MORRISON – The Whiteside County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to put a referendum on electrical aggregation on the April ballot.
If it passes, the county will have the authority to combine households and small businesses into an electricity-buying group, resulting in increased buying power and more competitive prices. Those who wish to can opt out of the program.
A majority of voters in 12 Sauk Valley communities voted in favor of electrical aggregation in March, and more than a dozen cities, villages and townships in the Sauk Valley approved local aggregation Nov. 6. Households are expected to save an average of $400 a year.
The board also voted 15-11 to approve a resolution ask the state Legislature to approve concealed carrying of weapons.
Sarah McNeill, D-Sterling, voted against the resolution after giving a speech in which she said most Illinois voters oppose concealed carry.
McNeill acknowledged that Illinois is the only state that does not allow concealed carry of weapons for people with permits, but said the county’s residents should be proud that the state is “a holdout.”
“We should be proud of our citizens that we won’t walk off the concealed carry cliff just because every other state has,” she said.
Duane Blaufuss of Sterling and Amanda Norris, head of the Sauk Valley Tea Party, spoke in favor of the resolution.
Norris read the Second Amendment to the United State Constitution and said the state’s constitution takes it further.
Blaufuss urged the board to “tell Springfield that we do count and concealed carry works.”
“Let’s stop protecting criminals from law-abiding citizens,” he said.
Board member Bill McGinn, D-Sterling, voted against the resolution, after saying that he has lost two or three loved ones after guns accidentally were discharged and killed them. But he was raised with guns on a farm and is not “against guns,” he said.
Board member Jim Duffy, D-Sterling, voted against the measure saying he is “just not convinced that it will solve our problems.”
“I can’t ask the state Legislature to vote on something I don’t believe in,” he said.