Photo by Wendy Davis

Lou Ellen Strong from the 377 Board explains the board’s levy request at the county board tax committee meeting.

The Iroquois County Board Tax/Zoning Committee heard information on a levy request and approved a request for a conditional use.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Lou Ellen Strong spoke on behalf of the 377 Board. She said this board distributes tax money to aid those with disabilities. The board divvies the money between to local groups: The ARC of Iroquois County and ABRA.

These two organizations serve 150 local individuals, most 24 hours a day. The groups give financial and program reports, as well as audits, to the 377 Board quarterly, she said.

The levy request was for the maximum levy it can ask for: 0.001 percent of the county’s tax rate. This will likely equal $575,000.

Part of the funding need, Strong said, is because both groups “struggle to pay staff competitively”, as the state funding is not always reliable. She said staff changes can be expensive, and it’s hard on those who are being served.

As for zoning, the committee recommended to the full board the conditional use request of Morris and Linda Tammen to use land zoned agriculture for a retail business in Ridgeland Township.

Linda was at the meeting explaining their intent to start a brewery with their children near Thawville, as was requested at and approved by the zoning board of appeals last week.

The plan is to make cider, honey wine and hops, she said. Eventually, there could be a wine tasting room and a picnic area for guests to gather. They will get a self-distributing liquor license from the state, and will eventually need to apply for a liquor license through the county.

She explained they are still investigating what to do with the waste water created, but it won’t be a lot and a portion of it can be used to cool the supply they create. Whatever septic system is put in it will be inspected by the county.

Zoning administrator Bob Yergler said there hasn’t been any voices of concerns passed on to him.

The full board will give its decision at Tuesday’s meeting.

In Yergler’s zoning report, the building permit fees for September were 1,351, with a total permit fees for the year reaching $20,764.35 which is about a $1,000 less than last year at this time. Total receipts are $24,591.35. There were eight building permits issued last month. For the fiscal year there have been 73 residential and seven agriculture. Thirty-five building inspections were done.

Yergler also to the board there will be a hearing for the request to put cell phone towers on Route 49, and there is opposition.

He said it will be the committee’s decision on “the criteria on whether the towers fit the land”.

Also at the meeting, county clerk Lisa Fancher said the state required survey of the county’s polling places is 40 percent done. There are 33 buildings serving 37 precincts in Iroquois County.

“Some aren’t as bad as I thought,” she said of the need to be ADA compliant, for example. She said in some of the cases the owners of the buildings — many are township buildings, for example — are willing to help because of the need to be compliant themselves. She said some of the corrections could just be signage. But if the correction would be deemed too expensive the polling place may need to be changed, she said.

Fancher also said they’re looking in to adding more to the county’s GIS mapping, adding information like precincts, fire protection districts, and school districts. She said they’re also trying to make sure the water district map is as correct as possible as the county works to get involved in a water conservation project with Kankakee County to help flooding matters.

Finally, treasurer Kurt Albers said his office is working on getting delinquency notices sent out and published. He said the county’s second distribution of tax monies will be Oct. 16.