Wednesday, May 17

County decision on Fifth Street Road project delayed          Send a link to a friend

Unknown funding cutoff deadline presses officials

[MAY 17, 2006]  A decision made at last Thursday's board of the whole sparked heated discussion between board members at last night's Logan County adjourned board meeting.

The county's road and bridge committee had accepted an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Lincoln and West Lincoln Township to work together on the Fifth Street Road project. The project entails a revised study and the renovation of Fifth Street from Lincoln Parkway to Interstate 55. In the committee notes dated May 1, it stated their approval and plan to recommend the agreement to the board of the whole.

It was noted during the board-of-the-whole meeting last Thursday that the committee had not brought it forward to discuss at the appointed time. Dick Logan asked later in that meeting if they would be doing so. Committee chairman Terry Werth said, no, there were board members who were not comfortable with the agreement.

At Monday's city meeting Werth was asked to bring the matter to the floor at Tuesday's county adjourned meeting. He said he would and believed that approval in committee, its presence in committee notes, may allow for a vote from the board.

However, State's Attorney Tim Huyett was consulted, and he said that it could not be done without a 48-hour notice posted.

Concerns are that federal and matching state funds that have been specifically earmarked for the project might be lost. There was an original acceptance date of June 1, 2006, for those funds, but that date is believed to have been extended through the state's 2007 fiscal year. Numerous phone calls have been made to the state by county and city officials and county coordinator Dewey Colter in an attempt to clarify the extension, but absolute confirmation could not be attained.

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Board members, mostly Dick Logan and Dale Voyles, and county coordinator Dewey Colter discussed rules set by Robert's Rules of Order, county committee action rules and the Illinois state statute under the Open Meetings Act, trying to sort out how to get the matter discussed and voted on before the June 1 date. They arrived at calling two special meetings of the board.

Board members received timely information on the Legends subdivision at the Thursday meeting, but it was not brought up for discussion. Logan suggested that it be added to the special meetings.

Logan also suggested that the county audit progress be added to those meetings. But the findings of WTI, the company reviewing the county software program, would not be available yet.

Board members were told that they would receive copies of the agreement with the most recent revisions highlighted so that they could have time to review it before Friday's meeting.

The first meeting will be Friday at 7 p.m. There will be discussion of the Fifth Street project as well as the Legends subdivision. This meeting will adjourn to Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. to take both matters to a vote.

Representatives from the city of Lincoln were also present at last night's meeting. They included city engineer Mark Mathon, Alderman Buzz Busby, Mayor Beth Davis, Alderman Daron Whittaker and Les Plotner, the city treasurer. They did not speak since the matter could not be discussed because Fifth Street was not on the agenda 48 hours in advance.

[Jan Youngquist]

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