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Ogle County Board to return to virtual meetings after technical difficulties

Chairman reacts to plant presentation, public comments

The Ogle County Courthouse is located in downtown Oregon.
The Ogle County Courthouse is located in downtown Oregon.

The Ogle County Board will be returning to full virtual meetings after last Tuesday’s technical difficulties left those listening via phone unable to hear.

The board attempted to meet mostly in person on Oct. 20 for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started with some board members and the public still listening over the phone.

“We’ll be going back to virtual,” Board Chairman John Finfrock said. “It wasn’t up to par where those calling in could hear. The room is so huge and the sound reverberated. It will be call-in again starting Monday with the budget hearing. Committees will continue to be in person and people can call into those. Those have 5-7 members.”

The board has had issues with sound during the call-in meetings in recent months. Zoom video calls have not been utilized by the board in the way many municipal organizations have, but Finfrock said the county IT department is “looking into it.”

State Rep. Tom Demmer gave a presentation to the board at the most recent meeting on what is being done to save the Byron Nuclear Plant and a resolution was passed in favor of it.

The resolution will be sent to the governor’s office and many others with interest in the plant that Exelon’s scheduled to close in Sept. 20201.

“It will take more than yard signs,” Finfrock said. “I have a lot of people to send the letter to. They’ll be taking people to testify. We’ll continue to work towards it. We won’t let it lie. They’ve actually told employees they plan on closing, which they haven’t before.”

During the public comment portion of last Tuesday’s meeting, Finfrock read a long email from Mt. Morris Village Trustee Jerry Stauffer urged the board to take action against the state’s COVID-19 mitigations that have impacted local bars and restaurants.

Stauffer wrote that he believes the county should refuse to go backward in mitigation efforts and allow businesses to stay open.

“It landed well,” Finfrock said of Stauffer’s letter. “People listened and reacted in a positive manner. With the executive order, until we’re told it’s not legal, we have to keep going and trust the health department. We have a good one that’s working hard. I understand what Jerry’s saying. It’s going to hurt. I’m not sure what we can do. A lot of those businesses are in cities and it’s for them to patrol.”

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