New board member
Chairman Robert Farmer brought forward a recommendation for a new
board member to replace Andy Meister. The new board member is Scott
Schaffenacher from Mount Pulaski in Logan County’s 3rd District.
The board members unanimously approved of and applauded his
appointment. Schaffenacher was sworn in to take his seat on the
board. Schaffenacher was also placed as a member of the Building and
As part of the finance report, finance chairman Chuck Ruben made a
motion to allow the Economic Development Partnership to move their
office into the John Logan Building next summer after the Regional
Office of Education has vacated. The board members unanimously
approved of the use of the space by the EDP.
In addition, Ruben made a motion to put on display the budget and
tax levies for the next fiscal year. The documents would be put on
display for the public to see for the next thirty days. Ruben
reminded the board members to make amendments to the budget as
necessary sooner rather than later, and any changes in funding will
have an effect on other areas of the budget. After the thirty days,
the budget and the levies will each individually be voted on.
David Hepler proposed an amendment to change a revenue line item
concerning the collection of public defender fees. Hepler suggested
changing the amount from $1,500 to $25,000. “This small figure
doesn’t reflect the capacity that I think we have and that I think
the public expects,” said Hepler. “This would be a figure that would
be reasonable if people who claim indigence are actually having to
Ruben disagreed with the idea. “That figure has been $1,500 in the
actual audited figures for as long as I’ve been on the Finance
Committee. I don’t see how we can put an inflated figure into our
revenues. It puts money in that people would expect,” said Ruben.
Ruben said that the figure would create extra revenue at the end of
the year that does not actually exist.
Patrick Timoney, the Public Defender of Logan County, said that
between 1992 and 2008, the highest amount collected was $14,000. In
addition, Timoney said that the highest figure since then was
$10,000. “I’m sure the figures [this year] would be a lot less than
$10,000,” said Timoney.
Hepler repeated that he does not feel the current numbers are
satisfactory, and “the public ought to know that if somebody claims
indigence before the court, that they’re actually having to prove
that.” Hepler said he feels he is seeing the opposite recently.
“Essentially [$1,500] means we’re not collecting anything.”
Ruben repeated that such a figure would create an expectation of
money that would likely not come in. “We work hard as a finance
committee to set a reasonable expectation of fulfilling these
numbers,” said Ruben.
Hepler said he would be willing to reduce his amendment to $10,000.
The amendment failed with a vote of seven-to-five against the
amendment. Hepler, O’Neill, Rohlfs, Blankenship and Davenport voted
for the amendment.
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Board member Pat O’Neill wanted to amend the budget and
rename the line item that provides funding from the county for
the Balloon Fest. O’Neill said he does not agree with the
separation of the Balloon Fest and the other events that
occurred on the same weekend this year and in the past.
Currently, the county provides $5,675 to help fund the festival.
Ruben said that if the funding is removed, it could be
reinstated later in the year. Hepler added that the money could
still be used by the Chamber if they came forward to ask for
O’Neill said he would rather see the money available for events
and improvement for any area in the county. “That money would be
used for community services as needed, or community activities,”
O’Neill said that he feels the decision to split up the Balloon
Fest and the related events was made without enough input from
the public or local governing bodies. O’Neill said he has heard
from numerous citizens who are not happy with the idea.
“It’s going to hurt the Balloon Fest and not really help the
other events,” said O’Neill. “I hope that with the knowledge
that they may lose the $5,600 that they [the Chamber of
Commerce] may reconsider to keep the Balloon Fest intact and fix
whatever problem they may have had.”
Jan Schumacher said she has heard complaints about splitting up
the Balloon Fest as well. However, Schumacher added that the
Chamber is spread too thin to keep up with all of that work that
comes with holding so many events on one weekend.
“I don’t think the Chamber really had a choice because it’s
grown beyond what they can manage,” said Schumacher. “People
also complain that nothing ever changes around here, and then
some people come up with an idea to do something different, and
they’re attacked for that. I think we should give people a
chance to try different things,” said Schumacher. Schumacher
added that this decision was not a frivolous one, and that
several months of planning went into the idea.
O’Neill’s amendment resulted in a vote of six-to-six. As per the
board policy, the motion failed to pass, as a majority could not
be reached. Gene Rohlfs, Schaffenacher, David Blankenship, Emily
Davenport and Hepler voted in support of O’Neill’s amendment.
Finally, the motion to post the budget on display was voted on.
The board voted to post the budget on display for the next
thirty days, with only Andy Anderson voting no.
Board member present at the meeting were David Hepler, Rick
Aylesworth, Chuck Ruben, Gene Rohlfs, Robert Farmer, Jan
Schumacher, David Blankenship, Pat O’Neill, Andy Anderson, Andy
Meister, Emily Davenport and new board member Scott
[By DEREK HURLEY]