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CO2 actions taken at County Board meeting

Special meeting Wednesday held about jail situation

Lucas Domonousky Breeze-Courier Writer

(TAYLORVILLE) — The Christian County Board met on Tuesday, Mar. 21, in Courtroom “A” inside the Courthouse located in Taylorville. Discussed through the duration of the meeting was referrals from the three committees, updates from State’s Attorney John McWard as well as what current action can and should be taken against the CO2 Pipeline and Storage Ordinance. All 16 members were present.

Illinois House Bill 2202, which deals with regulations for CO2 capture and storage, came under the scrutiny of the Board. Chairman Brian Sharp shared his thoughts on proposed legislation.

“There are several items in there that, I think, should be concerning to us,” he said. “Eminent Domain is certainly one of them. Changing some of the requirements for them to exercise Eminent Domain in pour space (of underground sandstone) was somewhat alarming. Everything in this bill, I believe, gives preferential treatment to everybody but the landowner and the residents of this county.”

The Board then passed a resolution in opposition of Illinois General Assembly HB2202, Underground CO2 Storage Act, any trailer bill, or any bill similar to, or any bill where the 102nd Illinois General Assembly seeks to impose eminent domain on privately owned land for CO2 storage. The resolution passed unanimously with Linda Curtin abstaining.

More discussion of exactly how to go about continuing the intervening with the state regarding the CO2 Pipeline and Sequestration ensued with multiple Board members speaking.

“If I remember right, the opposition to this pipeline is based on a couple things,” Board member Ken Franklin said. “The current landowners do not want this project and also the eminent domain pieces of the pie.”

The Board approved a motion to allow Attorney Joseph Murphy to continue the intervention stated in the just-passed resolution. It was again 15 members voting “yes” with one abstention.

The Board then voted not to accept an invitation to join the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines. Christian County States Attorney John McWard made the recommendation not to join the group as a Board, but left the option of members to join as individuals.

“It was my recommendation to Chairman Sharp that individuals of the County Board should join if they would chose to do so, rather than as a county board, not support the legislation as a group. Based on the research and based on everything I’ve read, having a governmental entity supporting a private purpose is contrary this board’s purpose,” McWard said.

McWard then updated the Board regarding a multi-county Wind and Solar lawsuit. The Kane County Civil Division has uncovered two areas for two potential lawsuits for Wind and Solar purposes. McWard provided a summary of the verbiage directly from the Kane County Civil Division and requested ideas on how to proceed forward as a county.

“I am at your disposal for any purposes of lawsuits against the state based on House Bill 3412,” he said. “Just for everybody’s advocation it would be Kane County initiating the lawsuit and us, as a county, joining through the States Attorney’s office.”

Other larger counties leading the effort alongside Kane include Boone and Kankakee with smaller counties including Piatt, Pulaski, Ogle, Moultrie, Livingston, Vermillion, Dewitt and DeKalb.

The salary of the next Animal Control Director was approved by members after being reviewed by a pair of committees. Members agreed to allow Chairman Sharp to hire for the position with current employees having preferential treatment. In addition, the director’s salary was increased, going from $40,500 to $45,000.

As recommended by the Audit, Finance and Purchasing Committee of the Board, the purchase of 17 Go 3 Tablets for each member was approved. Funds will come from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) at a cost of just over $13,100. The Board will make the transition to a more paperless operation system with the tablets and will also have more communication around the clock as well through email.

The meeting went into closed session to discuss appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of specific employees at 7:26 p.m. They returned at 8:14 without taking any action on what was discussed behind closed doors.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:17 p.m. It is worth noting this was the first Christian County Board meeting to include an invocation at the start of the meeting. The practice had been discontinued at the start of COVID. The prayer was provided by Vice-Chairman Clint Epley.

Special Meeting Wednesday

About a dozen members of the Board attended a walk through of the Christian County Jail complex prior to the start of a special meeting of the Board on Wednesday.

Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettlekamp, Chief Deputy Jim Baker and Jail Administrator Cecil Polley provided information regarding the building which has been standing since its construction in 1974.

Afterwards, members went to the Courthouse and the special meeting began at 6:20 p.m. They met with the Jail Advisory Group (JAG) for a presentation which was held in executive session. More than 90 minutes later, at 8:02 p.m., the Board returned to open session with no action taken on any of the closed session material discussed and immediately adjourned.

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