In November, $25,000 was earmarked to
go to the Economic Development Executive Council. The funds are from
the airport-farm account. The EDEC, commonly known as the EDC, has
been asking the city and county for funds to develop property for an
The new director, Jeff Mayfield, has
reason to believe that if we have taken care of the often lengthy
legwork, prepared property by rezoning it and have it set up with
sewer, utility access and roads, we will be able to easily entice
new businesses. The north and west edges of town near Interstate 55
offer prime areas for this type of development.
Two county board members, Dale Voyles
and Dick Logan, serve on the EDEC. They say they have not been
regularly informed of meetings, which is a violation of the Illinois
Open Meetings Act.
The EDEC is a subcommittee of the
Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber receives funds
from the county and the city, which by definition of House Bill 2066
(4-9-03) appears to make them subject to the IOMA.
When the issue came up for vote, board
member Bill Sahs asked if there was a reason to withhold the money.
Huyett said that he [representing the
county] and Phillip Montalvo, for the chamber, disagree about
whether the EDEC is subject to the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
However, he stipulated that this is too small a county to push the
issue. He will not be charging anyone criminally. He added, "I would
like to see everyone getting along."
He said he sees it that the EDEC is
"taking public money [and it is] spent in the public eye." He would
like to see them make their meetings open to the public.
He is advising that no county board
member go to any of their meetings until the council is in
David Hepler pointed out that the open
meetings issue and the money are separate issues. Huyett agreed.
A vote was taken to withhold the funds.
Dick Logan, Patrick O'Neill, Bill Sahs and Terry Werth all voted no.
The vote carried and the $25,000 will be held back for now.
[to top of second column in
In a separate issue, the board
decided to cancel a special meeting scheduled for April 21 at 7 p.m.
The meeting was to discuss prospective properties and priorities for
Committee chairman Charles Ruben said that he thought that they
should first defer any considerations to the zoning board. If a
property cannot be rezoned, it is of no use. Time and money would be
wasted. They need to know more before scheduling a meeting.
In other financial
matters decided by the board:
They will no longer have to dodge drips
or move wastepaper baskets in the state's attorney's office when it
is raining. The amount of $8,200 has been approved to repair the
third floor of the courthouse roof. R.L. High of Clinton will do the
Payment for the sale and maintenance of
specialized accounting hardware and software used in the tax
assessor's and treasurer's offices has fallen behind. The Manatron
Springfield office is supplying a yearly maintenance program that
renews each May 1. At this time, $81,000 is owed on the account. It
was agreed unanimously that payment will be made on the next year's
budget, which begins Dec. 1.
In another budget-versus-needs issue,
the county previously approved the lease of new security cameras at
the Logan County Safety Complex at 911 Pekin St. A strained budget
prevented the purchase. It is hoped that the cameras will curb the
recent outbreak of reckless behaviors by inmates.
In a stroke of irony, the 911 board
agreed last month to pay one-half of the camera costs. That was even
before an inmate flooded the 911 facility located below the jail,
damaging the newly installed high-tech 911 system.
It was unanimously approved to get the
cameras installed as soon as possible. A committee will review
whether purchase with a maintenance agreement or lease is more
Voyles stated that he didn't expect the trend to continue, but the
board should be aware that the county had revenue shortfalls again
The board originally had an ordinance
drafted that set the age at 21. However, after further research they
changed it to meet the same age standard as the new city of Lincoln
The ordinance states that it is in the
best interests and the safety of its citizens to regulate the sale
of ephedra products due to adverse side effects that can occur with
Products sold as a dietary supplement,
energy enhancer or mental alertness product containing ephedra,
alkaloids or derivative of ephedra and ephedrine must be displayed
out of reach of customers.
penalties range from $100 to $400 for a first offense and $400 to
$750 on the second. Violation fines will be divided equally between
a special abuse prevention fund and the county's general fund.