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Board member's daughter appointed to board

Draft of comprehensive plan ready for public scrutiny

Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

MORRISON – The newest member of the Whiteside County Board will have the best of all possible mentors: her mom.

Tuesday, Chairman Jim Duffy appointed Katherine Nelson, 54, to fill the position left vacant by longtime board member Tony Arduini’s death in March.

Mom Karen Nelson has served on the board since 2001. Both are Rock Falls Democrats, and are among only five women on the 27-member board.

They most likely also are its first mother-daughter members, and are not related to County Clerk Dana Nelson.

“New” Nelson, a Newman Central Catholic High School graduate, is a production scheduler at Donaldson Co. Inc. in Dixon, and has been involved in politics, county or otherwise, “most of my life.” She requested the position, she said.

Her only goal is to “represent the people of Whiteside County, their concerns and wants and wishes,” Nelson said.

Also, Rock Falls Democrat Glenn Truesdell was elected board vice chairman, the position Arduini held.

The board also learned that the full draft of the county’s first comprehensive plan, a roadmap for future development, was posted online Tuesday for all to read, and that public hearings on the proposal have been set for early May.

After the May hearings, in Sterling and in Morrison, the board will hold a final public hearing at its June meeting; it is expected to adopt the final version in July.

The board also:

• Laid over until next month a vote to adopt a county concealed-carry policy.

In general, county employees and volunteers, except for law officers, will not be allowed to carry or possess guns on county property, in county vehicles, or while conducting business for the county on private property or using private vehicles, even if they have a concealed-carry permit.

• Laid over until next month a vote to adopt amendments to the county zoning ordinance to cover the possible cultivation and/or dispensing of medical marijuana, in accordance with the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, which takes effect in June.

Among other things, the ordinance requires a cultivation center be at least 2,500 feet from day care centers and schools; no one younger than 18 will be allowed on site.

An inquiry has been made at his office, however, county zoning administrator Stuart Richter told the board. The state, not the county, approves cultivation center applications.

• Laid over until next month a vote to adopt a credit card policy that calls for the board to OK each credit card request, and requires all purchases be for business purposes only.

In addition, all credit card bills must be submitted to the administrative office, and must include documentation such as receipts and invoices that clearly show what goods and services were purchased.

• Loosened a hiring freeze imposed in June 2010 that prevented departments from replacing workers who retired or quit unless the Executive Committee determined a vacancy created affected public safety or was essential to the county.

The policy was put in place to help address ongoing budget deficits, but because the county’s financial picture has improved, departments will be allowed to replace workers up to staffing levels called for in the current budget without need of committee approval.

• Set the maximum meal and travel expense reimbursement at $41 in state, and $50 out of state, for those conducting county business.

To read the plan

Go to whitesideplan.com and click on documents to read the "Full Plan Public Review Draft" of the Whiteside County Comprehensive Plan, which was posted Tuesday.

Public hearings on the proposed plan will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 6 at CGH Medical Center's Ryberg Auditorium, and at 6:30 p.m. May 8 at Odell Public Library in Morrison.

The final public hearing on the plan will be held at the June 17 county board meeting; it is expected to be voted on at the July 17 board meeting.

To attend

The Whiteside County Board meets next at 6:30 p.m. May 20 in the Law Enforcement Center at 400 N. Cherry in Morrison.

Go to www.whiteside.org and click on documents and forms for an agenda for this meeting or minutes from past meetings, or call 815-772-5100 for more information.

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