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November 22, 2019

10/14/2019 1:46:00 PM
Mayor breaks tie to say 'no' to pot business in city
By BLAKE NASH
Daily News

One vote in last night's Robinson City Council meeting determined whether recreational cannabis businesses would be allowed in Robinson.

With the council split at 4-4 on the issue, Mayor Roger Pethtel was asked to cast the deciding vote for the tiebreaker.

Pethtel voted to prohibit licensed marijuana dispensaries from selling their product in city limits once it becomes legal in the state Jan 1.

Voting "yes" on the measure along with the mayor were aldermen Troy Pinkston, Karen Bowman, Rick Lowe and John Birkofer. Aldermen Gene Sinclair, Jim McKinney, Russel Snider and Barb Alexander voted against the item.

Since the state gave cities and villages the option to approve cannabis establishments, communities throughout Crawford County have met to discuss the pros and cons of having them. The Hutsonville Village Board voted 5-0 against the establishments, while the Oblong Village Board approved putting it on the March primary ballot, leaving it in community members' hands.

The Crawford County Board voted to ban dispensaries in the county's unincorporated areas, but may still give voters a chance to have their say with a proposed advisory referendum. The Palestine Village Board has also discussed it, but have yet to vote.

In other business Tuesday, the council approved two items regarding the newly-opened South Cross Mini Park.

City Engineer Jeff Hillard said after reviewing plans that there appears to be one good way to establish additional parking at the park.

"Create a handicapped space on the north end and open 3 1/2 spaces in front of the park (west side) for farmers' markets," Hillard said.

Hillard added that these parking spaces should not limit the viewing of the park from South Cross itself. The council approved the motion.

Parks and Recreation Superintendent Mike Shimer also asked for a motion to donate the coins dropped into the park's fountain to be donated to the United Way of Crawford County periodically. The council also approve this motion.

Hillard also informed the council that resurfacing work will be done on North Lincoln, north of Highland, today. Residents who live in that area or park their cars on the right of way in that area are asked to find other parking if available. This work is not expected to take long and the city appreciates everyone's patience.

Brent Battershell and Sharon Anderson of the Community Revitalization and Beautification Committee appeared at the meeting to discuss two changes to an upcoming event.

The Christmas Festival will take place in November as usual, but will be a different time and location.

"We will be on Douglas Street this year," Battershell said. "Last year we had traffic on both sides of the skating rink, so we'll be moving that from Court Street."

Anderson, the new committee president, also said that it will now be the third weekend in November instead of the second, because of a conflict with the skating rink.

Several items were acted on after recommendation from Alderman McKinney.

One of them was the approval of a CDAP loan to Hayley Pica. City treasurer Denise Jobe said the details include $30,000 paid over 10 years at 2 percent interest. The city would hold a subordinated mortgage to First National Bank of Olney, and the agreement is guaranteed by Pica's life insurance policy.

The council also agreed to a continued payment of no more than $40,000 to Randy Mikeworth for the continued demolition of the former Briggs Pottery building. The payment will be made from the industrial TIF and will also include the continued clean up of the demolition.

Two redevelopment agreements paid from downtown TIF were approved. One is $21,253.69 for roof and window replace at the old Lobby building at 127-131 Court. The other payment will be Lewis Henry and Robb Sparks for $10,000 for Sparks Floral. It is expected to be used for electrical repairs, signage and roofing on the south side.

A replace for the overhead furnace in Building A at the Robinson Street Department was approved. The cost is not to exceed $2,500 and will be purchased from Crawford Electric, Heating and Air Conditioning.

In other business, the council:

• Called for bids for a police squad car. The deadline is 10 a.m. Oct. 18.

• Agreed to hire a full-time worker for the wastewater treatment facility pending drug and physical test.

• Learned the city employee health fair is 8 to 9:30 a.m. Oct. 17.





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