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Sugar Grove says no to recreational marijuana sales in village

With a tie-breaking vote cast by Village President Sean Michels, the Sugar Grove Village Board of Trustees has banned recreational marijuana sales in town.

There were a lot of mixed feelings and opinions among the trustees.

Trustee Jen Konen said the idea of residents leaving the village to do business elsewhere is concerning.

“We should be trying to provide conveniences for our town and also [making sure] our residents don’t have to keep leaving town,” she said.

Trustee Rick Montalto said he doesn’t believe the village is doing a disservice to the residents.

“I don’t think this is going to put any unusual burden on people,” he said, noting they can go to Elburn.

Under the state of Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, the license to allow medicinal marijuana business establishments could be tied to those allowing recreational uses.

Trustee Heidi Lendi explained that she believes opting out of allowing recreational marijuana sales is, in essence, saying medicinal marijuana dispensaries aren’t permitted in town, either.

“We’re blatantly saying we don’t like this medicine you have because people use it for other things other than medicine, so you can’t come in,” she said. “It’s, in essence, kind of a judgement.”

Konen called into question the proposed areas in town designated for recreational marijuana businesses, asking Michels if the location near Waubonsee Community College presents a sticking point, and suggested the village consider other locations.

Michels said any other location in town would not be viable, so “I might as well say no to it altogether.”

Property tax levy hearing set for Nov. 19

Also at the meeting, staff provided an update to village board about the property tax levy.

Matt Anastasia, finance director for the village, said a public hearing will be held later this month, at which point residents can raise questions or provide comments.

Under the Property Tax Limitation Act, the village cannot levy for increases more than the consumer price index, or the rate of inflation. For the 2019 tax levy, the consumer price index is 1.9%.

Staff is recommending an estimated and proposed tax levy of $4,174,400, according to village board documents. After reductions for bond abatements and actual equalized assessed valuation adjustments, the estimated property taxes are $1,757,379, which equates to $42,205, or 2.46%, more than the 2018 extension amount of $1,715,174.

Under the Truth in Taxation Act, the village is required to hold a public hearing if the proposed tax levy, excluding the debt portion, exceeds the prior year’s property tax extension minus debt by more than 5%.

In a related development, Anastasia said the special assessment for the Mallard Point/Rolling Oaks area will continue. The village passed an ordinance in 2012 to assess a special tax levy to cover the cost of improvements in the area.

In addition, the village’s special service area No. 10, which primarily consists of the Sugar Grove Center, will not have a tax levy for 2019 that is collectible in 2020. The area in question has a detention basin at the southeast corner of Capitol Drive and Park Avenue that has not been maintained for more than a year, according to village board documents.

The deadline to file the village’s tax levy ordinance is Dec. 31.

Meeting minutes discussed

In other developments, the board took time to discuss how the village plans to proceed with keeping meeting minutes.

Village Clerk Cynthia Galbreath said the presentation of the minutes will remain basic, but there will be some changes.

A time reference for each agenda item will be provided to prevent the public from having to sift through the recordings in their entirety to find out what happened at a public meeting.

The village also is looking to provide audio recording of meetings to help ensure residents can review what’s transpired at public meetings, if they could not make it.

Galbreath said videotaping the meetings did not work out well.

The village is exploring the idea of using YouTube and/or the village’s website to store audio recordings.

Galbreath said that introducing audio recordings could create a delay of up to two meetings for meeting minutes.

Typically, meeting minutes are prepared in time for the next meeting that immediately follows a meeting.

Further discussion on the topic will continue at the village board’s next meeting. After which, an ordinance codifying changes to meeting minutes and adding audio recordings will be put to vote.

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