It will be up to the voters to decide if they want to allow cannabis production or sales in the Village of Oblong.
At the village board meeting Wednesday three options were on the table. The first option was to prohibit the establishment of a cannabis sales or production business. That option was unanimously voted down.
The second option was to amend the current business code and tax ordinances allowing for the establishment of a cannabis business. That option was unanimously approved.
The third option was to place the question of allowing the establishment of a cannabis business in the village as a referendum on the March primary election ballot. This option was also unanimously approved.
What does all this mean for Oblong? On Jan. 1 the establishment of a cannabis business in Illinois will become legal in areas that did not previously opt out, and must meet state guidelines. After that time, the village cannot prohibit the establishment of such a business. If one were to be established, changes to the tax and business ordinances would be made to accommodate it.
On March 17, 2020, voters will go to the polls and decide if they want to continue to allow establishments or prohibit them in the future. If the voters say "no" to a cannabis establishment, then they will be prohibited and changes to the ordinances will not matter. If voters approve allowing cannabis establishments, then regulations are already in place.
Also at the meeting, the establishment of a Queen of Hearts-type fundraiser was presented by Jamee Huber.
The premise is an ongoing 50/50 type fundraiser in which a winning ticket is drawn every week or two weeks. The holder of the winning ticket then may draw the Queen of Hearts from a deck of cards. If the Queen is drawn, that person wins 50 percent of the total. If another card is drawn, the person many or many not get a token prize, and that card is removed from the deck, increasing the odds of winning for the next person.
Several surrounding communities are already holding these types of drawings and prizes can grow to several hundred thousand dollars and even more than $1 million. Proceeds are expected to go to specified civic, school or other organizations or projects.
Huber said they are still in the early planning stages. No supporting organization has been established yet, but some have shown interest. There are also legal and logistical requirements, but Huber said he was asking the board for its basic approval before moving forward. Mayor Teresa Fielder and the trustees said it sounds like a good idea and the village would do what it could to support it.
In other business Fielder took time to honor the passing of former Trustee Debbie Wilson for her 16 years of service on the board.
Reports were given on recreational projects. Leadership Crawford Country reported they have completed the fundraising for the dog park and fencing will be going in later this fall. The Fair Board is moving ahead with the plan of increasing the seating area on the north side of the track.
Non-motorized watercraft will now be allowed on the lake. Craft must meet all IDNR requirements and cannot be over 10 feet in length. Swimming is still prohibited. If use of water craft on the lake is popular, additional resources will be allocated to improve its use.
Oblong will also be getting a tiny house. The board approved the construction of a 16 by 40 foot tiny style house on the lot at 304-306 N. Harrison. At this time the tiny house is being treated as a manufactured home. Future requests to set up similar house will be reviewed on an individual basis.
The board approved the transfer of $200,000 from general fund to sewer lagoon drainage fund. Also approved was a $10,000 loan from the revolving loan fund to Bill Burke for a new business project. The loan is pending approval of an additional loan from the CCDA revolving loan fund.
During the month of September the Oblong Police issued nine citations, had 10 offences reported, handled two accidents and had 90 calls for service.
Trick or Treat will Thursday, Oct. 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. at houses with porch lights on.
The next scheduled meeting will Wednesday, Nov. 6.