No smoking ban gets teeth

countyThe Stark County Board passed an update to their food ordinance during last Monday’s regular meeting in order to help add some teeth to the no smoking ban passed in Illinois last year.
“The State of Illinois passed a law, but gave no direction on how to enforce it,” said  Health Department representative Kurt Kuchle  “With this addition, the county can now make an even playing field of all businesses in Stark County.”
The resolution allows the health department to rescind the food license to any establishment not enforcing the no smoking ban.
“Restaurant and bar owners will have 10 days to request a hearing or 30 days to pay their fine after a citation has been issued.” Said Kuchle, who enforces the ban in Stark County, “If they don’t then the health department can remove their right to serve food in their establishment.” 
Many supporters of this change showed up to voice their opinion.
“Currently, there are five establishments in Stark County that are not following the no smoking ban,” said Kuchle, “in fact a few are blatantly ignoring citations and fines.”
“We aren’t arguing if the smoking ban is right or not,” said Kuchle, “that argument has passed.  It is the law of the land now and we need to enforce it.”
The board voted on the updated resolution unanimously. Robert Storey commented that ‘this wouldn’t affect taverns would it?’  But any establishment that serves food would possibly have their food license taken away if they failed to enforce the no smoking ban.
“We can’t use the liquor license as an enforcement policy because those are enforced by the individual cities and villages, not by the county, so the food license is a better option for us,” said Chairman Mike Bigger.  
In other business the board approved the reappointment of Sharon K. Sager and Janet K. Hager to the Stark County Health Department board.  They also approved the regular and supplemental grand jury list from the Circuit clerk’s office.
The board approved a bid for crack filling and spray patching from Ace in the hole for $70,400 and from Pavement Maintenance for $15,960.  The board also approved an intergovernmental agreement with IDOT to approve the pavement preservation plan.
The board approved the appointment of Tom Howes as the Freedom of Information Act officer for the county as directed by the State of Illinois.
The next regular meeting will be on April 13 at 7 p.m.

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