The subjects of alcohol and gaming brought out several Norris City residents to the village board meeting on Monday night. There were questions asked and opinions expressed.
Brenda Crouch wondered, “In a town of 1100 people, do we really need four establishments selling alcohol?” She said she felt deceived because, at one time, the board had stated they would set a limit on alcohol licenses, and that the board seemed to now be changing their stance. Others voiced concern that eventually, there would be a tavern in town. There were questions about gaming and what it would bring to the town, for good or bad.
Aaron Summers, owner of Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant approached the board about his plan to bring outdoor dining to his establishment. He also asked about changing his alcohol serving hours. Right now he doesn’t serve until 2 p.m., but asked to be able to serve at 11. He too wishes to bring gaming into his restaurant. The mayor asked him about how many high school students come in for lunch. Summers stated not that many, but there are plenty there in the evening when alcohol is served. Summers stated that all of his servers are trained by the state’s program called Basset to serve alcohol, knowing how to read a license and card people to weed out any underaged kids trying to get alcohol. The board tabled the discussion to give it more thought.
Clerk Jim Crouch and Sue James were missing from Monday night’s meeting, but all of the rest of the board answered roll call. Joe Skaggs said the prayer and led the Pledge of Allegiance. The February minutes and treasurer’s report were approved and the bills approved for payment.
Joan Fromm of Gallatin County approached the board about the possibility of opening a business in Norris City with Airbnb. She asked if the board thought there might be a need for it and if the village would be able to assist her financially in getting started. Airbnb is essentially an online booking agency for overnight accommodations. Joan’s plan is to purchase a house that would be used as overnight accommodations. The house could be rented for a couple of nights or a week or a month depending on availability. The bookings are handled online through the company and she would do the upkeep and take care of the home. The board tabled that until they can see more information.
Denise Karns approached the board about the possibility of the village cleaning off the library’s parking lot in inclement weather after the city workers finish the streets. The library has a lot of traffic and programs going on. The mayor said he thought that could be handled.
Joey Lane approached the board with an update on the the improvements to the old grade school. He had nothing but praise for the what the WOVSED district has done for the school and what a nice place the kids have to attend. He thought the board might want an appraisal because of the generosity of the village to give towards the upgrading of the building. The board was happy to hear it and WOVSED also agreed to give the board a tour any time.
Police Department activity for the month of February was low. There were 4 reports: disorderly conduct, criminal damage, theft, trespass, domestic battery, and battery, with zero arrests and citations. There were 8 calls to County Dispatch, 11 to 911, 12 to the NC Police office and 23 citizen calls or contact.
Officers were present at the NCOE homeccoming and regional games hosted by NCOE. There were no incidents requiring police involvement.
Office D. Dale and officer S. Stokes assisted Carmi Police Department Sgt. D. Buttry with a K9 drug search at the high school and a K9 demonstration at the annex for the students.
Chief D. Tharp attended the Southern Illinois Criminal Justice summit in Effingham. This was a two day conference attended by more than 400 law enforcement officers from So. Illinois. Animal Control: a cat and a dog were impounded.
TIF Updates and contracts: The mayor had two contracts, one with Shorty’s BBQ that has been signed. For 5 parcel lots and utility installation and closing costs, the TIF paid $23,250.
A contract for DoOver Decor for replacement door and windows with a construction contingency, the TIF paid $12,800. The board voted in favor of the contracts.
Plans for a permanent downtown Dairy Day stage have begun. Four entities have agreed to give $10,000 each for the project. It was suggested, since it would be built on village property, that they take the lead in the planning. A committee will be formed with a member from each group on it. Joe Skaggs volunteered to represent the Village. The other pledges were from Indian Creek Township, the Dairy Day Association and Norris City Industries.
Due to the lateness of the meeting, the coverage of the rest of the Village Board meeting will continue in next week’s issue.