Massac County commissioners got their first look at a new liquor control ordinance at Tuesday morning’s weekly meeting.
Patrick Windhorst, Massac County state’s attorney, brought copies of the 16 page draft of the proposed ordinance. He said the county’s current liquor control ordinance was completed in 1989 and pointed out that things have changed since that time.
Windhorst pointed out several areas in particular that the board would need to pay particular attention to. The first was the fees for the liquor licenses. As he noted there are five licenses - A, B, C, D and E. Each license has a particular fee and he said it would be the board’s decision whether to leave the fees the same or to increase the fees.
According to Windhorst, there are a certain number of licenses available, pointing out currently the county only issues three Class A, two Class B and two Class C licenses. Again he told the board it would be up to the commissioners to decide whether or not to increase the number of licenses in each class or not.
In addition to the five classes, he also explained that a Class F license has been added to the ordinance. With the Class F license, any current license holder could apply for a Class F license, which would be used in the case of a special event. It would be considered a special use permit.
The last area Windhorst mentioned was that of the hours of business, and the days and hours, that license holders cannot sell liquor. According to the current ordinance, license owners can not sell liquor Tuesdays through Saturdays from midnight to 6 a.m., with no liquor being sold on Sundays in the county. It will be up to the board to decide whether or not to “broaden” the hours of business or leave it as is.
Commission Chair Jayson Farmer asked about the changes the city made to its liquor ordinance. Windhorst said the city’s ordinance allows for liquor to be served by the glass on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.
According to Windhorst, the information concerning who may apply for a liquor license is also included in the ordinance, but emphasizes those requirements come from Illinois state statutes and cannot be modified.
He encouraged the board to read the entire ordinance first and said he would be available to come back to the meeting at a later time to discuss issues further.
While Windhorst was before the board, he asked if the board had looked at the draft of the Burn Ban Ordinance he had left with the board.
Currently Massac County does not have a burning ordinance. Windhorst said the county does have a nuisance ordinance, but it does not include anything about burning.
The proposed Burn Ban Ordinance would prohibit the burning of refuse and trash, but it would still allow for the burning of landscape waste such as grass, leaves and tree limbs.
Farmer asked if there should be a minimum fine. The commissioners then agreed to a first offense fine of $100 and a second offense minimum of $500.
Windhorst will make the changes to the ordinance and would see that it is on the agenda to be approved at next week’s board meeting.
Prior to Windhorst’s departure, the board approved a motion to enter into closed session at 10:51 a.m. to discuss pending litigation. The board returned back to open session at 11:09 a.m.
The commissioners heard from Massac County Treasurer Dana Jones the county’s general fund balance of $138,813 was boosted Monday with $70,000 in personal property replacement tax. Later in the meeting Jones brought an updated sheet listing the balances in all of the county’s accounts. Jones and Farmer discussed briefly the amount of time the health insurance administration is taking for a couple of county employees. Farmer said he will contact Jeremy Billington of Mutual Medical and find out when he would be at the board meeting.
Also visiting the meeting was Caroline Jones of Metro Financial Group, who told the commissioners they are holding a workshop on Tuesday, April 30 from 6 to 7:15 p.m. in the basement of the Metropolis Public Library. A representative of Health Alliance will be presenting information about healthcare reform, which will begin in 2014. She said so many things will be changing and the representative will be able to explain how the changes would affect businesses and governmental entities.
When Massac County Highway Engineer Larry Glasco was before the board, Farmer asked about the status of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) testing. Glasco said he knew that all three of the applicants the board chose to test had completed the testing.
According to Glasco, from what the law says, the board would receive a letter from the secretary of transportation that would indicate a list of qualified candidates who are approved by IDOT. Then, the board can pick one of the people and submit that name to the IDOT district office in Carbondale.
When routine board business commenced, the commissioners turned their attention back to the 2013 budgeting. Farmer said the commissioners hope to get their portion of the budgeting process finished this week and to get the information on to County Clerk John Taylor to be typed so that the proposed budget can be on display.
Farmer also confirmed there will be a meeting Wednesday at 1 p.m. in the commissioners’ office, with county employees concerning courthouse security.
In other business, the board:
• Was visited by Massac County Chief Deputy J.D. Haverkamp, who dropped off a list of the department’s outstanding bills.
• And, heard from Jess Obermark, who has been installing the county’s road name signs that the last bunch of sign blanks that were ordered, were six inches instead of eight inches. Obermark said he would gather all of them and return them to the courthouse. Farmer said he would contact the company the county orders from to see if they can be returned and would order eight inch signs, in 24-inch and 30-inch lengths. He estimated he would need about 50 signs of each length. He is also in need of some posts. Obermark and the board agreed the posts should probably be about 10 feet tall.