I recently received an e-invite from a St. Clair County Board member for what was billed as a town hall meeting. Having never been to one, I thought I'd check it out.
Hot button topics like medical marijuana zoning, Mid-America Airport, the East St. Louis high speed rail proposal, the county jail, precinct consolidation and TIF districts were to be discuss-ed.
The headliners for the meeting were advertised as two County Board members but lo and behold, both County Board Chairman Mark Kern and Mid-America Airport Director Tim Cantwell showed up. Many attendees were surprised by their presence, since they may well have come to talk about them as opposed to talk to them.
Cantwell was asked to give an impromptu status update on the airport and cheerfully obliged. His presentation was largely the same old stuff. The county seems content to stay the course and predicts a bright future right around the corner.
There was useful dialogue on revitalizing the county jail expansion proposal. A cost breakdown was discussed, not only to fund initial construction but then run the bigger jail. Consensus was that kind of detail could help voters decide in any future voting for this proposal.
Two citizens brought up the sorry condition of some county roads. They highlighted many detailed instances that they had witnessed. All this was said with the county chairman in attendance yet he had no comment. At least this time we know he was "available."