Wind farm vote pushed to July 14

Meeting scheduled could be in-person or virtual


CLINTON — In a tally that fell along the same lines as previous county board votes on the proposed wind farm permit, DeWitt County board members voted 6-5 Tuesday to postpone its final vote until July 14.
Tuesday’s virtual meeting of the board was scheduled for a vote on approving the special use permit for Tradewind Energy’s Alta Farms II project.  But, a little more than half the members said they preferred to wait until the board could hold an in-person meeting.
Gov. Pritzker’s Phase 4 reopening plan for the state would allow public meetings of up to 50 people by July.  Virtual meetings conducted by the board began in March after the state established a shelter-in-place order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, board member Melonie Tilley immediately presented a motion to postpone the final vote until July 14.  She then expressed concern about a quorum of members meeting in the boardroom, while the remainder attended virtually.
“I guess this is what my biggest concern is,” Tilley said.  “I’d like to have this meeting rescheduled where we can all be in the boardroom at the same time.  At least all the board members would be present in the boardroom at the same time, where we know what everybody is doing.”
Tilley said, with virtual meetings, the sound quality was not always good, “and you can’t hear half of what people are saying.”
Board member Terry Ferguson agreed with Tilley.
“I’ve said all along that it would be better to have a meeting of this magnitude when all of the board members and all the people who are on the agenda to speak could be in one room,” he said.
Six people were scheduled to address the board on Tuesday.  Seven board members, Matthews, Reece, Ferguson, Newberg, Redman, Nimmo and Wickenhauser, as well as state’s attorney Dan Markwell and county administrative assistant Dee Rentmeister were present in the board room during the meeting.  Tilley, Ennis, Pruser and Houser attended virtually.
Nate Ennis also agreed with Tilley.

• See the complete story in the Friday, 6/5 print edition of the Clinton Journal or on Thursday in the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.