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Macoupin County Board opposes law limiting county authority on renewable energy

By ERIN SANSON
Enquirer~Democrat Reporter

The Macoupin County Board met on Tues., Nov. 14 for its regular meeting. They discussed several topics, including an amendment to the truancy ordinance and a resolution regarding renewable energy.

Renewable Energy

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 4412 into law in January. H.B. 4412 sets limits on local governments to regulate renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy projects. As Macoupin County residents may remember, the County Board held two public hearings regarding the application of a wind farm in Macoupin County this summer. No county board or local government, under H.B. 4412, is allowed to set limits to renewable energy projects more restrictive than the limits set by Illinois State law. There have been both critics and supporters of the bill, though many rural governing bodies, including the Macoupin County board members have been critical of the limitations this law sets on their authority.

The Macoupin County Board decided to adopt a resolution written by Macoupin County State’s Attorney Jordan Garrison stating their opposition to the removal of county authority on renewable energy.

The resolution reads:

“WHEREAS, the primary industry in Macoupin County is agriculture; and

WHEREAS, multiple renewable energy companies are developing projects within Macoupin County; and

WHEREAS, Public Act 102-1123 does not allow the Macoupin County Board to approve projects based on what is best for the citizens of Macoupin County; and

WHEREAS, Public Act 102-1123 forces the Macoupin County Board to approve wind and solar project without any meaningful regulation for the protection of the County or its citizens; and

WHEREAS, the Macoupin County Board believes economic development is vital for Macoupin County to prosper; and

WHEREAS; the Macoupin County Board believe the citizens of Macoupin County should not be forced by the State to approve projects which are not in their best interest; and

WHEREAS, Governor J.B Pritzker in August of 2022 stated he was opposed to taking away local control on the siting of wind and solar farms; and

WHEREAS, less than 20 days after Governor J.B. Pritzker was sworn in for his second term as the Governor of Illinois, he signed Public Act 102-1123 taking away local control on the siting of wind and solar farms; and

BE IT RESOLVED, the Macoupin County Board opposes the destruction of County authority to regulate renewable energy project in Public Act 102-1123; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; the Macoupin County Board calls for Governor J.B. Pritzker to honor his statements from August 2022 and support legislation repealing Public Act 102-1123; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; the Macoupin County Board will not engage in the illusory practice of siting wind and solar farms under Public Act 102-1123; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; the Macoupin County Board calls for the Macoupin County State’s Attorney to develop the strictest possible building permit to regulate the construction of these projects to ensure the safety of the citizens and Macoupin County’s economic development.”

The ordinance was adopted with a 15-2 vote.

Truancy Ordinance

An amendment to the Macoupin County truancy ordinance was requested due to some difficulties enforcing the trauncy laws. The Macoupin County truancy ordinance set the minimum age of truancy at seven years of age, the Illinois truancy laws state that the minimum age for truancy is six years old. This caused some difficulty for the county truancy officer who requested the ordinance be updated to fit Illinois state law. Children can now be truant in Macoupin County from the age of six onwards.

Appointments

Richard Sims, Phyllis Moffet and Craig Moffet were reappointed to the Pulliam Cemetery board for a six year term ending Jan. 31, 2029.

Other Business

The board approved two petitions for culvert replacements. One culvert is in Barr township, the county’s potion of the cost will be $1,800. The other replacement is in Dorchester township, the county’s share of the project costs will be $4,500.

The resolution approving the State’s Attorney’s office participation in the Appellate Prosecutors Program was approved.

The board approved a resolution amending the grant fund appropriation line for the Public Defender Grant for costs associated with the SAFE-T Act.

A resolution for the transfer of funds to the Federal Aid Matching Fund for the Highway Department was approved. The appropriation for Permanent Transfer in the General Fund was increased by $43,551 and a permanent transfer for that amount was authorized to the Federal Aid Matching Fund.

A on year audit agreement with Scheffel Boyle, PC. was approved by the board. Due to the proposed increasing costs for audits the board approved only a one year extension instead of a four year contract with the firm.

The board approved a rule change requiring bills to be submitted for upcoming board meetings on the Tuesday before the meeting, rather than the Thursday before to allow more time for review.

An agreement for supplemental engineering services with WHKS for Hagaman Bridge was approved. The supplemental services are needed due to changes to the Illinois Department of Transportation seismic policy.

A written version of the financial policies was presented to the board, who approved the draft policies.

A Tax Levy Hearing will be held on Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m.