Thursday, March 30

County briefs          Send a link to a friend

[MARCH 30, 2006] 

Officials' pay raises

Last month the Logan County Board began addressing pay raises for county officeholders who are elected. Those raises must be in place before an election. The board approved the standard four-year raises for the offices of sheriff, treasurer, assessor and clerk.

A recent court ruling determined that the circuit clerk position is a quasi-elected official and does not fall under the same election rules.

Circuit Clerk Carla Bender requested a salary increase to match the county clerk and treasurer salaries. "That would be equalizing the salaries," finance chairman Chuck Ruben said. However, an error in writing the resolution will leave that office $800 short of matching the other offices, he said. Bender agreed to accept it as it is written and spare them the paperwork for now.

The salary for that office would increase each year, starting Dec. 1, 2006, up to Nov. 30, 2010. The increases would be $1,700, $1,800, $2,000 and $2,000 over the current $41,700.

Health insurance approved

County employees continue to have a choice between insurance plans. They can choose from the HMO 410 alternative or the PPO 1010 alternative. There is one change this year, in that the county is going from the 90-10 plan to the 80-20 plan. The county would pay HMO 410 alternative at $329 per month for a single coverage, starting May 1.

Grant for courthouse repairs under review

A possible grant to help with courthouse repairs and renovations is being weighed out against requirements that could interfere with normal operations at the courthouse. The grant is for a historic building that offers public accessibility for tours. This would require courtrooms to be open to the public certain hours. John Stewart has been working with courthouse judges to see if they can work out the courtroom requirements. It would be necessary to work around courtroom and jury schedules. It is also important to be able to conduct prisoners in and out of the building safely, he said.

Paul Gleason commented that if you look at the guest book, you will see that the building is already a popular tourist attraction. There are people from all over the U.S. and foreign countries who come just to visit the courthouse.

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Agriculture, the backbone of Logan County, celebrated

About 300 people attended the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber Ag Breakfast on March 22, according to Bill Sahs, chairman of the Ag Day event and county board vice chairman. It was a pretty well-attended event that featured Chuck Hartke, director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, as keynote speaker.

The highlight of the breakfast was the announcement of the 2006 Ag Day Scholarship winners. A total of $6,000 in scholarships was awarded to nine students planning to return to Logan County to practice in a field related to agriculture.

The scholarship program and breakfast for the community were made possible by the generous support of local businesses.

2006 Ag Day Scholarship recipients:

  • John Dallas, Lincoln Community High School; agriculture major, University of Illinois

  • Andrew Fulton, Lincoln Community High School; agricultural engineering major, University of Illinois

  • Blaine Hellman, Hartsburg-Emden High School; agricultural engineering major, University of Illinois

  • Jay Hild, Mount Pulaski High School; agriculture business management major, Lincoln Land Community College

  • Kevin Huelskoetter, Lincoln Community High School; ag engineering major, University of Illinois

  • Michael Jones, Mount Pulaski High School; ag business major, Illinois State University

  • Kory Leesman, Hartsburg-Emden High School; mechanical engineering major, Bradley University

  • Blane Olson, Mount Pulaski High School; ag business major, Lake Land College

  • Abrigail Sasse, Lincoln Community High School; animal science major, University of Illinois

Resolution to bear down on truancy

There are about 480 little "cherubs" running loose during daytime hours in about a three-county area, Gleason said. It is becoming a major problem: children who should be in class but are not. School funding depends on attendance, Gleason said.

This is a significant problem that authorities have not been able to get under control. A new resolution that would help get truants off the streets is ready to be sent to the state's attorney's office for review, he said.

[Jan Youngquist]

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