Chairman Steve Morris called the regular monthly meeting of Peoria City County Landfill Committee to order on August 19, 2020, at 3 p.m. via Zoom or phone access, which was posted on the city Solid Waste Landfill Committee website ahead of the meeting. Member Zach Oyler was absent. No meeting had been held in July. There were no public comments during the citizens opportunity to address the committee at the beginning of the meeting.
A new business item was a request for discussion regarding the current state Pollution Control Board review of coal ash regulations and what that might mean to the landfill and if the committee might consider a comment letter. WM said that coal ash should not be mixed with municipal solid waste as it interfe res with methane gas production and has other problems. Since the current WM landfill is filling its last area, any plans for coal ash would need to focus on the new Landfill #3. PDC agreed that coal ash needs to be in a monofill. Chairman Morris asked what would be a typical tonnage for coal ash from a power plant. Mr. Coulter commented that at other locations from ½ million to 2 million tons capacity were needed. Foth Engineering will look into this and have some figures for the next meeting. Committee member Williams asked for a refresher on coal ash and issues with it and that will also be planned. Foth did a screen share of a comment letter the Landfill Committee had done several years ago. Committee member Fox said he would consider the current situation similar to what the Committee did before and asked that this topic be on the agenda for the September Committee meeting.
Vice Chairman James Fennell presided at the Peoria County Board meeting's regularly scheduled second Thursday 6 p.m. board meeting with the absence of Chairman Andrew Rand. Member Windish was also absent. Board members and staff were sitting with social distancing and COVID masks in the County Building board room with members Salzer and Daley participating by phone. Members of the public could watch the meeting live via Facebook or YouTube and at different times on Cable Access 22. (Public comments were to be sent to the County Clerk by 3 p.m. on the day of the board meeting and would be read into the record.) County Clerk Rachel Parker read public comments from the following in support of the agenda item regarding the Hanna City Trail: 1) from Roberta English, Wildlife Prairie Park, trail will enhance the Park and be a benefit to the county; 2) Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, benefits of the proposed trail include recreation, added property value, tourism regional attraction; 3) Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club, Rock Island Trail shows economic values and growth from trails including preservation of a green corridor; 4) Brett Baker, Bike Peoria, petition with 1,719 signatures in support of the trail and urge that funding be secured to acquire the trail.
The first Resolution was the Intergovernmental Agreement between Peoria County, the City of Farmington, Fulton County, and Village of Hanna City for the formation of the Hanna City Trail Negotiation Commission. County Administrator Scott Sorrel explained that the main purpose was establishing a body that could proceed with grant applications. Hanna City Mayor Winteroff was in the audience. The project would acquire 24.7 miles of right-of-way that has been rail-banked for years. Board member Sharon Williams was credited with her earnest work on this project since she became a Peoria County Board member and she would be the Board representative on the Negotiation Commission. The significance of this effort is the Federal Government has said this is the last chance for the trail section to be purchased as previous extensions of time have been approved. If the project cannot go forward the land will be released from rail-banking and sold. The goal is to apply for federal grant funding which will cover 80% of the purchase. Twenty per cent is to be a local match and state grants could pay up to half of that. The Board would allocate $170,225.80 as it’s pledge for the funding to come from the Keystone Fund, which is used exclusively for economic development purposes. Mr. Sorrel explained that trail projects like this are classic examples of economic development. Rural area Board member Paul Rosenbaum commented that he had a call from a subdivision resident near Wildlife Prairie Park who is on the subdivision council and strongly urged support for this on behalf of the subdivision. Sharon Williams spoke to receiving calls and communications in support. Board member Dillon thanked Mrs. Williams for her persistence on this project and gave his support. Brian Elsasser said this is a very worthy project as did Kate Pastucha. Vice Chairman Fennell said he had calls in support and others spoke to strong support. The Resolution passed unanimously.
The Peoria County Board of Election Commissioners held its annual meeting on August 11, 2020. The first order of business was to swear in new Board member Dr. Arun Pinto who has replaced retiring member LaColis Reed. Officers of the Board were elected, including the reelection of Matt Bartolo as Chairman.
During the previous week, the State's Attorney held a meeting to determine if several Libertarian candidates would be on the ballot. In spite of objections by a County citizen, the three candidates were found to have valid petitions with 344 of a needed 335 signatures.
Many of the expenses for the November election will be reimbursed by the State. These include Covid costs like face masks/shields, hand sanitizer, and single finger covers for the voting machines. The State will also reimburse for part of the expense of judges, even though there should be fewer needed.
As of August 11, almost 14,000 applications for Vote By Mail had been received. There will be another mailing from the Secretary of State later this month, so there will probably be more applications received after that.
When Director Tom Bride was asked about requiring face masks at polling places, he deferred to the State's Attorney. Some individual polling places may have their own requirements. The State's Attorney recommended a talk with the Health Department. This topic will be discussed again next month.
The Board also discussed the 2021 Budget Request that needs to be approved by the County Board. Expenses next year should be lower, since there will only be local elections. A big expense coming in 2022 will be a voting system. The one currently in use is sixteen years old. The Board asked Director Bride to put a half time position back into the budget.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
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