City of Fulton City Council met Nov. 11.
Here is the minutes provided by the council:
Mayor Ottens called the meeting to order at 5:30 PM and directed the Deputy Clerk to call the roll. On roll call, Aldermen –Paul Banker, Barb Mask, Margaret Crosthwaite, Gene Field and Mike VanZuiden were present. Aldermen – Keith King, Sue VanKampen, Dan Nederhoff and City Clerk Lindsey Nederhoff were absent. Also in attendance were City Attorney Bill Shirk, Staff Members – City Administrator Randy Boonstra, Public Works Director Dan Clark, Chief Dave Bartels, Tourism Coordinator Debi Ervin, and Zoning Officer Dale Sikkema. Media representatives were Daniel Nardini and Jon Rohlf.
Pledge of allegiance was recited and invocation was given by Pastor Kevin Verhoven.
Visitors signed up for Public Comment included: Veneta Leif, Cynthia Mead, Lucien Debatty, Kyle Folk, Russ Holesinger, Courtney Johnson, Kristin Huisenga, Jeff Soenksen, Amanda Paisley, Amanda Wolfe, Matt Halverson and Darryl Hogue. All visitors were signed up to speak on “recreational cannabis sales.”
Communication From Visitors
Mayor Ottens clarified that the State of Illinois legalized the sale of recreational cannabis in July of this year. The sale of cannabis will be legal everywhere in the state unless a municipality or county votes to “opt out”. At the previous City Council Meeting, the Council voted “No” to approve an ordinance amending Chapter 155 by adding zoning provisions regarding adult use cannabis by renaming part of the Business District and outlying Business District and amending section 155 entitled permitted uses in Industrial Districts of Title 15 land usage of the code pertaining to adult use cannabis.
Mayor Ottens clarified that the wrong term was used at the last meeting after the vote; stating he said that voting “No” on the zoning ordinance would make the issue “dead in the water.” Moving forward with the issue another ordinance must be passed by the Council stating that the sale of recreational cannabis cannot be sold anywhere within the City of Fulton, not just within a certain zoned area. The City Council will now wait for the new vote until after the Whiteside County Board votes on the sale within the County. The Board is scheduled to vote on the issue sometime during the month of December.
Fulton resident Veneta Leif was the first visitor to speak. Veneta expressed her opinion on cannabis stating that she 100% supports the legalization and sales. Veneta’s son, who is a cancer patient, desperately needs medical cannabis due to the prescription medication, that no longer controls his pain. Veneta herself, uses medical cannabis sprays to help her medically cope with stress and loss of sleep. Please reconsider and vote for the sale of cannabis.
Cynthia Mead, who is a member of the Whiteside County Board, residing in Fulton’s city limits, supports recreational use that will be legal on January 1, 2020, everywhere within the state. She would like to see all neighbourhood towns and cities to be on board with the new law. The sales will boost revenue for much needed expenses. Sales will boost traffic – which will produce gas sales, which ultimately supply monies for much needed road improvements. It will bring people to our town; they will ultimately stay in our hotel, eat here and spend money. That revenue will help, and is needed for Fulton’s infrastructure and many needed updates. Stopping the sale will not prevent the use. Do we really want $100,000’s of much need revenue going elsewhere? Please vote, YES.
Lucien Debatty presented the online petition that was signed, showing community support for the cannabis sales with over 700 signatures - 219 from within the City and over 500 from surrounding areas. Lucien, who works with the medical Dispensary stated how exactly the sales would work. The same procedures that are in force for medical cannabis will be very similar to recreational sales. All sales will be regulated and verification of identity is a number one priority. We have strict regulations. Lucien urged the council not to turn down a possible one million dollars in revenue within the next 5 years from the sales. This is an opportunity that will not come around again in the near future if you say no to the sales. Please support.
Kyle Folk presented charts to show residents property tax comparisons from Colorado that will surely be the same here. The chart comparisons from years 1996 to the present showed “higher property values” mean “higher tax bills.” More monies will be needed for Police and Emergency Personnel to handle the problems which surely will increase. Homeless residents will move in – do we want this for our community?
Russ Holesinger, thanked the Council for being so attentive to the needs of the Community. Attorney Holesinger and his family have live in Fulton and Morrison all their lives. Please vote for “the right thing to do”. He does not see anything positive from the sales. Russ does support medical cannabis, but definitely not recreational. Russ said please look in to the medical facts. He referenced a video from a Doctor in Colorado that there has been a massive increase, especially young people, that are coming into medical facilities for treatment due to cannabis addiction. This will have a very bad impact on our community – City of Fulton Officials, please say no.
Courtney Johnson believes the sale of adult recreational cannabis will bring job opportunities and extra revenues in the community that will support city and school improvements. Vote, yes.
Kristin Huisenga, who has spoken out against the sales in Fulton, wondered what she would say tonight that she had not already said at previous meetings, until she was parked behind a vehicle at the school, picking up her children. There were three different bumper stickers on the vehicle in front of her that supported growing cannabis, edibles, and smoking cannabis. Kristin asked herself, “Is this the message we want to send to our children and community?” Kristin referenced that the Surgeon General has said; a onetime use by a teenager changes their brain forever. (Kristin also asked the Mayor to hold off on appointing Tom Henschel to the Zoning Board until after the cannabis sales vote.)
Jeff Soenksen from the Dispensary, who has over 10 years of knowledgeable experience in the education and sales of the medical product explained whether we liked it or not, the sale of adult use cannabis is now, “the law of the land.” He explained that the procedure that will take place when an individual purchases the product from a legal business, will be the same as buying the medical product. The product will not be in plain sight, strict regulations will take place in verifying identification. All identification will be government issued id’s, nothing will slip through the cracks. Please think carefully about this decision and reap millions over the long term, you may not have another chance at this.
Amanda Paisley asked the Council for the support of the sale. Residents can do the research on the pro’s and con’s themselves. We would be foolish to pass this opportunity. We need the revenue.
Amanda Wolfe asked the council if they had an extra million dollars to send elsewhere. Amanda has owned her home now for 6 years. “Do I want my home value to go up – you bet!” The basics of cannabis use should be taught by the parents. Teach what is right and wrong. Teen use of marijuana is Here, teen use of underage alcohol is HERE. It is up to us as parents to lay down the right values. Don’t pass up the opportunity for the revenue to help out our City.
Matt Halverson has lived in the area his entire life. He wants his property value to go up. He did not agree with Kyle Folk on his presentation, he questioned Mayor Ottens on the issues that he supported when he was running for the Mayoral position. Our sidewalks are terrible; there are drainage issues all over the City, “Why aren’t these things being addressed?” – “We need the money!” “If this is a moral issue, then why aren’t we doing something to limit liquor licenses and gambling establishments and how many Meth arrests have we had over the past year – can anyone answer these questions for me?” We need to pass this!
Darryl Hogue, Superintendent of Schools, clarified to the audience that the sale of recreational cannabis would not create a big revenue for the schools, matter of fact it would be very minimal. The 1% facility tax would be shared all over Whiteside County. Mr. Hogue addressed the Mayor by saying, “Your obligation is to do the right thing for our community. You have the opportunity to say no!” This will only bring issues into the school system that will not be good for the students – on behalf of the School District, say no.
Approve consent agenda; approve council meeting minutes from November 1l, 2019, November 16, 2016 and the Bill List for the months of October-November, 2019. Alderman Mask motioned, seconded by Alderman Crosthwaite. No discussion. Roll call vote (5 yes, 3 absent) Motion carried.
Chief Dave Bartels introduced, Officer Courtney Grinnall to the Council and Public. Officer Grinnall resides in Thomson with his wife and two children. Courtney is a former Savanna Police Officer and is looking forward to his new career with the Fulton Police Department.
Approve request from Tourism for $2,050 in funds to be used for the 2019 Christmas Walk held in December. Alderman VanZuiden motioned, seconded by Alderman Mask. No discussion. Roll call vote (5 yes, 3 absent) Motion Approved.
Approve replacement for a 1 Ton Truck for Public Works, in the amount of $85,000. Alderman Field motioned, seconded by Alderman Crosthwaite. No discussion. Roll call vote (5 yes, 3 absent) Motion Approved.
Alderman Mask motioned, seconded by Alderman Crosthwaite to adjourn to the Committee of the Whole. Roll call vote (5 yes, 3 absent). The council entered the Committee of the Whole at 6:12 pm.
1. Public Input & Presentations
A. Curbside Garbage Proposal – Steve Moring proposed to the council a reduction of cost of the first draft for yard waste - it will be reduced from the $55 per year to $28 per year for the annual service. Yard waste will be curbside, but will remain the same as now – by using Kraft style lawn bags or cans marked with an “X”, instead of the toters. Yard waste and garbage pickup will be on different days - yet to be determined, with a once a week pickup. Recycling will be available every other week. Council will vote on the proposal at the next meeting.
B. Ordinance Amending the Municipal Code of the City of Fulton by Adding Chapter 119, Title Xi, Prohibiting Cannabis Business Establishments. Council vote to be possibly at a December 19, 2019 newly scheduled meeting. Council will look to the County vote first.
C. Mayoral recommendation of Mr. Tom Henschel to fill a 3 year vacancy on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Will place on the next council agenda for recommendation.
D. Ordinance Enacting and Adopting a Supplement to the Code of Fulton. Will place on the next council agenda for approval.
E. Alderman Mask gave a brief update on her attendance to the IML Conference that was held in Chicago, IL. She attended conferences on economic development, broadband in our communities and “How to keep retail businesses going.” She urged other councilmen and staff to tour the IML Website. The entire meeting will be posted on the site with a multitude of other valuable information.
F. Christmas Bonus’ for staff employees (full and part time). Will place on the next council agenda for approval.
G. 1st Budget Draft for FY 2020/2021. A reminder that Saturday, November 16, 2019 will be a budget planning session. Public is encouraged to attend.
2. Committee Chair Reports
A. Budget/Finance – N/A
B. Public Property – N/A
C. Public Safety – N/A
D. Parks and Recreation – N/A
E. Marina – Looking forward to better weather, and lower water conditions, should be able to lift boats next week.
F. Zoning – N/A
G. Economic Development – N/A
3. Mayor’s Report – N/A
4. City Administrator’s Report – Included, no additions
5. Aldermen Reports – N/A
6. Public Works Director – Update on roadwork. Will be postponed until Spring of 2020 due to weather.
7. Police Chief – Report Included – Mayor Ottens inquired on the 2 Sergeant positions and who created and approved these appointments. Will ask for legal advice to review the FOP Contract.
8. Tourism Coordinator – Working diligently on the Christmas Walk Preparations
Alderman Mask motioned, seconded by Alderman Crosthwaite to return to the Regular Council Meeting. Roll call vote (5 yes, 3 absent). The Council returned to the Regular Meeting at 6:38 pm.
With no further discussion Alderman Mask motioned, seconded Crosthwaite to adjourn. With voice agreement, the council adjourned at 6:39 pm.