Despite mail in balloting not being a requirement for the 2020 election, White County Clerk Beth Sell says there has been a lot of action on that front. Her office has over and over again reminded the public that they are not required to request a mail in ballot and that she sent them out as part of a state requirement due to the pandemic. Not having to participate hasn’t slowed down the requests for those ballots however. Her office sent out more than 9,000 applications including every registered voter in the last 3 elections. As of Tuesday morning, her office has received more than 920 of those applications back requesting a mail in ballot. You’ll still be able to vote at your local polling place if you don’t request a ballot. You can mail in your ballot if you request one. You can even bring in your mailed ballot to your polling place if it’s in it’s security envelope. If you do participate in a mailed ballot and send it in however, you won’t be permitted to vote again on election day. Attempting to do so is illegal.
The White County Board met for about 25 minutes Tuesday morning as part of their twice yearly day meetings. Gathering in the White County courthouse at 9am, the board got an update on the Ranger Power solar farm planned for rural White County. Representatives from Big River Solar were on hand asking for an amendment to their permit asking for an additional 660 acres of their current location. The 149 megawatt solar electric generation facility will generate enough energy to power approximately 22,000 single family homes once complete according to the company. The 153 million dollar project will create an estimated 499 new local jobs during construction, 20 new local long term jobs for White County, more than 28.2 million dollars in estimated new local earnings during construction, nearly 16 million dollars in estimated property taxes over the lifetime of the project, annual pollution reductions the company estimates equivalent to taking more than 744,000 vehicles off the road, and substantial contributions towards meeting Illinois’ renewable energy goals. With everything going according to plan, Ed Heller of Big River Solar says the project could begin construction early next year and be up and running by the end of 2021. The original permit approved about 2,800 acres of land. Since then, the company has identified and secured 660 additional contiguous acres. The county board granted that request unanimously.
The White County Board also contributed $2,500 to the White County Soil and Water Conservation District and received a tentative, preliminary budget for FY 2021 for Coleman Rehab and Egyptian Health Department. Sheila Headlee presented the budget to the board, saying it’s currently projected to be just under $4,000 in the black. The next meeting will be held on October 13th at 7pm. Instead of adjourning, the board voted to recess until November 10th when they’ll be forced to act on the budget and tax levy.