Columbia addresses pot, staffing - Republic-Times | News

Columbia addresses pot, staffing

By on November 8, 2017 at 6:06 pm

The Columbia City Council on Monday night approved an intergovernmental agreement that allows city police officers to enforce the county’s new ordinance setting fines for minor marijuana possession under the state of Illinois’ Cannabis Control act that decriminalized minor pot infractions.

Enforcing the county’s ordinance rather than the state statute will primarily benefit Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann and his staff, Columbia Police Chief Jerry Paul said, by reducing the amount of paperwork and tracking of offenders required by the state. It will also earmark $105 of each fine for local administrative fees and law enforcement funds.

“Some of the money that was going to the state before, that’s staying in the county,” Paul told the council at a recent committee meeting. “That’s something that the civil offense is not doing right now,” Paul said.

The county ordinance sets a fine of $150 for a first offense, with each subsequent arrest being subject to a $100 increase, up to $1,000, with a provision to permit the proper use of physician-prescribed medical marijuana.

The council also approved several easements with Admiral Development Inc., which is developing the Columbia Lakes subdivision addition to be named Adler Ridge. The easements will allow the city in perpetuity to access the water tower property and utilities in the area.

Also at the meeting, city administrator Jimmy Morani announced administrative assistant Marion Chartrand of the Department of Public Works has resigned from her full-time position.

Rather than filling Chartrand’s open position, an existing part-time position at city hall will be increased to full-time and take over the responsibilities of Chartrand’s position.

“We are essentially consolidating most administrative functions that had been performed at city hall,” Morani said.

Starting this Monday, Nov. 13, calls to the DOPW for things like scheduling electrical inspections will be routed to city hall, and the public works building will no longer be open to walk-in traffic.

Anyone with any DOPW service-related issues or general questions can contact the clerk’s office at city hall at 618-281-7144, ext. 3.

Andrea F.D. Saathoff

Andrea is a graduate of Gibault High School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, the University of Missouri Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Education. She lives in Columbia with her husband and their twin toddler sons. When she isn't cheering on St. Louis Cardinals baseball or riding the emotional roller coaster of Mizzou Tigers football, she enjoys attending and participating in the many family events the county has to offer. email: