Monday, November 25, 2013
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Logan County Board approves FY 2014 budget

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[November 25, 2013]  The Logan County Board voted on several matters last week during its Tuesday night adjourned session. The primary discussions of the night centered on passing the budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

Also of interest, the county approved new appointees to the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County.

The tourism bureau was established by the Logan County Board more than 25 years ago. From a special 5 percent hotel-motel tax, the equivalent of a 4 percent tax goes to support the tourism bureau. The tourism board and taxes from Lincoln establishments will be under the jurisdiction of the city of Lincoln come Dec. 1.

At the request of the city, the county approved the following new tourism board appointees: Tom O'Donohue, Andi Hake, Keith Snyder and Jean Jachino. County board members Andy Anderson and Andy Meister abstained from voting due to their involvement, as they were asked to remain on the tourism bureau board. Darlene Begolka, whose term has not yet expired, would also remain on the tourism board.

The first action of the evening was the recognition of Rod Lewis, who is retiring from employment with the county as a youth counselor.

Board member Jan Schumacher said that Lewis has worked with 170 people and 36 different employers, including several county departments, in his time as a counselor. In addition, Lewis has aided in collecting funds for young people entering careers in truck driving and nursing professions.

"I have appreciated working with Rod in the years that I have been on the board," said Schumacher. "He's so thorough and diligent. He's really patient, and he deals with a lot of different personalities."

Lewis, upon being asked if there were any memorable youth he worked with who stood out in his mind, told the story of a local man he had worked with in 1997 who recently went through piloting exercises. "There were three of them that had to land and take off again," said Lewis.

Lewis is set to retire on Dec. 31.

Following Lewis' recognition, the board unanimously approved the following appointments:

  • Russ Hamilton, Mark Carlin and Steve Hyde to the Beason-Chestnut Water District.

  • Kaye Wilmert to the Logan County Tuberculosis Board.

The board voted on the rental agreements for two hangars that were privately built at the Logan County Airport. These hangars will be turned over to the county soon and made available to rent. The larger hangar will rent at $180 per month and the smaller hangar for $76 per month. The board unanimously approved both rental amounts.

The board voted (with Meister abstaining) to approve working with Flippers for the removal of snow around the county buildings and grounds for the winter season of 2013-2014. The county would pay the same amount as last year. Flippers will begin plowing if there is 2 inches of snow on the ground.

Board member Terry Carlton expressed his thanks to the emergency management workers who have helped the county with installing the phone system that was recently purchased.

Financial matters were discussed for a majority of the meeting. This was the first year that the budget process was not contracted out, and the county saved money doing it in-house.

"I want to thank the finance committee for their work on it," said board member Chuck Ruben said. "I would like to thank Sally (Litterly), Vicki (Dugan), Mary Kelley and Pam (Meagher) for all the work they did on the budget."

One of the amendments approved unanimously by the board was a correction that needed to be made to the upcoming budget and the payroll figures in it. Originally, the county board as a whole had approved an increase of 3 percent for these line items. The increase had been amended to 4 percent since last month's meeting of the whole board, and the figures needed to be altered to reflect that.

Board member Kevin Bateman told the board members: "I would like to thank the board for the 4 percent increase. It is long overdue."

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Another amendment approved unanimously by the board was the creation of two new line items under the county probation office. The items concern the revenue and expenditure of $2,200 for a renewed program within the probation office.

Anderson made a motion to add another amendment that would restore the Emergency Management Agency director's salary to its previous level of $30,436. Anderson's motion also included the intent to provide the director with the same 4 percent raise that every other nonunion employee salary will receive. The amendment failed to pass, as there were five votes in approval, five votes in disapproval and one abstaining. Anderson, Bateman, Meister, O'Neill and Schumacher voted yes; Aylesworth, Carlton, Martin, Ruben and Farmer voted no; and Hepler abstained.

The budget for the new fiscal year was approved unanimously after the votes for amendments. The following is the list of tax levies that were also unanimously approved:

  • General fund, $1,355,993.

  • Bonds and interest, $46,525. (This amount was voted to be abated from coming out of property taxes and would come out of a sales tax for the year.)

  • Liability and insurance, $170,000.

  • County health department, $366,854.

  • Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, $650,000.

  • County highway department, $365,000.

  • County bridge, $150,000.

  • Highway matching tax, $210,000.

  • Ambulance service, $281,429.

  • Tuberculosis sanitarium, $46,000.

  • Senior citizens tax, $70,000.

  • Cooperative Extension, $90,781.

As a standard procedure, the board also voted to continue paying $11,000 for the services of an appellate prosecutor.

The last topic voted on under the finance portion of the agenda was for the administrative assistant position that was recently created. This is a full-time position with a salary of $22,500 and benefits.

The finance committee initially received 50 applications for the position. In committee, the members worked to screen the list down to between three and five applicants. Four of the candidates interviewed a week ago before the whole board.

The board voted unanimously to hire Abbey Freese as the county board's administrative assistant. Freese is expected to start the position around Dec. 2, though an exact date has not been set.

"I did the reference checks for Abbey, and I checked with other people as well, and I got a lot of comments on what a hard worker she is," said Schumacher.

After the discussions of financial matters, the board voted to approve renewal of the CIRMA property, liability and workers' compensation insurance.

The board also voted to approve upcoming bridge work in Elkhart at a cost of $8,505.

In the final vote of the evening, the board approved the appointment of Jim Vipond to the Logan County Regional Planning Commission.

Board members present for the meeting were vice chairman David Hepler, chairman Robert Farmer; Bill Martin, Andy Anderson, Andy Meister, Kevin Bateman, Pat O'Neill, Rick Aylesworth, Chuck Ruben, Jan Schumacher and Terry Carlton. Gene Rohlfs was absent.


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