Marengo News Briefs October 2019


A Sept. 30 special meeting of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission will consider and make a recommendation to the city council regarding zoning text amendments for adult-use cannabis businesses as a special use designation in various zoning districts to allow the sale and cultivation of the product. It will also review the constructs of a Municipal Retailer’s Occupation Tax (sales tax) in accordance with the Illinois Municipal League model, which can impose up to 3 percent on persons engaged in the cannabis-selling for recreational use.

The draft ordinances were slated for deliberation during the city council’s Sept. 23 meeting, and will also alter Chapter 23 of the city code, prohibiting public use of marijuana as a criminal offense. The action was prompted by recent state of Illinois legislation on its use, and municipalities are addressing their own codes for standards to be effectuated by Jan. 1, 2020.

The Sept. 30 public hearing and meeting will review the proposed ordinance to define the various classifications of the businesses, as outlined in a chi-table and packet letter to the commission, prepared by City Manager Josh Blakemore. The draft legislation would be inclusive of “cultivation centers, craft growers, dispensaries, infusers, processors and transporters” within business districts, agricultural transition, business parks, manufacturing, along with office, research and light industrial.

An ancillary ordinance component covers the taxation model of imposing a sales tax of up to 3 percent in 2.25 percent stages on gross sales of the product by the business. However any tax impositions would not be applied to product sold for medical use under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act.

The recommendations forwarded to the full city council may also be rejected by its members.



An Aug. 12 stabbing, at 3:00 a.m., where Marengo police officers found a victim with multiple wounds, has resulted in an arrest warrant for Beloit, WI- resident, Jordan J. Zobal, on charges of aggravated battery, aggravated battery with a knife, battery, and fleeing the scene of an accident. The injuries to the victim were considered non-life threatening, and he was transported to Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital.

Investigations revealed the victim and a suspect had been arguing, and the matter escalated into a fight where the victim was stabbed several times. The suspect fled the area and struck a parked vehicle in the north end of an apartment complex parking lot. Marengo Patrol Officer Andy Kjellgren, had said, “There was no danger to the community, it was an isolated incident.”

Cooling jackets of three influent water pumps at the municipal treatment plant have deteriorated, and a contract to replace them was approved by the city council Sept. 23.
Concerning two separate line items on the Sept. 23 meeting agenda, the Marengo City Council voted unanimously to accept a motion to rebuild two wastewater treatment plant influent pumps not to exceed $17,500 and a change order for the rehabilitation of its municipal well #6 for an amount not to exceed $45,600. Both approvals were necessitated by immediate repairs and the discovery of additional issues.

The Aurora-based firm of Hidrostal LLC was engaged, when an onsite assessment identified the deterioration of a cooling jackets on three pumps. In a letter to the city council, Plant Foreman James Mangum noted the cooling jackets are normally “3-5 millimeters in thickness, we have gotten to the point where the jacket is now more than halfway gone.” A breach could lead to an oil leak or complete pump rebuild. The funding will be allocated from the plant’s Maintenance equipment budget line item.

“The repairs are taking place at the present time, as is the well repairs,” said Marengo City Manager Josh Blakemore. “The contract was based on timing, and be able to complete those repairs quickly. It was also noted during the Aug. 26 council meeting, when the contract was approved, that there could be other issues.”

Waupun,WI-based Municipal Well and Pump requested the change order of $45,600 to rebuild an existing pump, and completely replace another pump. Other options were explored, although none proved “viable” to help “alleviate the cost of the items.” The costs were not anticipated, as the original contract and change order will both come from the Water Project line item of the Water and Sewer Capital Fund.

With the approval of the change order not to exceed $45,600 in funding, the entire contract will be allotted at $91,200. The funding must be taken from the specified line item, and staff is reviewing other projects from the heading, under the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget.