MORRISON – The Whiteside County Board soon will decide whether to put a referendum on electrical aggregation on the April ballot, now that its executive committee has voted to put the matter on the board’s agenda.
Electrical aggregation gives local government the authority to negotiate lower electricity rates based on the aggregated power needs of small businesses and community members who choose to participate.
Mike Mudge, a broker with Rock River Energy Services, told the committee Tuesday that if the referendum passes, he would bring the county bids from certified energy suppliers.
The referendum gives rural residents the chance to participate in the aggregation, or they could choose to opt out, he said.
A majority of voters in 12 Sauk Valley communities voted in favor of electrical aggregation in March. Those communities were: Sterling, Morrison, Amboy, Oregon, Byron, Tampico, Ashton, Franklin Grove, Forreston, Davis Junction, Lanark and Shannon. Previously voters in Fulton, Erie, Milledgeville, Polo and Mount Morris approved it.
Participants are expected to save $400 a year, Mudge said. Sterling residents are paying 4.67 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with the ComEd rate of 8.32 cents, a savings of 44 percent, Mudge told Sterling City Council on Nov. 5.
The committee also unanimously voted to put a resolution in support of the concealed carry of weapons on the county board’s agenda.
Illinois is the only state that doesn’t allow concealed weapons for people with permits.
Three people spoke at the meeting in favor of the state allowing concealed weapons.
Amanda Norris, head of the Sauk Valley Tea Party, said she has 547 signatures on a proposal in support of such a resolution.
Duane Blaufuss of Sterling said he that wants the state to pass legislation allowing concealed weapons, and that such resolutions in other states have led to drops in crime.
Sheriff Kelly Wilhelmi said he and every other sheriff in the state support concealed carry.
“To me, it’s a no-brainer,” he said.
Guns will always be in the country, Wilhelmi said, and guns “put a doubt in criminals’ minds,” he said.
“How can Illinois be the only state that’s wrong?” he asked.
Wilhelmi added that “it should be very stringent to get a permit.”
The Whiteside County Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Law Enforcement Center, 200 E. Knox St. in Morrison.
Go to whiteside.org, click on "documents and forms," then click on "meeting agendas/approved meeting minutes" or call 815-772-5100 for an agenda.