Special Studies Committee Hears Public Input On Cannabis Equity & Fiber Internet Options

By Benjamin Cox on January 22, 2020 at 6:06am

The Jacksonville Special Studies Committee heard from the public on ideas and input about bring fiber gigabit service to Jacksonville and ideas and projects that the city could invest in should an adult-use cannabis dispensary come to town.

Ward 5 Alderman Steve Warmowski chaired the meeting. He said that the 10 people in attendance provided some interesting and unexpected ideas for projects that the city could possibly fund with tax revenue from adult use cannabis. He said the most interesting idea was funding the Jefferson Community Center with the cannabis tax revenue. Under the social equity portion of the adult use cannabis bill, areas of a map designated by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will receive 25% of the state’s tax revenue for economic development because it has been designated as an area disproportionately effected by the War on Drugs. Warmowski said that the committee will be doing more community outreach through February 29th on the North and East sides of Jacksonville to seek further community input on how to fund projects in those areas designated by DCEO’s map.

Warmowski said that the Special Studies Committee will be planning outreach in the northeast portions of the city through February 29th gathering input on what can possibly be done if the tax revenue arrives.

Warmowski says the committee is also in need of feedback and examples of how the current Internet services in Jacksonville are not meeting the needs of citizens before the City Council looks in investing in major fiber optic infrastructure. “Its very important for economic development in the future in attracting people to Jacksonville and bringing new jobs. The city is all about infrastructure. The future of digital infrastructure of the city is vitally important.”

Warmowski says that citizens can fill out surveys and leave input on his Ward 5 Facebook Page and connect to surveys there. He says citizens interested in more information on the state’s equity program to visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s webpage for full information.