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Directors for Solid Waste, Zoning hired

Lucas Domonousky Breeze-Courier Writer

CHRISTIAN COUNTY — The Christian County Board met for their September monthly meeting on Tuesday night in the Taylorville Courthouse. Of the 16-member board, four were absent – Craig Corzine, Timothy Carlson, Vicki McMahon and Thomas Snyder, Jr.

They hired new officers of zoning and solid waste, set a 6-month moratorium, discussed the CO2 pipeline project drafted a carbon ordinance.

Board Chairman Matt Wells began the meeting by appointing Shawn Hammers, County Solid Waste Director and Blake Tarr as County Zoning Administrator. Hammers appointment was approved unanimously with the Tarr appointment getting one no vote from Dale Livingston, District Four representative.

The appointments are effective on Oct. 1, 2022.

“During all the interviews your top three picks were all good candidates,” District Three Board member Ray Koonce said. “I was very impressed with all of them. Im happy with the choices.”

Koonce gave the report from the Executive Committee in the absence of the Committee Chairman Corzine. The first of which was the the approval of resolution (R2022 CB 011) which will send a letter of recommendation to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). The letter will contain information on the CO2 pipeline through Christian County. The pipeline would span over the stretch of 13 counties through Illinois. “Eminent domain is an issue,” said District Three representative, Mike Specha. “I just want to say for the record I think we need to be aware overall.”

“This decision to push Eminent Domain onto the public of Christian County isn’t providing one person with electricity, not providing one person with water,” Wells commented.

The resolution passed unanimously.

In 2015, the Board sent a letter opposing Eminent Domain for the Grain Belt Transmission project. Another letter will be sent by the Board to ICC opposing the use of Eminent Domain for this project.

The Grain Belt Transmission Line project was put under a six-month moratorium.

“They’re looking for permission,” Christian County State’s Attorney Wes Poggenpohl said. “I think six months gives us enough time to get that addressed.” The vote was 10-2 with Livingston and Wells voting “no.”

A proposal for the Board to join the Citizens Against Greenway Pipeline and its $500 annual membership fee was discussed. The motion failed on a 3-7-2 vote.

“My opinion to the County Board is not to get involved with this,” Poggenpohl told the Board. “We are using county money to associate with a group that we essentially don’t have any control over. We’re putting our name on the line without having our hands on the wheel so to say.”

Members Venice McWard, Clint Epley and David Puccetti while Bev Graham, Koonce, Livingston, Chuck Smedley, Specha, Ken Franklin and Wells all voted, “No.” Members Bryan Sharp and Linda Curtin abstained from the vote.

The Board approved recommendations from the Audit and Finance Committee. They included the use of ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) money for the Christian County Fair Board for projects at the fairgrounds. The amount was not to exceed $100,000.

The purchase of a new boiler for the Courthouse was approved. The price tag is slightly less than $49,000, but won’t be installed for use until the winter of 2023-24. The money will come from the Capital Improvement Fund.

Repairs to the Solid Waste Office roof were approved at a cost of just over $14,500. A proposal from Energy Solutions for lighting replacement costs were approved with expenses coming out of Contingency Funds. According to Specha this will save the county $6,200 and take about 12 months.

There was a presentation from Miranda Smith with Emerald Gardens who explained their mission. Emerald Gardens is officially an Illinois non- profit organization. They help with the mental health of the community, educate the public and grow food for multiple food pantries around Illinois. Emerald Gardens is located in Owaneco.

The only public comment came from Lori Maple. The Capital Development committee member presented the board with information regarding Christian County Animal Control and addressed the Animal Control Officer position.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. The next monthly meeting of the Board is at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in the Courthouse in Taylorville.

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