning. The state wants to take it over, pretty specifically focused on wind farms.”
Sutton said after the meeting the proposed changes would not affect the Midland Wind Farm that’s under construction west of Kewanee and north of Galva.
According to the resolution approved Thursday, the state seeks to mandate timelines and procedural requirements about siting or special-use permits for commercial wind energy facilities. The bill also requires existing county zoning ordinances on wind farms be amended within 120 days to comply with requirements of the bill.
“The County Board is the best entity to support the needs, interests and safety of its residents due to direct feedback and understanding of the county’s needs,” the resolution reads.
In addition to opposing the proposed legislation, the resolution asks Gov. JB Pritzker to veto the bill or any similar bill.
Retiring County Treasurer Tim Wells spoke to the board as part of a three-office presentation of the tax process. He said this year was the first time the county had collected less than the year before – $34,000 less out of $8,400,000.
“It’s the first time it’s happened since I’ve been in this chair,” he said.
During an audit presentation, it was noted that the county’s fund balance is up $3.5 million over last year to $29.8 million. The county is 99% funded for its pension liability, and it has a little over six-months cash in its general fund reserves. Finance chairman Kelli Parsons said the county should be at 42% of revenue and expenditures and had 40% of revenue, expending 38% of budgeted expenditures.
“We continue to sit in a pretty good spot considering we have yet to collect any tax money,” she said.
Hillcrest Home currently has no positive COVID cases and is allowing people of all ages to visit, making scheduled appointments. Health and social services chairman Jan May said the new activity therapy room was a great place for families to come in and eat with their loved ones.
“It turned out to be a real godsend,” she said. The current census is 73 with two admits pending; levels are low because of lower staffing.
The board also approved signs prohibiting excessive engine braking and a policy for placement of such signs after an issue came up near the Cleveland Quarry. Transportation chairman Jeff Orton said a vice president of Riverstone had called him in favor of the signs, noting trucks were coming uphill to enter the quarry and there shouldn’t be any need for a lot of braking.
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