COAL VALLEY — A lively discussion ensued at the Coal Valley Village board meeting Wednesday night after the first reading of an amendment to an ordinance that would prohibit cannabis business establishments. Despite the conversation, it appeared no minds were changed.
That was even after the board heard a short presentation by Cory Waggoner, CEO of Higher Yields, a cannabis business consulting firm that included questions from the board. Still it appears the board is headed toward a 5-1 vote against a dispensary in the village at its Dec. 4 meeting.
“It does appear that the board is going to lean towards not allowing it,” said Village President Mike Bartels after the meeting.
Only trustee Jake Hoyt spoke in favor of allowing a dispensary in town, citing the tally of surveys returned to the village and noting that the board is there to represent the people.
The village sent out surveys to 1,400 customers that had water accounts with the village.
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The village had 517 surveys returned, with 310 in favor of adding a dispensary and 207 against it. That return on a survey is good, Annette Ernst, village administrator, said.
The cutoff date for returning surveys was Nov. 4, with about 50 still unopened coming in after the deadline, she said.
Based on talk around town that reached her office, Ernst said she is not really surprised at the results. “I kind of expected it. We talk to a lot of people when they come in and when I am out and about. It didn’t surprise me at all.” She was somewhat surprised by the number of replies though.
Trustee Caleb Argo said he wondered how many people in the village were truly educated on the issue during the debate, and for that reason, among others, remained against it.
Among the most important items the village passed Wednesday included approving IMEG, by a 5-1 vote, to prepare plans and specifications for bidding purposes for the water main extension starting at 12020 Niabi Zoo Road to the new properly sized elevated water tower. The proposed extension will provide the capability to connect Niabi Zoo and future developments and/or annexations to Coal Valley water. Two other companies also submitted bids, but the board cited the village’s long-running relationship with IMEG in reaching its decision.
After the meeting, Bartels said it is unclear when the project will be started, as some details still need to be agreed to regarding the zoo’s contribution to the project.
The village board also approved purchasing a gas-powered water/plow truck from Lindquist Ford in the amount of $38,041 and the truck box from Bonnell in the amount of $27,555. There was some debate regarding gas-powered versus diesel.