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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
The Pike County Board met Monday, Oct. 25, with Rodger Hannel, Mark Mountain and Derek Ross not in attendance.
At the meeting, the board heard a request from James and Betsy Smith of Atlas to increase the number of liquor licenses in unincorporated Pike County from five to six, so that the couple could apply for a liquor license for a planned business at the old general store in Atlas – on the northeast corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 54 and Illinois Route 96.
According to the Smiths, they plan to open a business named Zeke’s Junction in the building, with a goal of opening by April. The Smiths are currently renovating the building, having completely gutted much of the structure.
The liquor license is being sought in order to sell packaged liquor and liquor to be consumed on the premises in order to accommodate gaming machines. The Smiths reported that the business would also sell retail items and house a deli counter.
Tom Lewis motioned to approve the additional liquor license, and Mark Sprague seconded the motion. The board voted to increase the number of liquor licenses to six, with board member Amy Gates voting against the request.
The Smiths will then need to formally apply for a liquor license. The application will then be reviewed by liquor commissioner and county board chairman Jim Sheppard. Sheppard said he anticipated receiving the completed application Tuesday afternoon, at which point he would determine if the applicants had met all of the requirements of the application – and grant or deny the license.
The board also approved Prairie Power’s request for a conditional use permit and a variance for the placement of a power substation on County Highway 4, approximately two miles north of Barry.
According to a representative of Prairie Power, the construction of the substation is part of Prairie Power’s five year plan to increase its capacity for electrical load throughout central Illinois.
The sale of three tax delinquent properties were approved – one to Robert W. Jones for $1,004.19, one to the City of Griggsville for $828, and one to Sandy Taylor for James Gilmore for $1,402.50.
Also approved were the minutes from the board’s five budget hearings held earlier this fall. Sheppard also reminded the board that any proposed budget amendments were due by Friday, November 5.
Sheppard said he thinks the budget for the coming year looks good.
“It’s balanced at the moment,” Sheppard said. “There are a couple of numbers that have some padding. If everything goes right we won’t have to borrow, but we may have to borrow a little. Then in year three of my plan we shouldn’t need to borrow.”
The board also approved a general fund reimbursement to the County Clerk’s document storage fund for borrowed revenue stamp money in the amount of $17,390.
Also approved was the Agriculture Committee’s request to increase the code hearing fee and to contract a professional title search to determine the ownership of the New Philadelphia cemetery.
In old business, State’s Attorney Zack Boren reported that a class action lawsuit, in which the county is involved, against opioid manufacturers continues to move forward.
Boren anticipates a resolution to the suit sometime in January. Any funds paid by the opioid manufacturers would likely be used for drug treatment and prevention programs.