Home-brewed beer sampling now allowed at special events in Paxton

PAXTON — People who make home-brewed beer can now provide samples of their tasty creations during special events held in Paxton.

The council voted 8-0 Tuesday to approve an ordinance establishing a “homebrewer special event license.”

The licenses cost $25 each and are good for up to three consecutive days of a special event. There is no limit on how many licenses can be granted at any given time, and no surety bond will be required by the license holder.

A state license also is required. The state license costs $25 and must be applied for in person in Springfield.

The council was asked to create the ordinance to allow home-brewed beer tasting at the sixth annual Paxton Swine ‘N’ Dine BBQ Contest & Festival. Two local companies — one founded by former city attorney Ross Sorensen and Nick Reutter; the other founded by local farmers Clayton, Will and Dallas Glazik — plan to obtain a one-day license so they can give out samples of their home-made beer at the Sept. 16 event.

“We’re wanting to promote our businesses with Ford County-made home brews and provide samples at the Swine ‘N’ Dine,” Dallas Glazik told the council.

Other business
Also at the meeting:

➜ At the request of Alderman Rob Steiger, the council informally approved spending $10,717 on the repair of a faulty pump. “That information and pricing didn’t get to us until (Monday, Sept. 11), so we weren’t able to include that on the agenda (for Tuesday’s meeting),” Steiger said. “But it’s a repair we must make. So we’re going to go ahead and order the pump, and it will be in next month’s list of bills (for the council to approve).”

➜ Iroquois Paving Corp. of Watseka was expected to start working on the repair of roads in Paxton on Sept. 18, said Mark LeClair, the city’s director of public works.

➜ There were still 120 stumps to ground up and more than 130 trees to trim around Paxton this fall, LeClair told aldermen.

➜ LeClair said the Paxton firehouse would be hosting what he referred to as a “3W” meeting. LeClair said “3W” meetings are held every two months at alternating locations, and city workers attending can obtain continuing education credits for doing so. “There’s people from Fairbury, LeRoy, Hoopeston, Gibson City, Gifford, Chenoa and Sheldon who come down here for this meeting,” LeClair said.

➜ Hydrant flushing is scheduled for the last week of September, while brush pickup is scheduled for October, LeClair said.

➜ LeClair said an employee of the public works department recently resigned in order to take another job with the Illinois Department of Transportation office in Gibson City.

➜ The council made plans to approve in October a proposal to change the name of the Paxton Emergency Response Service (ERS) to the Paxton Emergency Management Agency (EMA). ERS Director Ed Hanson said that with the name change, his agency would be eligible for grants and will also be updating the local emergency management disaster plan. “We are in the process of writing a disaster plan,” Hanson said. Hanson said the ordinance overseeing his agency’s operation will not change, with the exception of the agency’s name. “Everything else stays the same,” Hanson said. The council scheduled a public safety committee meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, to discuss Hanson’s proposal further. The proposal will be up for approval at the council’s regular monthly meeting on Oct. 10.

➜ The council approved a request from Kim Faulkner to collect donations at the intersections of Patton and Market streets and Pells and Market streets from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 23, for the fifth annual Alex Faulkner Toy Drive.

➜ The council approved a request from Glenn Kaiser of the local VFW post to collect donations at the intersections of Patton and Market streets and Pells and Market streets from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 7 (with a rain date of Oct. 14). The donations will be split equally between a children’s school in Michigan, the Danville VA hospital and local charities.

➜ The council made plans in October to approve a request from the Loda Lions Club to collect donations at the intersection of Market and Pells streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, for the club’s annual Candy Day fundraiser.

➜ The council adjourned its meeting to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, when it plans to vote on a proposed contract for the sale of the city-owned Paxton Municipal Airport to a private party. Mayor Bill Ingold said he hoped the proposed contract could be finalized by Sept. 15 so it could be ready for approval at the upcoming adjourned meeting.

➜ The council’s license/permit/zoning/insurance committee made plans to meet in late October to discuss possible changes to the city’s zoning regulations. The city’s zoning board chairman, Doug Higgins, requested recently that the council consider altering the rules applying to such things as heights of buildings and property setbacks. Alderman Rob Pacey said the committee would rely on feedback from the zoning board, zoning administrator Matt Rock and the full council before any recommended changes are brought to a vote. “I don’t intend to rewrite the entire (zoning ordinance) by any means,” Pacey noted.

➜ The council postponed approving the nomination of a junior alderman for this school year because the candidate was not able to be in attendance.

➜ Pacey asked that a community cleanup day be held next spring.

➜ The council approved a March 1 deadline for accepting applications from local businesses for facade grants of up to $3,000 each. Pacey said he believed the city had funds set aside for the awarding of such grants, and he said two other local nonprofit organizations — PRIDE in Paxton and the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce — could also contribute funds for the facade grant program. To apply, businesses are asked to submit a proposal for their facade-improvement project, and then meet with the mayor and members of the chamber to discuss the project. Once the project is finished, the business submits the project costs and asks for reimbursement.

➜ Ingold said he expected the city’s tax-increment financing (TIF) attorney, Dan Schuering, to be in attendance at the Sept. 26 adjourned council meeting to provide aldermen with an update on the status of projects in the city’s TIF district.

➜ Ingold said a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand-opening event at the newly opened Cobblestone Hotel & Suites on the city’s west side was well-attended. Ingold said the hotel has also been lining up plenty of guests since it opened Sept. 8. “When I was out there at 7 o’clock (Monday) morning, they had three rooms left for this weekend, and by noon they were taken,” Ingold said. “So they are booked solid this weekend for the Swine ‘N’ Dine. And they’re getting quite a few (booked rooms) for some weddings going on later on, as well.” Ingold said he hopes the hotel will become a “good draw for the city” and will help attract more businesses to the west side of town in the city’s TIF district. “I’m talking to some other people right now (interested in bringing a business to Paxton), but it’s probably not something I want to make public right now,” the mayor said.

➜ Ingold said the “check and paperwork” has been completed in connection with a $750,000 revolving loan the council granted to Colmac Coil.

➜ Ingold said a new bakery is expected to open “in a couple of weeks” on South Market Street.

➜ Ingold said the “old Overstreet building” in downtown Paxton is expected to become the site of an ice cream shop.

➜ The council made plans to spend the remaining $190,000 in the city’s revolving loan fund by the end of 2017. Ingold said that unless the city spends the funds, the federal government will be “sweeping all that money out before the end of the year, or right at the end of the year.” Ingold suggested coming up with a project on which to use the remaining funds. Ingold said for the city to keep the funds for any project beyond Dec. 31, the city must have a project “obligated” by that date. Pacey asked whether they could be used on the city’s downtown improvement project.

➜ City Attorney Marc Miller said he would send a memo to aldermen prior to the October meeting regarding the status of properties in litigation, including those at 137 W. Oak St., 234 W. State St. and one on East Fulton Street.

➜ Pacey asked whether any other aldermen would be interested in setting aside some funds for the city to use to buy dilapidated properties at sheriff’s sales. Pacey said that by buying properties at sheriff’s sales, the city could then tear down houses in disrepair at its own cost. “I know some people would say that’s government meddling in the private market, but if we know those are going to potentially be problem properties anyway, why not save ourselves some of the time, energy and effort and just simply purchase them and demolish them ourselves?” Pacey asked. “I’m just throwing (the idea) out there.” Miller said he would send aldermen information about their options.

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