DANVILLE, IL. (ECWd) –
June 10th, 2014. Vermilion County Board Meeting.
The June meeting began on time at 6 pm. Chairman Weinard started the meeting with 23 present, 4 absent. The adoption of the agenda, approval of minutes and report on claims passes and the meeting moves on to audience comments. Low Quality Video (CLICK HERE) – High Quality Video (CLICK HERE).
Under audience comments this week John Kraft from the Edgar County Watchdogs is the first to speak. Mr. Kraft asks Chairman Weinard if the sale of the county owned farmland is contingent on the addition of the surplus land? Chairman Weinard responds that the sale of the farm ground IS NOT contingent on the addition of the surplus land. Mr. Kraft also asks if the 2-3 acres of surplus land has been offered to the public prior to being added to the farmland sale. There is no response from the county. Mr. Kraft believes that the land should be offered to the public for sale before being declared surplus.
Next to speak under public comments is “Bud”, a Vermilion County resident. He states the he believes that some of the land being offered for sale is missing on the deed and that the surplus land should not be given away with the county farm ground purchase. The speaker also states that county estimate of $6000 to clean up the land is too high and could be done for a lot less. He also advises the board that the building on site is in good, usable condition and could be used for the animal shelter. The speaker also asks the board where the 3-4 million dollars from the sale of the nursing home went and advises the board members that there are 2 graves on the site of the surplus land.
Dave Miles from Pilot Township in Vermilion County speaks next. He questions why board member Mike Marron is still on the county Structural-Safety committee that over-seas approval of industrial wind turbines in Vermilion county. Mr. Marron and his family receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from the industrial wind industry and his appointment to that committee is a clear conflict of interest. Mr. Miles does not believe that he and his family should have to listen to the noise from Mr. Marron’s turbines 24/7. (Mike Marron (22239 N. 180 East Road, Fithian, IL. 61844. [email protected] or 217-841-5269) (Mr. Marron is also the chairman of the Republican Party in Vermilion County). Mr. Miles also wonders why sound expert Mr. Schomer was not invited to address the board on the noise produced by the industrial wind turbines. Was is because the Mr. Schomer believes that low frequency noise from the turbines can cause harm to family’s living too close? Mr. Miles also questions why Assistant State’s attorney Bill Donahue does not enforce the wind ordinance when Invenergy failed to notify the FAA when its position lights were not operating as required. A fine that could amount to over $100,000 dollars. Mr. Miles reminds that board that Donahue stated that if anyone does not make a habit of breaking the ordinance then he will not enforce it. Mr. Miles wonders why Invenergy is exempt from the ordinance. Can anyone violate any ordinance? We should also ask who is in charge here. Bill Donahue or the county board members? Mr. Miles also questions why he cannot find out the amount of the IMRF pension that Chairman Weinard will receive after 3 years as county board chairman. This is public information and he believes that it should not take a FOIA request to get this basic information. Mr. Miles has been trying for 3 months to get this information from the county office. Mr. Miles sincerely hopes that the county will not retaliate against him for asking these questions like they did to Ted Hartke. In Mr. Hartke’s case, county board member Mike Marron filed a false police report against Mr. Hartke after he started asking tough questions about the industrial wind turbines in Pilot Township. Mr. Miles ask the local media look into the IMRF pension amounts for Chairman Weinard.
Mr. Arthur Cronkite is the next speaker. Mr. Cronkite begins by saying that the local media will never look into an issue such as the IMRF pension since they have done almost no reporting of the wind turbine issues at the county board meetings. Mr. Cronkite derides the secret meetings and special handshakes with local leaders and government officials that is the method of operation of the industrial wind companies when they come to a new area. He points out that land owners and neighbors are often “bound and gagged” by the wind industry contracts that supersede their 1st amendment rights. The term “wind farm” is code word for the corporate rape of the environment and destruction of families. There is no husbandry associated with a wind farm. A wind cluster in a rural community means death and destruction. Mr. Cronkite tells the board, if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. The board inaction is considered gross negligence and maybe even a conspiracy since a board member’s family is being paid by the wind industry. Mr. Cronkite also reminds everyone that the local mainstream media almost never reports on the public comment part of the county board meetings. He also states that he has not been able to view the county board meeting videos since January and the last time he was able to check, the public comments section had been edited out. When you add it all up – IT STINKS!
The next public speaker is Darrell Cambron from rural Rankin. He advises the board that he has spent some time at the home of a family that has industrial wind turbines very close to their home. He is amazed at the impact from the turbines. The effect was real and it gave him a headache on one day and nausea on another day. He asks the board to remember that there are people in Vermilion County that are suffering from the decisions made by this county board.
The next speaker is Ted Hartke, a wind victim of the county approved Invenergy complex in Pilot Township. Mr. Hartke mentions that his son is back to getting all A’s on his report card since his family was forced to leave their home due to the noise from the industrial wind turbines. Mr. Hartke believes that this should never happen again to a family in Vermilion County due to erroneous decisions made by this county board or the inaction of the board to remedy the situation. As a surveyor, Mr. Hartke sees the results of poor decisions and planning every day. He doesn’t want to see the county board’s failure to act on things like the wind ordinance to keep these kind of things from happening again. He is also interested in the 2-3 acres that the board is considering as surplus county land. Mr. Hartke is essentially homeless since him and his family have been forced from their home due to the wind turbine noise. He believes that every citizen in the county should have the chance to obtain the surplus land.
At this point, Chairman Weinard ends the public comment period with 9 minutes remaining.
BOARD ACTION / DISCUSSION
Executive & Legislation – a name change for the delinquent tax collection company and the resolution for prevailing wage rate passes.
Finance/Personnel – a resolution to increase the compensation for elections judges transporting election results to the county office passed. The Animal Control, Mental Health ordinance and Highway ordinance all pass.
“SURPLUS” PROPERTY ACTION TAKEN – PROPERTY GIVEN AWAY FREE
Property – a resolution is presented to declare 4 acres of county property surplus and that is be made available for transfer to the purchaser of the county farm land. At this point Terri shows a video of a very nice piece of land that will be declared surplus. Mr. Green asks if there are any grave sites on the property and Chairman Weinard responds that he does not know without a survey. Mr. A.J. Wright feels that if this is a separate property from the tillable land, then is should be sold separately and go to the highest bidder. Mr. Miller is concerned about grave sites on the property. Chairman Weinard responds that they will not know for sure until a survey is done. Board member Cathy Jenkins asks if the land could be used to expand the animal shelter. Mr. Weinard responds that the shelter has room to expand to the north. Mr. Stahl ask about zoning and if the land is in the un-incorporated area of the county. Chairman Weinard again confirmed that the sale of the county farm ground is not contingent on the board declaring this property surplus (and the transfer to the farm ground buyer). A motion is made by Mr. Miller to table the resolution until it is determined if any grave sites are on the land. The motion fails 16 – no, 7 yes. Mr. A.J. Wright states that he would be willing to offer $5000 for the land and makes a motion to amend the resolution to offer the land to the highest bidder. Mr. Green asks how much another auction would cost to run. The auctioneer agent, Brian Nevils, is in the audience and he states that the amount would be $800 for the auctioneer fee and $5000 for advertising. (ECWd side note: $5,000 is a LOT of money for land sale advertising!) The motion to sell to the highest bidder fails, 17 – no, 6 – yes. A call by Mr. Fox is requested and before any further discussion can begin, Chairman Weinard calls for a roll-call vote. The resolution passes, 15 – yes, 8 – no.
There will be a separate article written in reference to this property that was voted by the board to be given away for no consideration in return.
Transportation – all resolutions for county bridge and highway improvements pass.
No Executive session was needed.
Chairman’s comments – the Chairman has no problem viewing the videos on the county website. (It should be noted that the download time was over 30 minutes). The chairman also dismissed many county residents that are having issues with the Invenergy wind cluster in the county. He outrageously suggests that after the county board approved the project that they look for answers “across the street” (meaning at the court house….that they should sue someone to get a solution to their issues.) How horrible does a leader of a county have to be to suggest that the residents of the county need to file a lawsuit to resolve an issue that the county caused? How callous does a leader of Vermilion county need to be to suggest such a thing? What message does this send to the residents of the county when the county board screws up and then declines to take any action to correct the problem? How should the residents of the county react knowing full well that the next time this could be their own homes that are threatened? If you are following the issues of Vermilion County on a regular basis you should start questioning if the county is headed in the right direction and if we have the right leadership in place.
Next meeting will be July 8th at 6PM at the Danville Courthouse annex.