Wednesday, May 21


County forms its own economic development committee

[MAY 21, 2003]  The Logan County Board on Tuesday night approved a new economic development committee, established an early retirement bonus for sheriff's deputies, postponed voting on requiring bodies it funds to hold open meetings and learned from auditors that the general fund was down over $452,000 in fiscal year 2002.

In the only contested vote of the evening the board approved a new six-member economic development committee 9-2. The committee consists of board chair Dale Voyles and members Chuck Ruben, Dave Hepler, Terry Werth, Bob Farmer and Bill Sahs. It will meet at the courthouse the second Monday of the month, starting June 9.

Voyles, who will head the committee until Nov. 30, said he chose these members because they hold chairmanships that "represent a significant portion of what affects economic development in Logan County." Ruben leads the board finance committee; Hepler, planning and zoning; Werth, road and bridge; and Farmer, airport and farm. Sahs is liaison to the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce.

Mitch Brown announced his intention to vote against the motion because he thinks the six members should represent the six county districts. In particular, the committee has no representative from District 6, which includes the Mayfair area and East Lincoln Township to where it meets Atlanta Township. "Mayfair people come out and vote," Brown explained. "They vote religiously; they call me religiously" whenever an unwanted land use threatens their neighborhood.

Paul Gleason also cited lack of district representation as the reason for his vote against the committee. Vice chair Gloria Luster was absent from the meeting.


Voyles said that even though board members are elected by district, they have the obligation to represent all people of the county. Dick Logan concluded the discussion: "I'm just glad we're getting back in the economic development business."

In another matter the board voted unanimously to offer a $12,500 bonus to qualifying sheriff's department personnel who submit a letter of resignation effective Nov. 30, 2003. To qualify, an employee must be 50 or older with 20 years of service. Employees will have a window of 10 days to make their decisions and submit their letters.

Four deputies meet the qualifications. If all four retire, a cost analysis predicts a savings of $155,000 in salaries over three years. Any employee who retires will be replaced, but the less experienced replacement will draw a lower salary. Sheriff Steve Nichols said the analysis does not include savings on worker's compensation, the $50,000 in bonuses or the cost of training new employees. Nichols added that he does not anticipate much training expense.

One vote announced at Thursday's board-of-the-whole meeting was postponed Tuesday night. The resolution would have required all organizations, either public or private, that accept funds from the county board to comply with the provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Since Thursday the office of State's Attorney Tim Huyett has approved the content and wording of the resolution.

However, when Logan pointed out that the issue was not listed on the meeting's agenda, John Stewart withdrew his motion. It was placed on the agenda for June 17.


[to top of second column in this article]

At the beginning of the board meeting Andy Lascody of Springfield accountants Sikich Gardner & Co. presented audit findings for the year ended Nov. 30, 2002. He noted that the general fund balance had declined from $2,812,500 to $2,359,900, a loss of $452,600. About $1.5 million of the fund is spendable cash; the rest has offsetting liabilities.

Lascody praised elected officials for keeping expenditures below budget. Otherwise, he said, the general fund decline could have been much worse. Overall, expenditures were up about 4 percent from 2001 but were $547,700 under the budget of $4.36 million.

However, revenues were down $354,800 from 2001, putting them $547,700 under the 2002 budget. Lascody said much of the shortfall was outside the county's control. This included lower state payments for sales tax, state income tax, and photo processing and use tax, which together yielded $251,800 less than in 2001. In addition, interest income was less than half of budget -- $92,400 compared with $250,000.

Two county entities spent more than their incomes -- court security overspent by $900 and county development took in $22,480 more than budgeted but paid out $31,428 over budget. Four funds ended with deficit balances -- the drug investigation fund at -$1,390 (the 2001 deficit was $4,327); the senior citizens tax fund, -$563; the historic sites motel tax fund, -$10; and the geographic information systems fund, -$4,000. The GIS money comes from a $3 fee for recording a deed. County Clerk Sally Litterly said the fee has not changed in four or five years.

The board unanimously accepted the audit. Copies are available in the county board office in the courthouse.

In other business the board voted to:

--Pay R.L. High Roofing & Masonry $20,550 to repair the courthouse dome. Board members expect a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to cover this and several other capital expenses. The anticipated grant of over $38,000 represents a percentage of the money from the sale of ground adjacent to Madigan State Park.

--Spend $7,616 from the county bridge fund to repair piling on 50th Street over Hunter Slough in Mount Pulaski Township.

--Purchase airport liability insurance from Facer Insurance for $4,370.

--Consolidate building maintenance and repair for all county buildings under the building and grounds budget beginning in fiscal year 2004.


The board appointed Raymond F. Leesman to the Housing Authority of Logan County, Margaret Evers to Logan County Tuberculosis Board, Betty Gail Wagner to Logan County Cemetery Maintenance District, Bob McCue to Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County and Ray Vonderahe to Logan County Board of Review.

Ruben reported that the finance committee has agreed to fund two co-op programs for Lincoln Community High School students. One will employ several students in animal control, and the other will supply one worker to help in the county board office. The students will be paid and also receive high school credit. Both programs will begin in September.

[Lynn Spellman]

Next >

Articles from the past week







Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor