The question of who can sell alcohol in the village has again come before the Oblong Village Board.
John and Karen Cross, owners of Blue Truck Trading, formerly Check Mart, came before for the board Wednesday night to ask for a change in the liquor sales ordinance. Specifically they asked that liquor license holders be allowed to live in Crawford County and not limited to the village.
The ultimate goal would be for the convenience store to be able to sell package beer, wine or spirits. Karen Cross and two of her employees explained that after six months in business, they have had numerous requests for package liquor sales. They also said they are in need of additional revenue sources to stay in business.
Cross said many of her customers are going out of town to make their liquor purchases, rather than going downtown to the Tap, on South Range, that sells package liquor and has a drive-up window.
Mayor Teresa Fielder referred the request to the Ad Hoc Committee for review, which meets at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in the village hall and is open to the public. The committee could then recommend changing the ordinances and possibly create more liquor licences for eligible businesses.
Casey's General Store has made a request annually for a liquor license if the ordinance changes. Several years ago, Rick Rynke, owner of the IGA store in Oblong, had requested a license and was turned down. He later closed the business.
The board did approve a TIF grant request by Blue Truck Trading for $3,500, to help make changes to the curbing around the business. When Illinois Route 33 was redone a few years ago, sidewalk and curbing was put in that changed the traffic pattern around the business. Cross said they would like to correct that and improve traffic patterns.
An additional TIF grant of $1,000 was approved for Ida Mae Boutique for tuck pointing on the building.
The village has again been able to sharpen its pencil and cut $195,000 from the annual budget. The board approved a working budget of $1,188,415.48. Fielder said the new budget includes a line item for the recycling center in Robinson in the amount of $2,000. The board approved the line item for five years.
Other business included approving ordinance changes to reflect the village's new police impound lot, and a resolution to spend $25,000 of Motor Fuel Tax money on road repairs.
It was also reported that village employees will be repairing potholes and other road hazards as weather allows.
Fielder reported the village had only one bid for trash pick up and that was from Republic Services. The five year contract will no longer include a senior discount. Cost of monthly service will be $12.50 for the first year increasing to $14.07 on year five.
Fielder also read a letter from the First Baptist Church questioning the need for a beer tent during the second annual Hootenanny being sponsored by the Oblong Chamber of Commerce this summer.
It was also reported that the current owner of Pizza and More had paid back its revolving loan.
Two $500 grants were approved from the gaming fund for the first two Home Town Pride awards. It was also discussed that the village is interested in talking with local contractors about building homes on empty village lots, including possible tiny homes.
Kay Young also came before the board to report on a property she owns that has fallen into disrepair. Young said she has been ill and was not aware of how bad the property had gotten. She is working with a neighbor to clean it out, sell it and have it torn down.
Police Chief Chad Pusey reported his department issued 14 citations, had six offences reported handled two traffic accidents and had 70 calls for service.
The next scheduled meeting will be Wednesday, May 2.