DANVILLE – An announcement on the selection of a casino operating partner again was postponed Tuesday night.
“We are still awaiting a few final financial documents as well as negotiating community benefits with both applicants,” according to Mayor Rickey Williams Jr.
He said "we're doing all we can to get the very best deal for the city.”
Williams was to announce the chosen casino operator Tuesday night and Danville City Council members were to vote on accepting the recommendation.
Now the presentation and final recommendation is expected to go before the city council on Oct. 1.
In other business Tuesday night, the city council voted 9-3 to allow the sale of adult-use recreational cannabis in the city and impose a 3 percent municipal cannabis retailers’ occupation tax.
Aldermen voting for it were Dan Duncheon, Mike O’Kane, Sharon McMahon, Tom Stone, Mike Puhr, Aaron Troglia, Steve Nichols, Bob Iverson and Steve Foster. Those voting against it were Brenda Brown, R.J. Davis and Sherry Pickering. Alderman Rick Strebing was absent. There remains a vacant city council seat in Ward 1.
After the vote, McMahon said she’d like to see the DARE program brought back to Danville schools.
Under state law that goes into effect Jan. 1, the city is eligible for a license for a marijuana dispensary and a craft grower.
Earlier this month at a public hearing on potential marijuana licensing in the city, only two people voiced concerns against the sale of cannabis in the city and eight supported for it.
Tuesday night, there were more than 20 people in attendance against it, with about 14 voicing opposition before the council vote.
Among those against it were pastors, health care workers and other citizens such as those with the Step Up community group, including Linda Darby and Deanna Witzel, who also is co-owner and operator of Vermilion County McDonald’s restaurants and a Vermilion County Board member.
Pastor Thomas Miller, who spoke surrounded by several other pastors, said money is important, but “lives are more important.”
Witzel said if the council were to approve the sale of cannabis here, she suggests the city use the majority of revenue for law enforcement, put stricter ordinances in place and form a community coalition of stakeholders to deal with the problems the sale and personal usage will create.
Pastor Darrel Hunter also said just because the state made a bad decision doesn’t mean the city should go with it.
Iverson said cannabis is "already here and it’s going to be everywhere.” He feels the city should try to control it and get something good out of it.
Foster said the city can pick the location and zoning.
Williams said the council can have an amendment before Jan. 1 to designate how the city would spend the tax revenue.