At the regular July Brookport City Council meeting, the council voted to take advantage of revenue by "opting in" on the recreational marijuana initiative starting in January 2020 passed by the Illinois State government.
Since chances are slim and the costs very high of a license being granted to sell recreational marijuana in Brookport, the next option is to allow smoking lounges, similar to bars, where the soon-to-be legal substance can be consumed.
Alderwoman Kathy Tucker has read the 610 page Cannabis Summary and is using that as a guideline for the ordinance and, once written, will be sent to the city attorney, Patrick Hewson, for review.
A complication Tucker sees is in the zero tolerance rule the city has for employees. Currently, it is difficult to determine when marijuana has been consumed, whether two hours or two weeks ago. Nanogram tests are supposed to be more specific, explained Tucker, stating "ingestion of a legal substance will have an impact on policy and procedures."
The ordinance committee is working on the rules and regulations as to where, when and how. There will be restrictions as to locations near schools and churches. Business licenses will be assessed in the $1200 per year range. Work on the ordinance is ongoing.
In other business, Alison Boyt, city treasurer, gave an upbeat report, stating the city passed the audit with zero findings, the second time in a row. Currently departments are at 23 percent of budget limits. The general fund has $99,082.83 in its account.
Billy Copley gave the fire department report, stating three lives were saved this past month with the use of Narcan, administered by responders. The department has also received $90,000 worth of equipment donated by a Chicago fire department and "are very pleased."
Scott McDonald reported the police issued 32 tickets with eight being driving-while-intoxicated citations. They are investigating the reports of several stolen bikes.
A problem with the radar gun was detected during a test case, attributed to radio waves interfering with the signal. McDonald stated newer model radar guns would solve that problem.
One of the recently purchased police cars has developed a problem with its wiring system, not allowing the lights to be turned off, along other occurrences.
Bills totaling $36,645.22 were approved to be paid by council vote.
Mia Baker is a new candidate for a police officer. One of the other applicants did not pass the power test, so Baker will be his replacement. Payment of $328.91 for a uniform to Waggoner Clothing was authorized. Scott Martin questioned the expense since the recently updated policy and procedure manual said officers must pass the power test first before purchasing uniform and equipment, but he was informed it must also be in an ordinance, which that committee will be discussing.
A motion was approved for Mott's Excavation to do the sewer and manhole repairs at a cost of $22,500 on Unionville and Pell roads. A quorum was not present at a special called meeting to pass the motion at that time.
The council approved the legal service agreement between the City of Brookport and Rhett Barke, Attorney at Law, for the installation of the new roof for city hall, according to Rural Development's requirement. A contract meeting will take place next week with R&S Roofing, the contractor chosen.
Parks and Recreation Committee will hold a fish fry on Saturday, Sept. 21 to raise money for the Christmas Winter Wonderland event. The council agreed to provide $500 as seed money to be paid back to the general fund after the event.
Tim Davis was reimbursed $116.71 for gas. He had picked up the donated materials to the fire department.
In the ward reports, Scott Martin, Ward 3, emphasized and urged residents to complete an income survey before the end of the year. According to the last census data, Brookport was considered in the 84 percent income bracket above the poverty level, which council feels is very inaccurate. Martin stated there are at least nine grants for underprivileged communities that Brookport could apply for that would help the city with improvements. Surveys will be mailed out first before door-to-door assessments are done.