Tuesday, November 19, 2013
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Logan County Board prepared to set next fiscal year budget and other financial matters

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[November 19, 2013]  When the Logan County Board met on Thursday evening, several issues and financial matters were discussed. It was the monthly board of whole, and all votes were tentative to see how the members might vote during the adjourned session, which takes place Tuesday evening at the Logan County Courthouse.

Of primary importance to decide is the next fiscal year budget. The budget begins Dec. 1.

Finance chairman Chuck Ruben presented several corrections and recommended amendments to line items in several courthouse departments and the highway department budgets. Ruben said the changes would result in a net reduction of $16,427. The amendments were all tentatively approved by straw vote.

Several other adjustments were agreed on, and the board indicated that it would pass the budget Tuesday night.

The board has created a new position for a county administrative assistant. Following an executive session to discuss a legal matter of personnel with Logan County State's Attorney Jonathan Wright, four candidates were interviewed last Thursday. The board made an offer to an individual after the meeting. The name has not been released yet. Her hiring is expected to be approved at the Tuesday night adjourned session.

Mark Hilliard, administrator of the Logan County Department of Public Health, told the county board he had determined that related to the county cuts in the health department's budget, the local Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program would need to be shut down. He announced this last month, and the Board of Health had agreed and voted since then to discontinue the program.

Hilliard sent in related paperwork to the state office that supplies the grant funding.

He received a call Wednesday afternoon from the Office of Women's Health expressing their pleasure at the work that the Logan County department's administrator and staff had done with the program as a charter lead agency.

The state office was disappointed that the program would be discontinued here and offered to make up a shortfall of $42,000 for Logan County to continue the program for this year.

The state would be sending a new amended grant agreement. The grant runs through June next year. "It avoids laying off three employees in that area," Hilliard said.

With the time at hand to pass an annual budget, Ruben questioned whether the health department would be under the same budget regulations as the county. "It is illegal to change more than 5 percent of the budget," he said.

Hilliard said he would look into the matter and hoped to return with more confirmed information concerning the grant and budget requirements.

Airport committee chairman Gene Rohlfs announced that there are a couple of hangars that were privately built at the Logan County Airport 25 years ago, with the land leased to the owners, Eric Hill and Kevin Lessen. These hangars will be turned over to the county soon and be made available to rent.

Rohlfs suggested that the rental rate for the larger hangar be set at $180 per month and the smaller hangar be let for $76 per month.

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Jan Schumacher reported on several activities by the buildings and grounds committee. It was recommended to contract Flippers with a bid at the same rate as last year for this year's snow removal at county properties.

Bill Martin recommended that a riprap project around a bridge in Elkhart Township be approved at $8,500.

Ruben recommended that the board agreed to pass the annual abatement ordinance. Ruben explained that when the bonds to pay for major criminal cases (the Harris brothers' murder trials) were passed last year, it was with the plan to pay back the money out of a sales tax. But if the county were not able to do that, property taxes would be raised enough to cover payment. This year the sales tax would be used.

Bid packets are being prepared for the county to hire someone to do an actuary report assessing the county's liability for people who are retired and going to retire. This is a three-year requirement. The county would go out for bids on hiring someone.

Schumacher explained that at no cost to the county, Landmark, a consulting company that the county had worked with previously, had prepared an exterior lighting study for the Logan County Courthouse.

There would be an actual mock-up with lighting performed to see how the proposed lighting would look. The date for that trial has not been set yet.

There is no money right now to implement a new lighting system, but grants and funding could become available in the near future.

A new project underway is a study for the HVAC system for the Logan County Safety Complex. Replacing the roof would also be looked at in this project, Schumacher said. A pre-bid meeting has been set for Nov. 21.

Board member Pat O'Neill reported that Community Action had a four-hour meeting the other day. Community Action is hiring now. Public transportation has increased its numbers of service. On Friday there will be a Foster Grandparent recognition at Friendship Manor. Also, more "meals on wheels" are being served.

The board tentatively approved closing the courthouse at noon on Christmas Eve.

Jan Schumacher said that the CIRMA insurance for property, liability and workers' compensation would be an annual premium of $225,818.

In other business, Martin announced that Ms. Langley was granted a liquor license to reopen Lawndale Tap.

The board also agreed to quitclaim deeds for Richard Marrow, Robert Monts and David Marten, and a tax sale for Jeffrey Renfro.

Terry Carlton was absent for the evening.


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