MORTON — Beer drinkers who would like to see brew pubs and craft breweries open in the village got good news Monday.
An ordinance allowing those establishments and wineries was approved by the Village Board.
"Nobody has come to us wanting to open one of these businesses, but we want to stay ahead of the game," said Roger Spangler, the village's planning and zoning officer.
"Each would be allowed only as a special use, which means there would be a public hearing in front of the Plan Commission and a recommendation to the Village Board from the Plan Commission," Spangler said. "Nothing would open without the Village Board's blessing."
The ordinance defines a brew pub as a place where beer is brewed and sold for consumption in an adjoining restaurant where food is served.
A craft brewery is defined as a place where beer is brewed and sold for consumption onsite or offsite. A craft brewery can have a tasting room.
A winery is defined as a place where wine is manufactured and sold for consumption onsite or offsite. No more than 50,000 gallons of wine can be manufactured per year at a location.
Another ordinance approved Monday requires political signs to be removed no later than seven days after an election in all areas of the village. Previously, signs posted on residential property were not subject to the deadline.
Also Monday, Village Board trustees discussed the preliminary 2019-2020 fiscal year village budget with village staff. Trustees will vote on the budget March 18. The budget will go into effect May 1.
The budget has a $5.7 million deficit because of capital improvements, the largest a $7 million upgrade to the village's water treatment system.
The deficit would be covered by reserves.
The general fund shows a $14,671 deficit with nearly $11 million in expenditures.
The expenditures include $900,000 for an addition under construction at the Morton police station that will be used by dispatchers as part of a state-mandated consolidation of Tazewell County's 911 system.
Tazewell County Communications Center will pay rent to the village for use of the facility, estimated at about $14 per square foot, to help defray the cost of construction.
"Our general fund is in good shape. We're looking at a small deficit, and we should have the $5 million in reserves that's in the safe zone for a community our size," said Mayor Jeff Kaufman.
"We'll be using money built up over the last four years in the general fund for the police station project. We won't have to borrow money to pay for it. Our residents benefit by having a dispatch center right in town."
Among the other planned capital improvements, totaling an estimated $13.4 million, are $425,000 for potential land purchases, plus sidewalk replacement and street improvements in the village's business district, $250,000 to replace a 15-year-old ambulance that's used as a backup by the Morton Fire Department, and $1.6 million worth of street overlay projects funded by motor fuel sales tax revenue.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.