BLOOMINGTON — The City Council will consider Monday whether to create a task force to make recommendations about implementing a new state law legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

Ward 6 Alderwoman Jenn Carrillo proposed a task force with up to three council members and representatives from law enforcement, downtown businesses, criminal justice reform and the cannabis industry.

"I think it's important to address some issues that are urgent and pressing," said Carrillo on Friday. "Issues of taxing and zoning are most immediate and whether we're going to even allow a (cannabis) dispensary in the city. But then there are a lot of other bigger questions that will come with this roll-out. I am hoping that this just isn't a one-and-done, but an ongoing effort to help our community adjust to a new reality."

The council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

"As part of that, we've prepared a resolution creating a task force if, in fact, there is council appetite to consider that and vote on it Monday night," said City Manager Tim Gleason said Friday. "They may not."

"But separate to that, but very much related, this legislation that goes into law effective Jan. 1, 2020, it's over 600 pages," said Gleason.

"It's a document that many municipalities around the state are scrambling to fully understand so that they can put before their respective boards or councils what those communities want to adopt," he added.

Mayor Tari Renner supports the formation of a task force.

"If this is coming from the council, that's fine with me," said the mayor. "Whether the council approves a task force, the same work is going to have to be done. It'll just be done by the council and (city) staff rather than citizens appointed to this group."

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Meanwhile, Renner said he has received about two dozen inquiries from people interested in opening a marijuana dispensary in Bloomington.

Both Renner and Gleason said it is important for the city to work with the McLean County Board and town of Normal on the issue.

Some municipalities, including Morton, have opted out of allowing marijuana sales businesses.

But Renner thinks tax revenue generated from marijuana sales could help the city fix its streets and pay for other neglected capital projects without having raise fees or taxes.

In other action, the council will also consider:

  • The purchase of three automated garbage trucks for about $1 million. A vote in August was tabled to get more research on whether the city should switch to electric models. 

Hybrid electric powertrains for existing garbage trucks and fully electric garbage trucks are not in production at this time, a Public Works staff memo prepared for council stated. 

  • Payment of $128,690 to Bloomington firefighter John Meckley to resolve a worker's compensation claim. Meckley re-aggravated a previous injury while moving a patient. An arbitrator indicated that he would likely award Meckley a settlement of between $128,690 and $165,458, according to the memo.

The city will host a public welcome reception for new Police Chief Dan Danath at 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall. A formal swearing-in ceremony for Donath will follow at the council meeting.

Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle


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