Mayor Ottens called the Public Hearing to order at 5:30 pm and directed the Deputy Clerk to call the roll. On roll call, Aldermen, Keith King, Paul Banker, Barbara Mask, Sue VanKampen, Dan Nederhoff, Margaret Crosthwaite, Gene Field and Mike VanZuiden were present. Also in attendance were City Attorney Bill Shirk, Staff Members – City Administrator Randy Boonstra, Dan Clark, Dave Bartels, Debi Ervin, and Dale Sikkema, and thirty-two individuals from within the City of Fulton and surrounding areas. John Rohlf and Daniel Nardini represented the Media.
Mayor Ottens began the meeting and clarified that this meeting was to take into consideration views from the public about the sale of recreational marijuana within the City limits of Fulton. He clarified that this is the law passed by the State of Illinois to allow the use of recreational marijuana beginning January 1, 2020, not the City. He also stated that the State of Illinois is issuing two licenses to the owners of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, and that a 4% Sales Tax will be imposed, 1% normal sales tax and 3% a cannabis tax. Local owner of the Dispensary has estimated that the first annual tax will be approximately $150,000. Either this will go to the City of Fulton if allowed within the limits, or the other option will be the sale within the County of Whiteside, resulting in the county reaping the sales tax.
Jane Johnson, retired social worker, with over 20 years of service was the first citizen to speak. Jane stated that with her experience working with clients - marijuana is a mind altering, addictive drug, which causes negative behavior in individuals. She understands that Fulton is need of revenue but please find it from some other source. If we allow the sale of marijuana within City limits, be prepared to hire more manpower. More police officers and emergency medical personal will be needed for the influx of crime and overdoses. She asks, “do we want this for our City?’
Darryl Hogue, Superintendent of Schools reiterated his remarks that he made from the previous City Council meeting, stating his concerns for the school district with the access of drugs. “Increased Access of Drugs” means an increase of negative actions, more challenges and increased discipline for the students. You must limit the access, a barrier needs to be in-between the individual and the product.
Scott Stephan thanked the council for all of their hard work and hoped that they would vote “No” to the sale of recreational marijuana within the City. If you vote “no”, be assured that you will have a clear conscious when the first accident occurs in the area due to the legalization of marijuana that the state has passed. Say, “Not in our backyard!”
Russ Holesinger, local Attorney representing the 4th Ward, appreciates everyone’s service – Aldermen and Citizens. Russ knows firsthand from his legal experiences we have difficult decisions to make. Being a lifelong resident of Fulton I want a decision that is “good for the community,” Vote No…We are sending a poor message if we say it is okay.
Kyle Folk, 4th Ward, extended a thank you to the Fulton Journal for their reporting of the previous meeting. After the previous meeting, Mr. Folk said he had a better understanding of the revenues and expenditures incurred within the City. Kyle presented many facts and statistics about marijuana and its effects, as he did previously at the past council meeting. He urged citizens to sign a petition that is circulating within the County of Whiteside - to stop the sale of recreational marijuana. Mr. Folk urged the Council not to make a bad decision and say no to the sales. Bad ideas have victims and the people of Fulton will “be” the victims. “Prohibit the sale, stand up!”
Renay Byers, spoke about the programs offered at the E.P.I.C. for addiction. Most individuals have confided that addictions began years ago with the occasional use of marijuana and continued with different drugs. Renay has been a lifelong resident of Fulton and takes pride in her small town and community. Please say no to the sale within the City.
Jill Hamstra grew up in Fulton and now lives in Albany. She pointed to the City’s webpage and the meaning of Fulton as a whole. We feature the Marina, Heritage Canyon, Windmill, Museum, many other attractions, and are recognized for our pride and rich Dutch Heritage. Under the info description of Fulton, it continuously refers to Fulton as “Wholesome”. What is “Wholesome?” It is promoting health and well-being, strong body, mind and morals. This is what Fulton is. We need to protect our Community. Distance is a factor - “The farther away you can put something, the less likely you are to get it.” Vote no.
Kristin Huisenga, a parent of 4 children, and residing in Fulton is currently working with neighboring towns to “Conserve our Communities.” Kristin presents many facts and statistics on increased crime, theft, accidents and overall incidences with the use of recreational marijuana. She states that the marijuana manufactured these days is much different from years ago.
Kristin presented different marketing aspects that companies use to promote the sale of marijuana. Advertising targets the younger generation in the form of “Back to School Sales”, candy bars, gummy candies, cannabis extracts and teas, pot suckers, pot rocks and even advertising featuring Santa Claus. We must put a barrier in between the availability of legalized marijuana and our children and young adults. By allowing this, it will increase the possibility of teenage use. She urged the council and audience to research the internet for statistics on legalization of recreational marijuana. The internet has a wealth of knowledge on the subject – one of the best links is www.hidta.org.
Alderman Mask asked if anyone in the audience had any facts about incidents that may occur out of any area’s (city) limits. Ms. Hamstra replied with an example of “Distance being a factor”.
Alderman VanKampen asked the audience if any of them knew of other states besides Colorado having statistics. Jill Nederhoff replied that although some states are now starting to report a few instances it is still too early for comparisons due to the lack of time. As far as other countries that have legalization of marijuana, there are only two, Canada and Uruguay.
Alderman Field asked how many in the audience have contacted their state representatives about the legalization. He has heard negative, negative, negative about the legalization but believes there is something more to it than just the revenue.
With no further discussion, the Public Hearing adjourned at 6:10 pm at the former Fulton Journal Office and the regular Council Meeting proceeded in the City Hall Council Chambers.
Mayor Ottens called the meeting to order at 6:18 PM. Roll call omitted, since taken at the Public Hearing. All Aldermen and Staff were present.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Mayor Ottens asked if at this time if there was any public comments.
Jackie Wilkin from the City’s fourth Ward asked about the playground equipment that is being installed at Klooster Park. She is concerned that we have a public safety issue and wide open to lawsuits due to the lack of precautionary measures that have been going on for 9-10 weeks. She stated that there were exposed wires, holes and cement pieces all over the area and nothing is taped or secured. We are concerned for the safety of our children.
Public Works Director Dan Clark explained that there are plans to take down the equipment at this point in the year and reinstall everything this coming spring. Due to lack of additional Public Works employees and the extreme situation with the wet weather, it has not been a favorable time for the completion of the install.
Alderman Mask is concerned with the open holes (footings) that a child might fall in. She has had several calls from citizens with this same concern. Citizen Charles Thacker also made mention that there are multiple holes not just one, and sees this as an issue. PW Director Clark said he would make sure that there were barriers around the holes for the winter months. Alderman Mask did not believe that barriers were enough and asked that the Public Safety Committee research the problem and return with a recommendation to the Council on what should be done at the park to assure everyone’s safety until the equipment is installed properly in the spring.
Kathy Kuebel addressed the Council with her issues at School Park, particularly under the jungle gym. She states that the surface under the piece of equipment needs drastic attention. The concrete under the playground equipment is exposed. What will we do as a City when a child falls and receives a possible head trauma hitting the concrete? She stated that she has complained about this issue multiple times in the past and there have been no repairs. Public Works will look into the problem and correct as soon as possible.
Approve consent agenda; approve council meeting minutes from September 23, 2019, and the Bill List for the months of September - October. Alderman Mask motioned, seconded by Alderman Crosthwaite. Brief discussion on the bill list and explanation given by Chief Bartels about uniform allowances for Officers. Roll call vote – 8 yes - motion carried.
First item on agenda, Recognition of the “Friends of the Windmill”. Alderman Mask asks to postpone until next Council Meeting due to a previous engagement by the organization. All agreed upon to have on upcoming Agenda.
Adopt Ordinance amending Chapter 34 entitles “City Policies” in Title 3, entitled “Administration”, by adding section 34.03 entitled “Expense Reimbursement Policy” for the City of Fulton. This is a policy within the City to reimburse employees for all “necessary” expenditures or losses incurred by the employee within the employees’ scope of employment and directly related to services performed for the City of Fulton. Alderman VanZuiden motioned, seconded by Alderman Mask. Discussion followed. Alderman VanKampen asked, “Will this include all employees, even if they are under a contract?” Attorney Shirk confirmed that it would include all employees. With no further discussion, Roll call vote. (8 yes, 0 no) Motion approved.
Acceptance of used Defibrillators from the Fulton Fire Department. Alderman Crosthwaite motioned, seconded by Alderman Mask. Discussion to follow. Alderman Field asked why we have to vote on a donation from the Fire Department. Dale Sikkema, Fire Department Board President stated that it is necessary as to release the department from liability. The acceptance releases the fire department from any occurring expenses moving forward. With no further discussion, Roll call vote. (8 yes, 0 no). Motion approved.
Approve Tourism Director Debi Ervin’s retirement effective December 20, 2019. Alderman VanZuiden motioned, seconded by Alderman King. Discussion to follow. All Aldermen comment on the wonderful job Debi has done for the City. They will miss her enthusiastic attitude and professionalism that she has provided during her years of service with the City. Debi said she is not leaving Fulton behind. She truly loves the community and will be volunteering over the next several years with all the activities and festivals that Fulton offers. With no further questions or discussion – Roll call vote (8 yes, 0 no) Motion approved.
Alderman Mask motioned, seconded by Alderman King to adjourn to the Committee of the Whole. Roll call vote (8 yes, 0 no). The council entered the Committee of the Whole at 6:30 pm.
Alderman VanZuiden motioned, seconded by Alderman Crosthwaite to return to the regular council meeting. Roll call vote (8 yes, 0 no). The council returned to the regular meeting at 7:10 PM.
The council entered closed session at 7:15 PM.
The council exited closed session at 7:50 PM.
With no further discussion and voice agreement, the council adjourned at 7:55 pm.
Committee of the Whole
1. Public Input & Presentations
a. Recommendation to cancel second Council Meeting in December…Council agrees to put on next agenda for vote.
b. Announce hiring of a replacement Police Officer. No vote needed per ordinance. City Administrator Boonstra will approve hiring. New Officer “Courtney Grinnell” will possibly begin employment the first week of November, pending evaluations and physical.
c. City Administrator recommends increasing CRDC contribution from $2500 to $4000 in the next fiscal year’s budget. Administrator Boonstra sits on the CRDC Board and states in the last two years the CRDC has been very beneficial in promoting Fulton and the Industrial Park. Will discuss further in upcoming Budget workshops.
d. Trick or Treat will be on October 31, from 5-8 pm. Some discussion arouse about a 3-hour span. Suggested turning the front lights out when you are out of candy. Date and times were in conjunction with Clinton’s Trick or Treat.
e. Presentation video on Fulton Harbor – operated by the Holesinger Family. Presently conducting business in shipping wind generator parts on barges.
f. Handicap Glider for School Park with the Kiwanis Assistance. Kiwanis Club would like the City to deposit the funds previously donated for the swing and they will continue to work diligently, fund raising for additional monies needed for a better quality swing.
g. Training request for Officer Neblung. This is a mandatory class to certify the Officer in Sexual Assault Investigations.
h. Recommendation to amend Class C Liquor License to match closing time with other
Licenses issued. This would allow the business to be open longer hours and on Sundays. Place on next agenda for vote.
i. Propose an Ordinance to Amend the Zoning Code to provide guidelines for Adult Use Cannabis Operations in our City. Suggestion is to split the Business District. The second Ordinance proposal would be to provide guidelines for Adult Use Cannabis Operations in our City for Craft Cultivation. Zoning Officer Dale Sikkema would call a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting and recommendations would than go before the City Council for approval. Both ordinances recommended for the next City Council Agenda for approval.
2. Committee Chair Reports
a. Budget/Finance- minutes included
b. Public Property- N/A
c. Public Safety-N/A
d. Parks & Recreation- Requested that Pleasure Park discussion on next Committee of the Whole Agenda
e. Marina- N/A
f. Zoning- N/A
g. Economic Development- N/A
3. Mayor’s Report – Asked for Committee recommendations - if any Aldermen would like to be on a different committee please reach out to him.
4. City Administrator’s Report- included – City Administrator is also planning on having the Curbside Refuse Collection discussions on the next several Council Meetings
5. Aldermen Reports-N/A
6. Public Works Director- Included
7. Police Chief- Included
8. Tourism Coordinator- Update on Timken project for the brochure rack that will be at Lock and Dam 13, Christmas Walk Committee meeting is scheduled and updates for the City that post on Facebook are really working. Activities, meetings and general information shared on the Social Media network; great comments are coming in about the City’s FB page.
9. Fulton Historical Society – Included. Alderman Mask mentioned the retaining wall at the Historical Society and said they are continuously looking for Masons to do some work on it.
10. Adjourn- Alderman VanZuiden motioned, seconded by Alderman Crosthwaite return back to the regular council meeting. Roll call vote (8 yes, 0 no). The council returned to the regular meeting at 7:10 PM.
Tammy L Garibay
Deputy Clerk – City of Fulton